28 Oct 2009

Papua's HIV rate at epidemic level

7:22 pm on 28 October 2009

A health programme co-ordinator for World Vision Indonesia says HIV/AIDS infection in Papua has reached the stage where it is now a generalised epidemic.

The Antara news agency reports Dr Ronal Gunawan as saying HIV and AIDS in Papua are no longer exclusive to high-risk groups.

He says among the indigenous population, the prevalence rate had reached 2.8 percent, much higher than the rate of 1.5 percent among immigrants.

Dr Gunawan says even higher rates are found in coastal and remote areas where health services are scarce.

He says information on the HIV threat and how it spreads has not yet reached many people because of geographical obstacles and language barriers.

Dr Gunawan also says poverty, education and the quality of health care also play roles in the spread of the disease.