The Jakarta Post
An official said Wednesday that around 60 percent of HIV-infected people in Papua are known to have also suffered from tuberculosis (TB) and that up to 40 percent of TB patients in the province are also HIV-positive.
Papua health agency head, Yosep Rinta, said in Jayapura that such a high number of HIV patients co-infected with TB was caused by a continuous decline of the strength of their immune system so that they were easily infected with the TB bacteria.
He said that many TB patients had never truly had a cure despite ongoing medical treatment and after a thorough examination, it was later found that they had contracted HIV.
Promiscuity or risky sexual behavior was the leading cause of high HIV prevalence in Papua. With a decline in the body's immunity, they got TB infection easily, he went on.
'HIV patients can be co-infected with a wide vary of illnesses; yet, TB is the most common illness among HIV-positive people,' said Rinta as quoted by Antara news agency.
TB patients who are also HIV-positive will receive not only drugs commonly used to treat TB but also anti-retroviral (ARV) therapy to increase the strength of their immune system.
'HIV-infected patients must take the ARV drugs every day for the rest of their life,' said Rinta.
Unfortunately, only 2,091 out of 13,726 HIV-infected patients in Papua are taking the ARVs. (ebf)
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