The Ministry of Health has said there are 650,000 HIV/AIDS cases, half of them among intravenous drug users, out of a nation of billion people.  (Although this overall estimate of HIV and AIDS cases was lowered in January 2006 – in a report put together by the Chinese government , the World Health Organisation and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) – from 840,000 to 650,000, officials say this reflected the use of different statistical methodology rather than a drop in the incidence.) Epidemiology experts have said that million is closer to the true figure.
1) How shocking is an increase of 25%?
It rather depends on what the original rate was. The fact is, Indonesia had virtually no HIV epidemic in 2001, except in drug injectors and waria sex workers. In other words, the baseline rate of new infections in the largest risk populations (female and male sex workers, their regular clients, and gay men) was extremely low. If you go from four new cases a year to five new cases a year you increase by 25% but add only one new infection. If a high prevalence country goes from 11,000 incident cases to 10,000 cases, it has decreased by nine percent but added 1000 new cases. Which is the bigger prevention failure? I’m not saying that HIV prevention in Indonesia is a great success story; quite the reverse (see below). I’m just reminding people to beware of relative measures.