6 Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

Where we are?

A baby in her mosquito net. Photo: Sandra Magno/UNDP TL.
A baby in her mosquito net. Photo: Sandra Magno/UNDP TL.

While the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Timor-Leste is still relatively low (less than half of one per cent), the country has many of the factors which could cause a rise in prevalence.

Fourty-four per cent of Timorese women and 61 per cent of Timorese men have heard of HIV/AIDS, but fewer than a third of Timorese women and 42 per cent of men know that using condoms and limiting sex to one faithful partner reduces the risk of getting HIV. Only 40 per cent of young people aged 15-24 have adequate knowledge about HIV/AIDS.

Malaria rose in the first part of the last decade, but figures show it fell again from 206 per 1000 in 2007 to 113 per 1,000 in 2009. Mosquito eradication programs, distribution of long lasting insecticide treated nets and changing treatment protocols for malaria are priority activities which will help bring malaria under control. There has been a huge jump in the number of children under five sleeping under a mosquito net – up from eight per cent to 46 per cent in the years 2001 to 2009.

Tuberculosis (TB) is also a major health issue. The prevalence of TB has been estimated at 447 per 100,000.  However, since 2003, Timor-Leste has consistently achieved treatment success rates of over 80 per cent.

What needs to be done

  • Continue HIV/AIDS behavior change programs targeting those most at risk. 
  • Develop information progammes particularly for young people, about HIV/AIDS risk factors and prevention.
  • Ensure proper support for people living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Continued work on the National Malaria Control Programme.
  • Community awareness programmes that   improve people’s knowledge, attitude and practices in order to prevent and control malaria among the community.
  • Continued strengthening of the National TB Control Programme (NTP) to reach global targets of case detection.

Sources: 2009 The Millennium Development Goals, Timor-Leste, RDTL and UN; Millennium Development Goals 2010, RDTL, National Statistics Directorate, Ministry of Finance and ICF Macro, 2010; 2009-10 Timor-Leste Demographic and Health Survey: Key Findings, Dili, Timor-Leste, NCD and ICF Macro; Timor-Leste MDG-F Case Study Evaluation, 2012.  

UNDP's work in Timor-Leste

  • A mobile court session conducted by Suai District Court, in a government office building in Maliana town. Photo UNDP Justice System Programme

    Taking the court to the people

    Ainaro – In a makeshift courtroom in the Ministry of Agriculture building in Ainaro town, Judge Jose Maria de Araujo is explaining the meaning of suspendedmore

  • Joel Fernandes at a voter education session for vulnerable groups. Photo Sandra Magno/UNDP TL

    Voter education sessions aid disabled voters

    Dili – Car mechanic Joel Fernandes paid no attention to the two steps that he climbed as he entered the polling station for local elections inmore

Targets for MDG6
  1. Halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS
    • HIV prevalence among population aged 15-24 years
    • Condom use at last high-risk sex
    • Proportion of population aged 15-24 years with comprehensive correct knowledge of HIV/AIDS
    • Ratio of school attendance of orphans to school attendance of non-orphans aged 10-14 years
  2. Achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it
    • Proportion of population with advanced HIV infection with access to antiretroviral drugs