Spread of HIV in Indonesia Primarily Fueled by Commercial Sex Work, VOA News ReportsVOA News on Wednesday examined how the spread of HIV in Indonesia primarily is fueled by commercial sex work. According to VOA News, about seven million to 10 million men annually visit sex workers in the country, many of whom have not been educated about HIV/AIDS. HIV prevention efforts in 2004 reached about 18% of female sex workers and 7% of their clients, according to the United Nations. Some data indicate that the level of knowledge about the virus is increasing among sex workers and their clients, according to VOA News.
According to Esthi Susanti Hudiono -- head of Hotline Surabaya, an organization that runs employment programs that offer alternatives to sex work, as well as a theater group for women -- said that it is "almost impossible to give sex workers bargaining power in terms of condoms." Hotline Surabaya in 2004 lobbied for a local regulation that requires clients of sex workers in Surabaya in East Java, Indonesia, to use condoms, but the law is not enforced, VOA News reports. Hudiono added that condoms should be mandatory and that the message to use them should come from the "elite of government and the elite of society."
Hotline Surabaya also operates health clinics in Surabaya and works to empower children of sex workers to receive an education, according to VOA News (Anderton, VOA News, 9/12). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.