Bali Daily (Jakarta Post) reports that an estimated one percent of women pregnant in Bali are infected with the HIV/AIDS virus. In real terms, this is equivalent to around 500 infected mothers each year.
Dewa Nyoman Wirawan of the Bali HIV/AID Commission blames the infections of pregnant mothers on the promiscuous sexual practices of husbands who infect their wives and unborn children.
Said Wirawan who is a epidemiologist from Udayana University: “From around 500 pregnant mothers who are estimated to be HIV positive, about half of them, or 250 mothers, would have HIV positive newborns.”
Babies born to HIV positive parents can only be absolutely determined to be similarly infected after six months of life when symptoms begin to manifest in the babies.
Wirawan said that stopping the spread of HIV in Bali is the reluctance of local doctors to test for the disease and then the limited treatment facilities for those determined to be infected. At present, treatment is limited to Bali’s main general hospital in Denpasar with efforts underway to establish centers for HIV treatment in Singaraja, Bangli and Karangasem regencies.
Patients with access to Antiretroviral medications (ARV) in the early stages of their infection can lead largely normal lives and suppress the chance of infecting others by 90%.
Statistics from Bali health officials indicate 74.4% of HIV infections arise through heterosexual contact, 12.79% through intravenous drug use, 3.9% via homosexual contact and 0.03 through unhygienic tattoos.
40% of HIV infections occur to people aged 20-29 years; with 35.76% to people aged 30 to 39 years; and 3.34% to children and infants under the age of 4 years.
Most HIV cases (40.3%) occur in the capital of Denpasar and 19.91% in the North Bali regency of Buleleng.
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