International Labour Organization Calls on Indonesian Government To Improve Migrant Workers’ Knowledge About HIV/AIDS
The International Labour Organization on Thursday called on the Indonesian government to improve knowledge about HIV/AIDS among migrant workers, particularly women, in the country, the Jakarta Post reports. According to Alan Boulton, ILO director for Indonesia, female migrant workers especially are susceptible to HIV infection and other problems, such as sexual abuse. "The challenge is to find ways of maximizing migration's contribution to growth and development while providing appropriate protection for" migrants, "including information and advice" about the risk of HIV, Boulton said Thursday at a talk to recognize International Women's Day. Boulton added that 450,000 migrant workers leave the country annually to work abroad, 75% of whom are women. According to data from the Association of Migrant Workers, in 2005, 161 out of 145,289 potential female migrant workers in Indonesia tested positive for HIV and in 2004, 203 out of 233,626 potential female migrant workers tested HIV-positive. Boulton said the country needs to "provide information and support for potential Indonesian migrant workers so that they can avoid contracting HIV/AIDS during their work or when they come back to Indonesia." He added that discrimination against HIV-positive workers also is an issue. A recent Women's Solidarity for Human Rights survey conducted in three Indonesian cities that have high migrant worker populations found many female migrant workers in the country have minimal knowledge about HIV/AIDS, how it is transmitted and how to prevent its spread. Although female migrant workers are vulnerable to HIV infection, data on prevalence among the group are not available, according to Halik Sidik of the National AIDS Commission (Jakarta Post, 3/9).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.