Some fear a coming explosion in the numbers of AIDS sufferers.
Health minister Siti Fadilah Supari is reported to have said that Indonesia, which currently is estimated to have between 169,000-216,000 HIV carriers, although with only 7,000 full-blown AIDS cases having been reported, will likely reach 500,000 cases of HIV, the virus which causes AIDS, by 2010, if preventive measures are not actively pursued.
Siti Fadilah Supari.
HIV/AIDS is an iceberg phenomenon. It is very likely that there are more HIV/AIDS patients not being reported.
Drug users account for over half of Indonesia's known AIDS cases, but the unsafe practises of prostitutes and their customers are the most likely to spread the disease deep into the community, Supari said. She claims:
There are between 2.5 and 3.8 million men who use prostitutes, and only 15% of them are willing to use condoms.
Such men, she says, will carry the disease to their girlfriends, wives, and children.
The government is currently conducting a national anti-AIDS campaign and working to increase the number of hospitals capable of handling the disease, and wants to spend 8 trillion rupiah ($871 million) on anti-AIDS programmes over the next five years. antara
Meanwhile, Ma'ruf Amin, the head of the main Muslim clerical body, the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI), blames the spread of the disease on poor standards of morality and the declining influence of religion.
The role of religious morality keeps weakening so that free sex, homosexual relations, and drug use have become the causes of a disease which has no treatment (sic).
(Peran moral agama yang semakin menurun seperti terjadinya pergaulan seks bebas dan juga pergaulan sesama jenis (homo dan lesbi) serta pergaulan obat-obatan terlarang merupakan hal yang menjadi penyebab penyakit yang hingga saat ini belum ada obatnya ini.)
He advised that families instill good moral discipline in their children so that they would keep away from sexual activity outside of marriage, as well as narcotics usage. Television stations should also improve their programming so as to stop contributing to the moral degradation of the country.
However he urged that AIDS sufferers not be isolated from society, because the disease was not an epidemic (presumably meaning not contagious except through intimate contact). Families should care for victims, he said. republika
February 18th 2007.
I Nyoman Kandun, the director general of the health ministry's contagious diseases department, said HIV was spreading quickly among high-risk groups and in backward parts of Indonesia.
The epidemic has spread swiftly among injecting drug users, transsexuals and prostitutes, from and to their clients.
A review of the AIDS situation in Indonesia, jointly organised by the health ministry and W.H.O., found that the HIV infection rate in the province of Papua was more than 20 times the national average, with 2% of Papuans carrying HIV. antara
February 24th 2007.
The World Health Organization says that Indonesia's AIDS epidemic is among the fastest growing in Asia, especially among intravenous drug users and prostitutes, and half of new infections are in Papua. There were 2,873 new AIDS cases in Indonesia in 2006, a 140% increase from 1,195 in 2004, with most cases found in IV users and prostitutes, WHO said, according to the Jakarta Post.
Papua had by far the largest population of people with AIDS, accounting for 20 times the national average - around 50% of the country's total number of cases.
More than 2% of the population in Papua are infected with HIV/AIDS.
In total there are estimated 169,000 to 216,000 infected people in the nation of 220 million.