13 Nov 2008

HIV/AIDS infections rising rapidly in Papua

7:27 pm on 13 November 2008

The number of people living with HIV/AIDS in Papua is increasing every year with 319 new cases reported as of October, taking the total to 4,114 reported cases.

The Jakarta Post reports the Papua AIDS Commission (KPAD) chairman, Constan Karma, as saying spread of the HIV/AIDS virus is occurring faster than any effort to curb it.

Of the 319 new cases, 174 have been confirmed as AIDS.

Mr Karma said the new figures call for a large-scale plan to handle AIDS in the Papua region, including new policies, strategic planning, programs and stakeholders' commitment.

Health workers on the ground estimate the total number of HIV/AIDS infections in Papua is in fact in the tens of thousands.

HIV/AIDS was first reported in Papua in 1992 when six Thai fishermen visited Merauke.