Jayapura, 6/2 (Jubi) – Actor and medical student Benyamin Lagowan said that figures on the epidemic of HIV/ AIDS in Papua were only a tip of the iceberg.
Benyamin, who is studying medicine at Cendrawasih University, said he believed that the official figure of 13,374 Papuans infected by HIV-AIDS did not reflect actual cases.
He said that many HIV/AIDS cases remained unrecorded because of lack of reporting from regencies such as Sarmi, Asmat, and Waropen. Lani Jaya and Puncak Jaya regencies have fewer than twenty cases recorded.
“Is it accurate? Or is the figure based on the number of people who underwent tests. If so, then there’s no question that this is a tip of the iceberg,” he said in an e-mail to tabloidJubi.com on Thursday (6/2).
In 2013, Papua has the highest prevalence of HIV-AIDS. Experts blame the growing epidemic on the government’s failure to take serious action.
HIV _AIDS can be transmitted through blood transfusions, breastfeeding, the sharing of disposable syringes and risky sexual behavior.
Separately, the director of the Papuan Female Voice Foundation said the government has been under-spending the AIDS/HIV budget.
“We heard there are a lot of money budgeted yet the case remains increasing,” she said.
She said efforts to fight HIV/AIDS would have achieve significant results if they had focused on rural areas.
“The are many people in the villages who need to learn about HIV-AIDS,”. (Jubi / Mawel/Tina)