Published: Tuesday 31 December 1996

A recent report prepared by the University of Indonesia predicts that almost 12,000 to 3 1,000 people in the country will die of AIDS by the turn of the century. A poor medical surveillance system and resistance to use of contraceptives are aggravating the situation.

There are conflicting reports about the number of Hiv and AIDS cases in the country. Official figures say that only 465 people have AIDS or are infected with HIV. Of these cases, 355 are HIV- positive while 110 have full-blown AIDS. However, the new report puts the number Of AIDS deaths in Indonesia between 2,957 and 7,393. Government figures put the death toll at 66. Most cases are not recorded because they are not diagnosed by doctors.

Moreover, if someone dies, it is recorded as tuberculosis or pneumonia, but its possible link to AIDS is often ignored, said Ann-Marie Fonseka, project officer with the United Nation's Children's Fund in Jakarta.

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