Samarinda, East Kalimantan. The number of people affected with HIV/AIDS in East Kalimantan has increased more than twenty-fold over the past nine years, the provincial AIDS commission says.
The figure increased to a total of 3,471 cases in 2012 from 170 cases in 2003.
“The figure continues to rise,” Junanto, the East Kalimantan AIDS Commission (KPAD) secretary, said on Tuesday.
“Out of last year’s figure, 2,695 were HIV cases and 776 were AIDS cases, and 404 of them had died.”
Of those affected, almost half are housewives, 37 percent are workers, 7.3 percent are farmers and laborers, 6.2 percent are civil servants, 3.1 percent are university students and 2.1 percent are high school students, the KPAD says.
Eli Hasan, program manager at Lara’s Foundation, a social advocacy and rehabilitation group, urged the government to focus more on raising the awareness of housewives through social institutions.
“The government must focus on housewives due to the high risk. If this doesn’t start now, the number of sexually transmitted disease cases is bound to increase,” he said.
According to the 2012 East Kalimantan Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) data, 29- to 49-year-olds make up the majority of those affected (73 percent), followed by 20- to 24-year-olds at 20 percent. Those aged 50 years and up accounted for 3 percent of the total, while children under 4 and those aged 15 to 19 years each accounted for 1 percent of cases.
Junanto said that the age data showed that East Kalimantan needed support from all levels of the community to tackle HIV/AIDS. East Kalimantan only has VCT in 10 hospitals and 17 community health centers.
“We are only the facilitator and assistant in the AIDS control program. The education agency should take on the task of campaigning at schools, the youth and sports agency should campaign to young people and athletes, and the National Family Planning Coordinating Board [BKKBN] should carry out awareness campaigns on how to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS to the public in general,” Junanto said.
Eli attributed the increase in HIV/AIDS cases to the growing affluence as a result of the booming mining, plantations and oil and gas sectors, which also encouraged the growth of prostitution in the province.
There are about 80 known red-light districts in the province with around 20,000 prostitutes in total.