HIV epidemic is concentrated
in high-risk populations:

The National AIDS Commission (KPA) secretary, Kemal N.Siregar, said the HIV epidemic prevention program in Indonesia should focus on high-risk groups where the infection was mostly found.

Despite a well-run HIV and AIDS prevention program in Asian countries including Indonesia, the fast spreading of HIV epidemics in high risk populations remained persistent during the last 20 to 30 years, he said.

Both globally and regionally, however, many AIDS prevention policies and programs seemed to be more compatible with the HIV epidemic in general populations, such as in Africa.

“To respond to the challenge, we’ve seen a need to review and restructure the existing HIV control programs,” said Kemal in a statement made available to The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

It was a fact that the spread of the HIV epidemic in Asia was more concentrated in key populations, and these include female sex workers, men who buy sex from sex workers, men who have sex with men, homosexuals, transvestites and transgendered people, he added.

Kemal spoke at a satellite session entitled “HIV in Asia – Transforming the Agenda for 2012 and Beyond” held in the sidelines of the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington DC which concludes on Thursday.

UN Special Envoy for AIDS in Asia Pacific Prasada Rao and Australian AIDS Envoy Murray Proctor also attended the session which took place at Walter E.Washington Convention Center, Washington D.C.

During the session, Kemal voiced the hope that international partners, such as UNAIDS, WHO, World Bank, AUSAID, and Global Fund, could support efforts Indonesia was currently undertaking to curb the fast-spreading HIV epidemic among high-risk populations.

“We need support to strengthen AIDS-prevention programs deemed critical in Asian countries including Indonesia,” he said.

All decision makers, both at national and local levels, needed to have not only more understanding about so called “risky behaviors” but also commitment to addressing the epidemic, he added.

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