19 Feb 2007

Papua accounts for half of Indonesia's new HIV/AIDS infections

2:51 pm on 19 February 2007

The World Health Organisation says half of Indonesia's new HIV/AIDS infections are found in Papua province.

The Jakarta Post reports that a review team recently spent two weeks surveying efforts to fight the AIDS virus in several provinces across Indonesia where the epidemic is among the fastest growing in Asia.

The team found there were 2,873 new AIDS cases in Indonesia in 2006, a 140 percent increase from in 2004, with most cases found in intravenous drug users and commercial sex workers.

Papua had by far the largest population of people living with the AIDS virus, accounting for 20 times the national average- around 50 percent of the country's total number of cases.

HIV has infected an estimated 169,000 to 216,000 in the nation of 220 million.

The report said that more than 2 percent of the population in Papua are infected with HIV/AIDS.

It added that health centers in the province must work especially hard to strengthen programs to prevent mothers from spreading the virus to their children.