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By Arya and Yemris Fointuna for the Jakarta Post
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Participants from the National AIDS Commission (KPA) in West Java and HIV/AIDS activists have been able to formulate eight important points to prevent and mitigate HIV/AIDS in the Lembang Declaration.
“One of the points we are focusing on is improving access to anti-retroviral (ARV) medication, including pediatric ARV at private hospitals and community health centers, as well as at regional hospitals across the regencies and mayoralties,” Lin Iman from the Pakta organization said in West Bandung regency, West Java, at the end of the Second West Java HIV/AIDS conference.
Pakta is an NGO, the members of which are the parents of drug addicts.
Karmala Wardhani, spokesperson of Rumah Cemara, which jointly organized the conference with West Java KPA over the weekend, said of the 26 regional hospitals, only around 75 percent provided ARV medication.
“ARV medication is expected to boost the immunity of people living with HIV/AIDS so they can remain productive,” she said.
She cited ARV medication in Bandung, which can be found at the Salam and Kopo community health centers.
The participants hoped for the presence of sexual and reproductive health services, integrated with HIV/AIDS medication in Mother to Child Transmission Prevention Programs in various hospitals.
“We urge the regional administration to provide and meet the information and educational needs regarding prevention of women and children in efforts to fulfill the basic rights of humans, especially women and children,” said Lin.
West Java Family Welfare and Empowerment motivation team leader Netty Prasetyani, who also heads the Women and Child Empowerment Integrated Service Center, said HIV/AIDS cases involving women should get special attention because they were “the center of life”.
According to Netty, when a woman contracts HIV/AIDS she is plagued by numerous social issues, especially if she is a housewife.
“They are not aware of the health status of their husbands and partners and are deprived of right to reproductive health when infected,” said Netty.
The Lembang Declaration also calls for integrated access to services, from Voluntary Consulting Tests, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and Tuberculosis-HIV, which can be accessed by the general public in every regional and private hospital.
“We also look forward to comprehensive HIV/AIDS medication for prison inmates,” added Lin.
“People living with HIV/AIDS (PLWA) had also agreed to lead a healthy lifestyle, be productive and independent, as well as play an active role in efforts to prevent and mitigate HIV/AIDS,” added Lin.
“That’s why we have involved PLWA in the planning, evaluation and development of regional policies regarding HIV/AIDS,” she added.
In Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), the NTT KPA has changed the HIV/AIDS prevention and mitigation strategy by focusing mainly on protecting women and children. The approach was taken following the latest data that showed women and children ranked highest in HIV/AIDS infections.
NTT KPA program manager Gusti Brewon said in press statement his commission had so far focused more on the use of condoms among sex workers and in red-light districts.
“Sex clients receive less attention, despite the fact that they can easily infect women and children,” said Brewon.
According to him, the change in advocacy pattern involves special counseling at brothels and sex clients so they can get complete information on the risks of free sex and HIV/AIDS, as well as other STDs.
Brewon added the latest data showed that of the 1,491 HIV/AIDS cases, 45 of them involved children under the age of five.