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10% of Bali's Prostitutes HIV Positive

Alarming Increase in HIV Infections Among Female Sex Workers Blamed on Growing Population and Burgeoning Number of Entertainment Venues.

(9/12/2007) The Indonesian-language DenPost reports that HIV positive cases have increased 30% in the space of just two years. There are an estimated 4,041 people in Bali currently testing positive for HIV, up from the 3,000 cases recorded in 2005.

Local experts report that new cases are dominated by infections via sexual contact, primarily via contact with female prostitutes. This is a change for past patterns of new infections when 40-50% of old cases were blamed on the shared use of needles among intravenous drug users.

The report quoted local experts who estimate 10% of female sex workers in Bali are HIV positive, up dramatically from an estimated 3% in 2001.

Officials are linking the higher rate of infection among sex workers to Bali's growing population and the burgeoning number of cafes, karaoke, massage parlors and entertainment venues.

The HIV experts also estimated that 100,000 customers are served by female prostitutes in Bali each year with perhaps only 20-30% of those "transaction" employing the use of a condom.