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province mulls tagging AIDS patients with microchips

province mulls tagging AIDS patients with microchips

Parliamentarians in Indonesia's remote province of Papua say they are considering a controversial bylaw to ''tag'' people infected with AIDS with microchips so they can better monitor their behavior and sexual activities.

''We need to make a major breakthrough to speed up the fight against AIDS in Papua,'' lawmaker John Manansang said Monday, adding that such a measure would also make it easier to keep track of the real number of infections.

Indonesia has one of Asia's fastest growing HIV rates, with up to 290,000 infections out of 235 million people, fueled mainly by injecting drug users and prostitution.

Health authorities have warned that a failure to take prompt action in areas like Papua, where infections are 15 times the national average, could result in 1 million people infected with HIV within a few years.

Parliamentarians are likely to consider public opinion before discussing the draft bylaw with the local government and seeking to enact it. The proposal has already drawn protests from AIDS activists and health workers.

''They are not sharks that need to be tagged with microchips so their behavior and whereabouts can be observed,'' said Constant Karma, head of a state-sponsored Papua AIDS Commission. ''This will violate human rights.'' (AP)

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