As we know from AIDS reports, cummulative AIDS cases in Papua until the end of March 2007 were the second highest in the country after Jakarta. However, counted as a proportion of its population number, the case rate in Papua was 60.93 per 100,000 or 15.4 times higher than the national average (3.9), while in West Papua, it was 10.24 per 100,000 or 2.60 times the national average. This means that Papua has the highest proportion of AIDS cases in Indonesia.

In 2006 the Ministry of Health and provincial Health Offices in Papua, in collaboration with National/Local AIDS Commission, the Indonesian Bureau of Statistics, with support from USAID – FHI/ASA and the World Bank completed an Integrated Bio-Behavioral Surveillance (IBBS2006) in the whole of the Indonesian part of Papua which sampled ten districts. IBBS2006 was a population-based survey, and it was conducted between September-October 2006.

The IBBS2006 results showed that HIV prevalence among the population of Papua was 2.4 percent among population age group 15-49 years old which was higher compared to other parts of the country. The survey also showed that HIV was already widespread all over Papua. This situation requires serious attention. An intensive and specific strategy needs to be developed and established to prevent further spread of the disease and prevent a generalized epidemic as has already happened in sub-Saharan Africa. We need to learn from our neighbor, Thailand, that has proven that comprehensive and integrated efforts which mobilize available resources could reverse the course of the epidemic and prevent millions from HIV/AIDS.

This is a very appropriate moment to apply “Bringing Evidence into Action” by using the IBBS2006 results as the basis to develop the intensified HIV/AIDS Control Program for Papua. The program must be comprehensive and achieve its target by mobilizing resources from the central and local governments, private sector and the community as well as donor agencies in optimal and synchronized manner.

Download “Risk Behavior and HIV Prevalence in Tanah Papua 2006”.