Big Effort to Head off AIDS Risk

DALUNG

Badung is working to head off an explosion of HIV/AIDS in the face of new national figures showing infections are rising sharply, especially among sexually active young people.

The National AIDS Commission (KPA) last Sunday held an information and education session for students at Badung high schools, attended by Badung’s vice regent I Ketut Sudikerta, whose job includes being local chairman of the KPA.

Family planning and family welfare chief I Made Lison and other medical officials were also at the session, which featured performances of traditional dances.

Sudikerta said there were 577 known HIV/AIDS infected people in Badung, against predictions that there could by now have been 1,000, which suggested people were beginning to understand the risk of infection and to change their sexual habits in consequence.

He said it was important that the community remained on guard because HIV/AIDS infected people could look fit for many years before the disease manifested visible symptoms. In these circumstances it was easy to be infected by sexual contact.

The key was to avoid promiscuity or at least to practice safe sex. He said the message was “Begin to live healthily and avoid promiscuity that has lately become rife among teenagers.”

At last Sunday’s session, Sudikerta handed over Rp1 million (US$111) to student councils at high schools and vocational schools in the Abiansemal district to assist in education and counselling.

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