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Bali Now Has 1,986 HIV/AIDS Cases.

AIDS Prevention Group Estimates 30% of Bali's Prostitutes Suffer from HIV.

(6/2/2008) Tempo Interaktif reports that the number of people now suffering with HIV-AIDS in Bali now stands at 1,986. This official tally is still well below the prediction of 4,000 HIV/AIDS sufferers made in 2007.

The coordinator of the Commission for the Control of AIDS (at KPA) for Bali, Ilyas Paweloi, said those groups at risk such as commercial sex workers, sexually active heterosexuals and intravenous drug users were still reluctant to undertake HIV testing. Speaking at a World AIDS Day gathering in Bali on May 25, Paweloi said, "they are worried that (being at) risk they will be found positive for the HIV virus."

There is also the additional problem that the voluntary consulting test (VCT) is not equally accessible in all nine regencies of Bali. At this point, the VCT testing facility is only available in Denpasar, Gianyar, Buleleng and Badung. Ilyas complained that there is a shortage of volunteers to help drive the programs of the organization dedicated to controlling the spread of the AIDS epidemic.

Current data in Bali show that most AIDS cases in Bali affect commercial sex workers and heterosexuals who, combined together, constitute 1,114 cases. The remaining cases are found amount intravenous drug users (639), and homosexuals (123). There are also 23 cases attributed to infections of infants by mothers infected with AIDS.

Commercial Sex Industry the Greatest Risk

According Ilyas, new infections among commercial sex workers and their heterosexual customers remain high, with an estimated 30% of prostitutes working in Bali infected with AIDS. He also complained that efforts to encourage the use of condoms in commercial sex transactions are meeting with limited success as many customers refuse to cooperate.

The HIV/AIDS Situation Nationwide

According to Republik Online, the Indonesian Ministry of Health predicts that 200,000 may be infected on a nation-wide basis. Health workers state that of the 20,000 known cases of the disease within the Country, this number represents perhaps only 10% of the actual cases with 90% of the HIV/AIDs cases going undetected and undiagnosed.

While 50% of all cases in Indonesia are linked to intravenous drug use; certain areas of the Nation, such as Riau and Papua, link most cases to unprotected sex.