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AIDS/HIV News Archive: INDONESIA


Indonesian Minister Warns of HIV/AIDS Cases Threat 19/11/03 -- DXinhua News Agency

On Wednesday, Indonesian Health Minister Achmad Sujudi warned of a rise in HIV/AIDS cases in the country. Quoting health ministry statistics, Sujudi said that at the end of September there were 3,924 HIV cases in Indonesia, 1,239 of which were AIDS cases. However, Indonesia's numbers are still lower than those in Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, the national news agency Antara quoted Sujudi as saying. In Malaysia, 51,000 HIV/AIDS cases have been reported.


Indonesia's Insulation from HIV/AIDS Wears Thin 19/06/03 -- Deutsche Presse-Agentur

The cultural and religious norms that have spared Indonesia from an HIV/AIDS epidemic may be the same factors that hinder prevention efforts in the country, experts warn. Indonesia shares the same ingredients that sparked an HIV/AIDS epidemic in neighboring Thailand - a serious IV drug abuse problem, a booming sex industry, high STD rates, a large mobile labor pool, and a local reluctance to using condoms. Despite this, Indonesia's highest estimate for HIV infections is 130,000 with only 3,614 actual reported cases as of March 31 of this year, compared to Thailand's 670,000 cases. But part of the discrepancy may be due to underreporting. "It's a totally passive reporting system," said Stephen Wignall, Indonesia director for Family Health International, which has been working with the Indonesian government to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS. Last May, the government announced a comprehensive HIV/AIDS strategy, including setting the goal of 100 percent condom use among high-risk groups, according to UNAIDS. But getting the message across poses problems. A safe sex advertisement depicting men visiting a brothel was pulled from Indonesian television stations last September because Muslim groups felt it was promoting promiscuity and adultery. The incident has raised serious questions about whether Islam, which may have helped Indonesia avoid an HIV/AIDS epidemic so far, will hinder the more crucial need for a safe sex campaign. For his part, Tarmizi Taher, a former Indonesian Minister of Religion, is calling for the country's two major Muslim organizations to initiate dialogue about the need for condoms and clean needle use. But he acknowledges, "you have to use the right sentences to persuade people." "We call it an emergency, because under Islamic law if there is an emergency you can change the rules," said Taher.


HIV Sneaks Up on Indonesia After Suharto 01/06/03 -- San Francisco Chronicle

As recently as 1999, Indonesia barely registered on the AIDS map, with fewer than 1,000 of the nation's 210 million inhabitants known to be HIV-positive. But after the collapse of the regime of Gen. Suharto in 1998, the rise of illegal drug trafficking gave AIDS workers concern about an emerging high-risk group - heroin addicts who share infected needles. The Indonesian government estimates there are between 124,000 and 196,000 IV drug users in the country, yet some health experts say that number could be closer to 1 million. And according to the Indonesian AIDS Commission, HIV infection rates among drug addicts have soared from nearly zero in 1998 to more than 50 percent in cities like Jakarta and Denpasar. "HIV snuck up on Indonesia and whacked it on the back of the head before anyone knew what was going on," said Wayne Wiebel, regional advisor to the nonprofit group Family Health International. Indonesia's infection rate remains low in comparison with other Southeast Asian countries, but health experts agree that the HIV rate is increasing sharply - not only among IV drug users, but also among the estimated 190,000 to 270,000 sex workers and 1 million migrant workers. A National AIDS Commission report demonstrates that 6 percent to 26 percent of sex workers are HIV-positive. And about 10 percent of migrant workers have tested HIV-positive. Despite condom sales doubling since 1998 - to 60 million a year - fewer than 10 percent of all men report using them, said UNAIDS. "Our distribution is pretty good now, so it's a behavioral issue. The condoms are there - but will they buy in?" said Christopher Purdy, country director of DKT International, a charity organization that specializes in family planning. Until now, Indonesia's AIDS efforts have focused on prevention and education. However, a recent UNICEF survey showed of 1,000 youths ages 14 to 17 showed that 84 percent "knew little or nothing about HIV/AIDS." AIDS activists say the government will have to expand care and treatment as cases continue to emerge.


Indonesian TV Stations Yank Condom Ads 25/09/02 -- Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Indonesian TV stations dropped a condom ad aimed at preventing the spread of HIV after the commercial was criticized by several Muslim organizations. The ad was jointly developed by five Indonesian TV stations in cooperation with AIDS organizations. It shows young men who visit a brothel and opt to use condoms. The Jakarta Post reported that the decision to drop the ad was prompted by harsh criticism from several Muslim organizations, including the radical Indonesian Mujahiddin Council, which claimed the commercial was pornographic and encouraged promiscuity. Advocates estimate at least 120,000 people have HIV/AIDS in Indonesia, which is the world's most populous Muslim country.


East Timor Hopes to Avoid AIDS Epidemic 04/04/02 -- Reuters Health

The East Timor government and the UN launched an AIDS awareness campaign last week on television, radio and print media, hoping the country can avoid the explosion in HIV/AIDS seen elsewhere in the region. East Timor, due to gain official independence from Indonesia on May 20, has so far avoided an epidemic, but officials said social dislocation and cross-border migration, together with high unemployment, illiteracy among the rural population and low awareness about HIV, meant there was significant risk. East Timor Vice Minister for Health Joao Martins said preliminary estimates showed the rate of HIV infection at .64 percent of people of reproductive age. Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar have HIV rates of more than 1 percent, according to UNAIDS. The government and UN applauded the Catholic Church for its cooperation in establishing its own program to raise HIV/AIDS awareness.


Indonesia Launches National Drive to Combat AIDS 03/28/02 -- Agence France Presse

On Thursday, Indonesia launched a national campaign to combat HIV/AIDS. "The cabinet meeting decided on the establishment of a national movement to combat AIDS. It is hoped that this movement will attract more public involvement," Health Minister Achmad Suyudi told reporters. Suyudi said the government would provide cheaper drugs for the poor with the disease. In a report last year, the National AIDS Commission estimated 3,856 have died of AIDS in Indonesia between 1987 and 2000. It said HIV infections had risen to alarmingly high levels among drug injectors, with 40 percent of injectors who were undergoing treatment in Jakarta testing positive for HIV in 2001. HIV infection among sex workers and transvestites had also risen sharply. HIV infection among sex workers was especially high in several places, standing at 17 percent in the capital Jakarta and 26 percent in one site in easternmost Papua province.


Irianese Women Targeted in HIV/AIDS Campaign 30/09/01 -- Jakarta Post

Irian Jaya has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in Indonesia.

"The curve of HIV spread follows that of Papua New Guinea or the African curve; it has reached an alarming level," said Dr. Paul Crouch-Chivers, who works for the mining company PT Freeport Indonesia. Part of the speed of transmission can be attributed to the Irianese way of life. Doctors, health officials and nongovernmental organization workers say the male members of many local communities practice sexual activities such as exchanging wives, passing on widows to younger brothers and acquiring new partners. Also, sex without foreplay -which can injure the genitals -is a common practice. Heterosexual intercourse is the main means by which HIV is spread in the region.

As of June 2001, official figures from Irian Jaya showed 599 people had contracted HIV, 224 of whom developed full-blown AIDS. The number of people infected with HIV/AIDS in Indonesia has reached 1,956 overall, meaning Irian Jaya's figures make up almost 30 percent of cases in Indonesia. Crouch-Chivers said while the HIV epidemic in mining communities in Timika was in the early stages, "the annual incidence rate would continue to increase unless there were significant changes in sexual behavior by using condoms or limiting the number of partners."

Officials, doctors and activists said special attention needs to be directed at mothers. "I am sure we will start to see infected new-born babies in the future," Crouch-Chivers said. Surveys by an Irian Jaya health agency show that sexual harassment and ill treatment of wives is rampant among the local population in villages and towns. "Some women still have sexual intercourse with their husbands although they know that their husbands are infected," said Dr. Gunawan Ingkokusumo, a senior member of staff of a health agency in Jayapura. He said the HIV/AIDS problem in Irian Jaya was similar to a fire ignited in a dry forest. "If we are not alert to the fire, it will spread and scorch a big part of the human resources needed to build this province," Ingkokusumo said.


STDs Among Clients of a Women's Health Mobile Clinic in Rural Bali 01/01 -- International Journal of STD & AIDS Online

Researchers attempted to determine the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among women attending a women's health mobile clinic in rural Bali, Indonesia. Of the more than 300 women, more than half had at least one reproductive tract infection (RTI), and nearly 20 percent had at least one STD. Based on their findings, the researchers calls for greater STD prevention efforts, RTI/STD management, and condom promotion in the rural region.


MOST HIV/AIDS CASES IDENTIFIED TOO LATE Apr 24, 1997

JAKARTA -- A 1990 to 1996 survey shows that most cases of HIV and AIDS here are identified in the later stages, a physician said yesterday. Zubairi Djoerban, chairman of the health non-governmental organization Pelita Ilmu, said this was due to medical personnel's poor knowledge of HIV/AIDS, including how to diagnose and prevent it.

Medical personnel should know the clinical symptoms and infections related to the condition, he said. Medical staff without proper knowledge of HIV/AIDS could be infected with the condition and transmit it, he said.

The latest official figures record 524 HIV/AIDS cases in Indonesia, including 74 people who have died. Jakarta has 164 reported cases. These include one AIDS and one HIV case found in March. Prior to this, official statistics recorded 61 AIDS cases and 101 HIV cases in the city. The foundation said the last seven reported HIV/AIDS cases were found in Jakarta, Bali and North Sumatra. -- Copyright 1997 The Jakarta Post.


Number of People With HIV Reaches 466 in Indonesia Dec 28, 1996

The number of HIV infections in Indonesia has reached 466, and 112 people have developed AIDS. A total of 128 foreigners were reported to have HIV or AIDS. Approximately 63 percent of the HIV cases were transmitted through heterosexual contact, and women were found to be more likely than men to contract HIV through sex with different partners. A majority of the infected individuals are between the ages of 15 and 59. --Xinhua News Agency


Indonesia Against Condoms to Stem AIDS -- Minister Nov 6, 1996

The use of condoms to curb the spread of HIV will not be advocated by the Indonesian government because the practice is not culturally appropriate, Health Minister Suydi said. The Antara news agency quoted Suydi as telling a meeting of the Indonesian Medical Association that "the most suitable method for us is counseling and not distributing condoms." Condoms will be distributed by the government in areas where prostitution is prevalent, he added. -- Reuters


Experts say 12,000 die yearly of AIDS Oct 29, 1996

JAKARTA -- A research group from the University of Indonesia predictedyesterday that between 12,000 and 31,000 people are already dying inIndonesia every year due to the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The estimate, published in a report by the Center for Health Research, contrasts sharply with the official statistics on AIDS and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

The real figures are far higher because Indonesia does not have an effective system for monitoring the real number of HIV and AIDS cases, Meiwita said. "There has been a low number of reported HIV-positive cases because they are detected after they develop into AIDS," Meiwita said.

An even bigger concern than the HIV-related deaths is the fact that by 2000, between 200,000 and 550,000 children will lose their parents, Meiwita said. -- Jakarta Post


CHANGE YOUR SEXUAL BEHAVIOR May 11, 1996

YOGYAKARTA: If Indonesians do not change their sexual behavior, the state may have to spend Rp 33 trillion (US$15 billion) to control AIDS beginning in the year 2000, an expert warned yesterday. Dadang Hawari, a medical expert from the Jakarta-based University of Indonesia, said in a seminar that the permissive attitudes of Indonesians towards sex could hasten the spread of AIDS. "Indonesia's state budget for the year 2000 stands at Rp 95 trillion. That means that the almost one-third of the budget may have to be used to control AIDS," he said.

-- copyright 1996 The Jakarta Post. SOURCES SOUTHEAST ASIA


Indonesia AIDS at a Glance Apr 16, 1996

INDONESIA -- The sex trade in Indonesia is thought to be largely responsible for the rapid increase in the country's number of HIV infections and AIDS cases. However, a two-year-old program that promotes AIDS awareness among prostitutes in Jakarta is resulting in dramatic improvement in condom use. A total of 380 cases of HIV or AIDS have been reported in the country, but experts say the number of cases could be as high as 200,000. As in most Asian countries, in Indonesia the virus is spread primarily through heterosexual contact. -- United Press International


HIV Cases Climb in Indonesia Apr 5, 1996

INDONESIA -- The health ministry in Indonesia has added 10 cases of HIV to its roll, bringing the total number of infected individuals to 390. Hadi M. Abednego, head of contagious diseases in the country, said the new cases were identified in a one- month period. Government officials warned that the disease could spread to 2.5 million individuals by the year 2000 if precautions are not taken. Health officials added that HIV is spreading more rapidly in Asia because of changes in cultural and moral values and sexual norms brought on by tourism. -- United Press International


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