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HIV/AIDS: Bali's Silent Natural Disaster

Bali Now Ranks Fifth Nationwide for HIV/AIDS Cases.

(11/10/2008) Although the population of Bali is only 3.2 million, the total number of known HIV/AIDS cases through the end of September 2008 stands at 2,323 cases, earning the island the dubious distinction of ranking fifth in the total number of sufferers after Jakarta, West Java, Papua and East Java.

Nusa Bali quotes Bali's Governor Made Mangku Pastika as saying that of the 2,323 cases of HIV/AIDS in Bali there are 1,248 HIV patients and 1,075 patients testing positive for AIDS.

The Commission for the Prevention of AIDS in Bali has recorded 185 deaths linked to the disease.

Governor Pastika told the press that Bali's capital city of Denpasar has the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS with 1,117 cases on record, followed by Buleleng with 443 and Badung with 434 victims. The remaining known cases are spread across the 6 remaining regencies of Bali.

Health authorities estimate that 59.75% of all cases are linked to high-risk sexual practice among heterosexuals; 29.19% due to the sharing of intravenous needles among illicit drug users; 5.9% due to unsafe sex practice among homosexuals; 1.46% via prenatal infections and the remaining 3.75% linked to unknown etiologies.

Of significant concern is the rapid increase in HIVAIDS cases in Bali where a 10% jump in new cases was recorded in the five months between May and September 2008.

Bali uncovered its first confirmed HIV/AIDS case in 1987 when a Dutch tourist died of the disease while holidaying on the island.