Stigma, Discrimination Deterring HIV Testing Among Some High-Risk Populations in Indonesia, Foundation Says
Stigma and discrimination aimed at transgendered people and men who have sex with men in Indonesia are significant factors in deterring the groups from receiving HIV tests, the country's Inter Medika Foundation said Tuesday, the Jakarta Globe reports. Harry Prabowo, director of the foundation, said that members of these high-risk communities should be motivated to seek voluntary counseling and testing, especially those who practice unsafe sex. He added that motivation should come from members of the community, as well as family and friends. VCT is offered at clinics run by the government and nongovernmental organizations, the Globe reports.
The Indonesian government has set aside 21 billion rupiah, or about $1.79 million, in the 2009 budget for National AIDS Commission programs. The government also expects to receive $2.18 million from international donors. Subagio MS, intergovernmental body director at the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, said that the ministry is collaborating with the media, NGOs, local authorities, communities and religious leaders to increase HIV prevention efforts. He said the ministry is "[p]roviding education and public dialogue" about HIV/AIDS, as well as distributing information to communities. "Awareness of the problem and the willingness to be tested will help change society's attitudes," he said (Osman, Jakarta Globe, 3/24).