HIV/AIDS Affecting Formerly Low-Risk Populations in Indonesian Province
Formerly low-risk groups such as married women and young children are contracting HIV/AIDS at higher rates in Indonesia's West Nusa Tenggara province during the past year, the Jakarta Post reports. According to the province's AIDS Eradication Commission, or KPAD, 25 married women and six young children contracted HIV last year. As of November 2008, 10 people had died from the disease, Rohmi Khoiriyati, KPAD secretary, said. KPAD as of November 2008 also recorded 25 new HIV cases, including three among people who had developed AIDS.
Rohmi said the province's HIV prevalence is "a matter of grave concern," particularly because the virus has affected married women and young children "despite the fact that they are not included in the high-risk category." According to KPAD, more married women contracted HIV in 2008 than people from populations considered at "high-risk" for the disease, including injection drug users and commercial sex workers. However, the actual HIV prevalence in the province could be greater than the reports indicate, Rohmi said. According to KPAD, it is difficult to know how many people are living with HIV in the country because many people are unaware of their status and there are a limited number of voluntary counseling and testing centers. Four sites in West Nusa Tenggara currently provide HIV testing, the Post reports. Rohmi said that encouraging people to seek medical attention for HIV will require a concerted effort to raise awareness and combat stigma associated with the disease.
West Nusa Tenggara province has reported 137 HIV cases and 70 AIDS cases since 2001, the Post reports. Since that time, 49 people have died from AIDS-related illnesses, Rohmi said. She added that people living with HIV in the province are able to receive medical treatment (Panca, Jakarta Post, 1/6).