Against All Odds: HIV/AIDS Epidemic Among Indigenous Papuans
"Tembok" is a place that is dark and overlooking the ocean in Sorong. At night, it is a popular spot get drunk and to buy and sell sex.
For many young Papuan women in urban and developing areas, poverty and economic pressures have forced the exchange of sex for goods, cash, or food as an accepted mean for survival. Unlike non-Papuan brothel workers, Papuan sex workers often seek clients in public venues and have sex outside, by the side of the road, or in urban dwellings. Operating outside formal establishments, the exact number of Papuan sex workers are unknown but are estimated to be at least double the number of non-Papuans. Despite their high numbers, intervention programs targeting Papuan sex workers have not been a priority and most of them rarely have access to information, preventive services and support for HIV/AIDS and STDs. With limited access to information and support, Papuan sex workers are less informed, have lower rates of condom usage (5% compared to non-Papuans with a 70% rate of condom usage), and are more likely to get infected with STDs and HIV than their counterparts in regulated brothels.