National

Health Minister embarrassed
with UN report on HIV/AIDS

Health Minister Nafsiah Mboy said that the newly published 2012 World AIDS Day Report, which revealed Indonesia’s low success in HIV prevention over the last 10 years, was embarrassing.

“It [the report] really shocked me,” she said during a workshop on HIV-sensitive social protection held by the International Labour Organization (ILO) on Wednesday.

The report by the Joint UN Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) published on Tuesday, disclosed that the rate of new HIV infectios in Indonesia increased by more than 25 percent between 2001 and 2011. The report said that HIV prevention programs for the gay community and commercial sex workers only reached less than 25 percent, which was considered low

Several other countries like Bangladesh, the Philippines, Vietnam and Sri Lanka have similarly poor records.

“We have spent million dollars of HIV/AIDS prevention programs, yet, we still have such a low success rate. I don’t know what mistakes we’ve made,” Nafsiah said.

While highlighting Indonesia’s poors achievement, the report recorded success stories from other countries.

The report showed that 25 low and middle income countries, more than half of them in Africa, had successfully reduced new HIV infection by more than 50 percent.

Disappointed with the report, Nafsiah said that the government must move forward and keep providing universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

“People must learn how to be responsible and to defend themselves against HIV by avoiding risky sexual behavior and having only safe, protected sex,” she said. (lfr)

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