By AP / NINIEK KARMINI
(JAKARTA, Indonesia) — Lawmakers in Indonesia's remote province of Papua have thrown their support behind a controversial bill requiring some HIV/AIDS patients to be implanted with microchips — part of extreme efforts to monitor the disease.
Health workers and rights activists sharply criticized the plan Monday.(See TIME's A-Z Health Guide.)
But legislator John Manangsang said by implanting small computer chips beneath the skin of "sexually aggressive" patients, authorities would be in a better position to identify, track and ultimately punish those who deliberately infect others with up to six months in jail or a $5,000 fine.
The technical and practical details still need to be hammered out, but the proposed legislation has received full backing from the provincial parliament and, if it gets a majority vote as expected, will be enacted next month, he and others said.
Indonesia is the world's fourth most populous country and has one of Asia's fastest growing HIV rates, with up to 290,000 infections out of 235 million people, fueled mainly by intravenous drug users and prostitution.
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