Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Against All Odds: HIV/AIDS Epidemic Among Indigenous Papuans

Papua is the largest province in Indonesia and it's home to approximately 1% of Indonesia's population. However, approximately 40% of all HIV/AIDS cases in Indonesia are located in Papua. Currently, Papua has the highest HIV/AIDS infection rate in the country, 15 times higher than the national average and the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence outside of Africa. Out of the 2.5 million people in Papua, over half are Indigenous Papuans of Melanesian descent and they account for almost 75% of HIV/AIDS cases, doubling the rate of non-ethnic Papuan descent. The plight of indigenous Papuans is under documented with very few articles and images depicting the issue accurately and thoroughly. Current intervention efforts are insufficient and unsuccessful in helping prevent the spread of HIV among indigenous Papuans and providing relief and care to those already infected.

The rampant spread of HIV/AIDS epidemic among indigenous Papuans has been perpetuated and sustained by economic inequalities. Indigenous Papuans are also deprived of the essential awareness to HIV/AIDS and the knowledge to prevent infection. Those who are suspected of having HIV virus have restricted access to get immediate testing and indigenous Papuans already living with HIV/AIDS or ODHA are lacking sufficient care and counseling. Lastly, deep-rooted stigmas against ODHA sustain a lower quality life without respect or dignity that disenfranchised their personal well-being.

Awareness, prevention, and treatment and care are the cornerstones of effective responses to HIV/AIDS. These essentials must be guaranteed to indigenous Papuans to contain the spread of HIV/AIDS and help ensure a better chance of survival, instill a sense of hope and provide a better quality of life to ODHA, and assist on the longevity of indigenous Papuans population.

Sumber; http://andritambunan.photoshelter.com/