One in four Bali prostitutes `HIV-positive`

Last Updated: Sunday, November 14, 2010 - 21:27

Jakarta: The number of known HIV/AIDS
cases on the Indonesian resort island of Bali is soaring, with
one in four prostitutes there reported to be HIV-positive, an
official said on Sunday.

A new report by the National AIDS Commission said the
number of HIV infections on the island had jumped almost 19
per cent to 3,778 this year, with another 597 cases.

"The figure is only the tip of the iceberg... we
estimate the actual number of cases to hover around 7,000 as
many cases were unreported," said the commission`s spokesman
in Bali, Nyoman Mangku Karmaya.

"Many people are reluctant to go for medical check-ups
as there`s still a stigma and discrimination against people
living with HIV/AIDS," he told AFP.

The number of cases this year has risen sharply from
1,253 cases in 2006 and 590 in 2004.

Karmaya said about 25 per cent of the estimated 8,800
sex workers in Bali were infected with HIV this year, up from
23 per cent last year, adding that the virus was transmitted
from clients who refused to use condoms.

While describing the trend as "worrying", he said most
tourists visit Bali for the culture and scenery, not for sex.

"There might be some who get acquainted with the sex
workers, but they`re aware about using condoms," Karmaya said.

However, he warned that there could be more than 840
new infections in Bali every year if the spread is not
contained.

"We will increase our efforts to provide more
information and educate the sex workers as well as the public.
We`ll also intensify campaigns promoting condom use," he
added.

More than a million tourists visit Bali every year to
enjoy its surf beaches, nightlife and Hindu culture.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, November 14, 2010 - 21:27

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