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slametriyadi.com » Blog Archive » HIV/AIDS cases skyrocket in Yogyakarta: Health office

HIV/AIDS cases skyrocket in Yogyakarta: Health office

The Jakarta Post, Wed 12, 2008

The number of people living with HIV/AIDS in Yogyakarta jumped from 20 in 2002 to 393 in September last year, provincial health office head Bondan Agus Suryanto said Tuesday.

Bondan attributed the sharp increase in HIV/AIDS infections to more people having unprotected sex outside of monogamous relationships and the sharing of needles among young drug users.

“Most of those infected by the deadly virus belong to the productive age group of 15 to 30 years. Most of them were infected through heterosexual sex and the sharing of syringes,” Bondan said during a break at a seminar on HIV/AIDS.

He warned that HIV/AIDS infections in the city had reached alarming levels, and immediate action was needed to halt the trend.

He said about 5 percent of the infections involved prostitutes, transvestites and others who engaged in high-risk sexual activities.

He said Yogyakarta’s position as both a tourism destination and the site of numerous universities resulted in their being more high-risk sexual activities in the city.

“As a tourism city, one of its negative impacts is the rise in loose sexual behavior. At the same time a lot of young people live in Yogyakarta.”

He also warned the official figure for HIV/AIDS infections was likely far lower than the actual number. “The real number could be 10 times that.”

The coordinator of a group campaigning against regional rules outlawing red-light district, Enik Maslalah, said the moral approach to fighting HIV/AIDS had proven ineffective.

“Prevention efforts should not deal mainly with the moral approach, but with cultural and structural problems,” Enik said.

Robert Sihombing, an HIV/AIDS activist with the Jayapura Support Group in Papua, said Tuesday the application of the OraQuick advanced HIV antibody test for use with oral fluids had proven to be ineffective, because the results had to be confirmed using standard blood tests.

“If the OraQuick test results have to be confirmed with the existing blood test, what is the use of the tests?” Sihombing asked.

He said since blood tests were more effective for determining HIV/AIDS status, the OraQuick kits were not needed in Papua.

Sihombing made the remarks in response to the arrival in Jayapura of at least 30,000 OraQuick test kits, whose expiration dates are in June, from the Health Ministry in Jakarta.

The kits are still being stored in warehouses by the Papuan provincial health office because of a lack of funds for their distribution.

“Even if there was money for their distribution, many of the kits will be useless, as it is impossible to distribute the 30,000 kits in Papua within two months,” provincial health office head Bagus Sukaswara said.

He said the introduction of the OraQuick test kits would be a waste of funds.

“Why should we be given new test kits? Why don’t we just intensify the old system, which has not been properly utilized?” Bagus said.

Source http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2008/03/11/hivaids-cases-skyrocket-yogyakarta-health-office.html

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