Government Launches Business-Focused HIV Campaign

28 November, 2011 | Source: The Jakarta Post

The government says it will raise awareness in business sectors with employees in high-risk groups as the number of people with HIV in the productive age bracket rises.

Nafsiah Mboi, the secretary-general of the National AIDS Prevention Commission, said the commission would focus raising awareness in sectors with employees at high risk of contracting HIV, such as the mining, plantation, construction and transportation sectors.

“We will cooperate with the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry. The campaign will be integrated with the safety and health in the workplace campaign. We will also cooperate with [other] relevant ministries, such as the Transportation Ministry, because we usually find prostitution areas in ports, terminals and stations,” she said after an event commemorating World AIDS Day at the National Monument in Central Jakarta.

Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar said that he wanted businesses to work together to raise awareness and stop stigmatizing people infected with HIV since 85 percent of those with HIV were in their productive age.

“We need to improve the awareness and commitment from relevant stakeholders to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS because it has potential to disrupt the profitability and productivity of human resources in Indonesia,” he said.

Vice President Boediono said that Indonesia’s fight against HIV was not on target to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, despite good statistics, such as a low prevalence rate and declining mortality rates.

“We need to improve the health service network for people with HIV/AIDS, involve the society in HIV/AIDS prevention, improve coordination for relevant stakeholders, improve information systems and mobilize funds to better handle HIV/AIDS,” Boediono said.

According to the Health Ministry, the number of HIV cases reported in Indonesia increased from 2,639 in 2005 to 4,158 cases in 2010.

As the number of HIV cases continues to rise, the number of women infected by the virus is also increasing.

The Health Ministry said that 3,525 Indonesian women had HIV as of December 2009, including 1,970 housewives and 604 sex workers.

More than 25 percent of those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in Indonesia in 2009 were women, up dramatically from 2.5 percent in 1999.

Data from the Health Ministry also showed that more than 3 million Indonesian men, 60 percent of whom were married, regularly frequented prostitutes.

Men who visit prostitutes and their spouses have experienced the fastest growth in HIV/AIDS infections as husbands and wives rarely use condoms during intercourse.

Only 11.4 percent of people aged between 15 and 24 had knowledge of HIV/AIDS, Nafsiah said.

“We need to educate the youth so that we can stop the infection of HIV/AIDS for the future generation,” she said.

 

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