IDUs At High Risk Of HIV In Indonesia
An Indonesian Ministry of Health study conducted in 2007 found that injection drug users are at the greatest risk of HIV in the country, with approximately 50% of the IDUs participating in the study living with the virus, the Jakarta Post reports.
The survey was released on Monday and conducted in eight provinces -- North Sumatra; Riau Islands; Jakarta; Central, East and West Java; Bali; and Papua. About 400 respondents from each area participated in the survey. According to the survey, the lowest HIV/AIDS prevalence among IDUs was recorded at 42.8%, and the highest was recorded at 56%. The study also found that 28% of IDUs are married and that 47% have multiple sexual partners, which means typically low-risk groups could contract the virus from the IDU population.
Acting Director-General for Disease Control and Environment Restoration Tjandra Yoga Aditama said that about 96% of Indonesia's IDU population is male and that many take drugs before they reach age 18. Tjandra added that the ministry needs to "promote the use of sterile needles and condoms among the high-risk population" and that HIV testing services "must be increased" and "carried out not only on those at high risk, but also on their partners."
The study also found that the second most vulnerable populations are members of the transvestite and transgender communities, 14% to 34% of whom were found to be living with HIV/AIDS. Following this population were:
• Female commercial sex workers, 6.1% to 15.9% of whom were found to be living with HIV;
• Men who have sex with men, 2% to 8.1% of whom were found to be living with HIV; and
• Men who frequently visit commercial sex workers, 0.2% to 1.8% of whom were found to be living with HIV.
Tjandra said that an estimated 0.16% of the total population -- or approximately 368,000 people -- are living with HIV/AIDS in Indonesia (Maulia, Jakarta Post, 10/14).
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