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Sex causing most new HIV infections in Bali DENPASAR - Bali's dramatic increase of HIV prevalence among sex workers has changed the face of the epidemic on this famed tourist destination of 3.9 million local residents, NGOs say. Earlier number showed that the prevalence among injecting drug users was most important.

In 2010, 25.9 percent of Bali’s 3,945 sex workers - those working in brothels or on the streets mostly in the inner-island town centre known as Denpasar - were living with HIV, up from 1.6 percent in 2000, according to the provincial health department.

The HIV prevalence rate among sex workers nationwide in 2007 was 10.4 percent and 4.6 percent among "indirect" sex workers, such as those in massage parlours, karaoke bars and places not known primarily for selling sex, according to a UNAIDS report on Indonesia.

The virus is taking hold of the general population in Bali as some 100,000 clients - mostly heterosexual Indonesian men - have sex with an estimated 6,000 sex workers and then go home to their 70,000-odd partners.

"I want Jakarta to look at the problem," said Dewa Wirawan, director of the Kerti Praja Foundation (KPF) and one of Bali’s leading HIV experts, "They have to know this is our situation and maybe it's not just in Bali."

The secretary and head of the government’s National AIDS Commission, Nafsiah Mboi, said tackling HIV is a high priority of the government, and the biggest “headache” she faces nationwide is HIV prevention due to the current biggest vehicle for HIV transmission - sex.

"One out of nine Indonesian men uses sex services. Those men have partners - male and female - who face risk of infection.” Nationwide in 2009, the government estimated 3-5 million people, mostly men, paid for sex. “There is not one inhabited harbour where people are not having sex, not one inhabited island without commercial sex,” she said. The geographical spread of Indonesia, with its 17,000 islands, makes it a challenge to get out both contraception and safe sex messages, she added.

A decade ago, Bali's HIV problem - as was the entire country’s - was concentrated among intravenous drug users (IDUs). HIV in heterosexual men and women began its steady upward climb in 2005 in Bali, as the number of new infections of IDUs living with HIV steadily declined.


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Related blog entries (category 'Health') Tags: sex, worker, HIV, prevalence, increase


Posted in Health @ 05 January 2011 06:25 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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