Indonesia’s Construction Surge Contributing to Spread of HIV, Asian Development Bank Says
A surge in Indonesia's construction industry is contributing to an increase in HIV/AIDS cases in the country, the Asian Development Bank said on Tuesday, AFP/Yahoo! News reports. According to ADB, which also approved an HIV/AIDS grant to Indonesia on Monday, migrant workers are more likely to engage in high-risk sex that can result in HIV transmission. Indonesia's construction industry grew by 9% in 2007 and accounts for 5% of the country's labor force and 8.4% of its gross domestic product. "As Indonesia addresses its backlog of investment needs and meets new growth-generated demand, the sector will remain strong," ADB said, adding that "mobile construction workers away from home are more likely to engage in high-risk behavior than the general population." According to the bank, "men, mobility and money" are the "key ingredients for the spread of HIV" in the country, as well as in other parts of the world.
The $200,000 ADB grant to Indonesia aims to "mitigate the risk of HIV associated with infrastructure development," according to the bank. The grant will help the country develop an HIV/AIDS prevention program aimed at the construction industry that will include providing workers with information about safer sex.
The number of HIV/AIDS cases in Indonesia has been "increasing exponentially" since 2000, according to ADB, which added that up to 100,000 people in the country could die from the disease within two years. Indonesia's Ministry of Health estimates that 220,000 people of working age were living with HIV/AIDS last year and that an additional 8.2 million people are at high risk of contracting the virus. The number of HIV/AIDS cases in Indonesia is projected to reach 400,000 by 2010, by which an expected 100,000 people will have died from complications associated with the disease, according to ADB (AFP/Yahoo! News, 1/8).