Fri, 26 Aug 1994

Ulemas join AIDS campaign

SURABAYA: East Java Governor Basofi Sudirman has called on local ulemas to go to the red light district to counsel prostitutes and pimps on the hazards of their profession as part of the official campaign against the spread of AIDS.

"There are no medicines as yet to treat the deadly disease ... The only effective treatment is for the ulemas to visit the brothels and give the prostitutes spiritual guidance," Basofi said as reported by the Antara news agency.

The city boasts the largest concentration of prostitutes in all of Southeast Asia, beating even Bangkok, Manila and Jakarta.

Eighteen prostitutes in Surabaya have tested positive for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which causes AIDS. One of the victims is a new born baby from an infected prostitute. (rms)