Page last updated at 11:52 GMT, Monday, 1 December 2008

Papua mulls microchips for HIV

By Lucy Williamson
BBC News, Jakarta

Papuan women
Papua province is home to almost half Indonesia's HIV cases

The Indonesian province of Papua is debating whether to introduce a law allowing the government to implant microchips in people living with HIV.

The bill proposes tracking the movements of HIV-positive people who behave in what some MPs describe as an irresponsible way.

The proposal is the most controversial of a swathe of programmes to tackle the spread of HIV in Indonesia.

Papua has one of the worst infection rates outside Africa.


Dr Manangsang - a medical doctor who is also a member of Papua's parliament - put the bill forward.

As well as proposing to use microchips to track people's movements, it also suggests tattooing as a way of alerting health officials to carriers of the virus.

It recommends mandatory testing for all Papuans, with special ID cards issued to those who test positive.

Papua is home to almost half Indonesia's cases of HIV, the result of a vibrant sex trade and large numbers of migrant workers.

But it is also the area of the country least equipped to deal with it.

Fewer than 20% of local clinics have the means to test for the virus, while much of the population lives cut off from towns, without electricity, vehicle access or phone coverage.

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