HIV homes in RI likely to slide into poverty: Study
A recent study conducted in seven provinces says that the socioeconomic costs of HIV are so high that Indonesian households with an HIV-positive person are likely to live in poverty.
The survey results were announced Monday in Jakarta by the Central Statistics Agency (BPS),
the National Network of People Living with HIV and several UN agencies, such as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and UNAIDS.
BPS official Teguh Pramono said the study was conducted between 2007 and 2009 and surveyed 1,019 households with at least one HIV-positive person in seven provinces: Jakarta, Bali, Papua, West Java, East Java, West Nusa Tenggara and East Nusa Tenggara.
The provinces represented “statistical variations” on HIV infections and included the provinces with the nation’s highest and lowest HIV-infection rate, he said.
“The potential monthly income loss due to HIV is around Rp 250,000 [US$28] for a household that receives an average monthly income of Rp 700,000,” Teguh said, adding that a majority of the households surveyed received less than Rp 1 million per month.
Teguh added that households with HIV-positive people had to spend an average of Rp 100,000 more a month than “non-HIV households” on medicine.
Although anti-retroviral HIV treatment is free in the country, most HIV-positive people must pay for medicine for HIV-related opportunistic infections, he said.
Households with a HIV-positive person spent more than three times than non-HIV households on medicine and medical bills, reducing resources that could be spent on other needs, such as education and food, according to the report.
This will affect the nation’s efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, the report said.
Households with a HIV-positive person spend 36 percent less on education compared to other households, resulting in higher school dropout rates, particularly for girls, who left school at a rate twice that of boys, the report said.
Kemal Siregar of the National AIDS Commission said HIV-positive individuals had to deal with health problems and also social and economic stress.
“A large number face discrimination in school or in the workplace, with many dropping out of school or sliding into unemployment due to the stigma imposed on them by society,” Kemal said.
The report said that unemployment was higher and labor force participation rate lower in HIV-poitive households.
More than 72.7 percent of the HIV-positive people surveyed said they were unpaid workers or volunteers.
Almost 16 percent of HIV-positive men and 19 percent of women left their jobs because they felt incapable of working, the report said.
Kemal said the study would be useful for the government to mitigate the impact of HIV at the individual and household levels in the country.
UNAIDS Country Coordinator Nancy Fee said the study highlighted the importance of social and financial support programs for HIV-positive people in Indonesia and that there was an urgent need to expand existing impact mitigation programs.
“We need to express our solidarity and practical support to ease the burden of HIV on individuals and families,” she said. (tsy)
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