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Love for Sale

Prostitution in Bali Seen as Launching Point for HIV Infections in Larger Community.

(3/7/2011) The National Commission for the Control of AIDS (KPAN) and the Indonesian Department of Health estimated that the number of people infected with HIV/AIDS in Bali reached 7,317 in 2010. From that total, an estimated 3,017 of the infections were among commercial sex workers, with the remaining 4,000 cases among the general population of the island.

Increasing rates of new infections among heterosexuals, have widened fears that the disease is now spreading outside of sex contact with prostitutes, with cases now on the increase among housewives and children.

A 2009 survey estimated that among the 54,000 women who gave birth in Bali in that year, 3,000 of the mothers were positive for the HIV virus.

The Bali office of the Commission for the Control for AIDS (KPA) is working to stem the spread of HIV through community education programs and the distribution of condoms through local health centers and other local organizations.

Yahya Ansore, the program director of KPA in Bali admitted that the problem of discussing the problem of HIV/AIDS in public remains largely taboo, impeding efforts to spread information about the disease and how to control its spread. "For this reasons we need an effort to increase public understanding and concern on how to prevent new cases of HIV," said Yahya.