HIV in Indonesia: In parts of the archipelago, housewives top prostitutes in new HIV cases

hivHere’s a statistic that begs an explanation from married Indonesian men: housewives in parts of the island nation now outnumber prostitutes when it comes to new cases of HIV.

Those are the latest findings from the Surabaya Aids Prevention Commission, which monitors the spread of HIV in Indonesia. According to the Bernama news outlet, the commission states that a full 60 percent of new HIV cases in populous Bogor, West Java, are housewives. The same report notes that the disease’s spread among sex workers is leveling out.

The commission encourages all pregnant women to take HIV tests but, as the Jakarta Globe reports,less than one in ten consent and “those who tested positive became hysterical and immediately pointed their fingers at their husbands.” Husbands who criss-cross provinces for work — and spend long stints away from home — are seen by the commission as some of the top culprits.

But as long as Indonesians read headlines about children getting expelled for having HIV-positive dads, and HIV-positive couples run out of villages, it will be hard to convince many women that their communities will still embrace them even if they’re infected with HIV by philandering husbands.