Sat, 05 Apr 2003

Only half HIV/AIDS patients detected

JAKARTA: The Indonesian Humanitarian Committee (KKI) says only 50 percent of people with HIV/AIDS in the country have been detected.

KKI foundation chairman Mar'ie Muhammad said on Friday that most people with HIV/AIDS were reluctant to come forward, making it the extent of the problem impossible for the government to gauge.

"According to government data, the number of people with HIV/AIDS stands at between 80,000 and 120,000 people. But I think the real number is double the figure as most people are ashamed to reveal their condition," said Mar'ie, who is also chairman of the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) and a former finance minister.

Mar'ie said that the number of people with HIV/AIDS in big countries like China, India and Indonesia tended to increase steadily.

"Curbing the epidemic requires simultaneous, concerted efforts," Mar'ie said.

The KKI, along with the private sector and state enterprises, is active in conducting training to raise people's HIV/AIDS awareness.

The KKI is currently collaborating with the State Savings Bank (BTN). However previously, the KKI has also worked together with PT Gudang Garam, PT Sampoerna and PT Djarum.

"These companies have large numbers of employees, who through proper training could set an example and inform their friends and neighbors of the dangers of HIV/AIDS," Mar'ie said.--Antara