Mon, 27 Aug 2001

616 HIV/AIDS cases in Irian Jaya

JAYAPURA, Irian Jaya: A total of 616 cases of HIV/AIDS have been recorded in Irian Jaya in 12 different regencies and two municipalities, a local health official said here on Sunday.

The head of HIV/AIDS research at the Irian Jaya health office, Gunawan Ingkokusumo, said that the 616 cases were those that were recorded by his office as of July 31, 2001.

According to him, Merauke had the highest number (327 cases), followed by Mimika/Timika (80 cases), Sorong (53 cases) and Jayawijaya (47 cases).

The other regencies with a high incidence of the disease were Fakfak/Kaimana with 31 cases and Nabire with 31 cases, Gunawan said.

Of the 616 cases, 325 were men and 281 women, with the remaining 10 cases being unidentified, he said.

Gunawan explained that HIV affected people mostly through sexual relations without the use of protection in the form of, for example, condoms.

"The virus poses a major threat to the public. Therefore, the government and the relevant agencies are expected to take proper measures to prevent the virus from spreading further," Gunawan was quoted by Antara as saying.

Official data collected by the Directorate General of Communicable Diseases at the Ministry of Health shows that there are a total of 1,572 patients infected with the Human Immuno- deficiency Virus (HIV) and 578 cases of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in the country as of last month.

Overall, the highest number of AIDS cases reported last month was in Jakarta with 299 cases, followed by Irian Jaya with 210 cases, West Java with 37 cases, while Bali, East Java and Riau had 26, 22 and 14 cases respectively. (02)