The Papua Health Office reported that over 13,000 people in the Indonesian province of Papua are HIV-infected. More than 150 of the HIV-infected individuals are younger than five years of age and contracted the virus from their parents. The head of the Papua Health Office, Josef Rinta, reported that 80 percent of the HIV-infected Papuans are between the ages of 15 and 40. Rinta attributed “ninety-eight percent” of HIV infections to unprotected sex and multiple sexual partners.
Health officials face geographic challenges in promoting HIV awareness campaigns in remote areas of Papua. Australia and Indonesia have completed four years of a six-year partnership—Rapidly Expanding Access to Care for HIV (REACH)—to build access to HIV services and care in Papua and West Papua. The Indonesian government and the United Nations are also working together to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Papua.