Every year every December 1, people around the world commemorate AIDS Day. At the same time, various campaigns as well as information dissemination and treatment of HIV / AIDS continue to be carried out by various groups. Including by the Ministry of Health.
Even so, the Ministry of Health stated that there were still many discrimination and stigma against people with HIV / AIDS (PLWHA). Although it did not specify the number of reports regarding discrimination or stigma against people with HIV / AIDS, the Director of Prevention and Control of Communicable Diseases (P2PML) of the Ministry of Health, Wiendra Waworuntu admitted that some people were not yet open and accepting.
“Many people do not know how to spread and transmit HIV. Knowledge of HIV is minimal, it is also very determined from the level of education, economy, and the surrounding environment,” said Wiendra while talking at the KBR Public Space Program on Wednesday (28/11 / 2018).
He revealed that the stigma and discrimination often received by people living with HIV made them feel alienated. This is also what he thinks causes some people with HIV / AIDS to be embarrassed to go to health services.
“The effect is that if the patient does not want to go to health services, they will break up the medication. If they have dropped out of medicine, they will definitely have bad prognosis and pronosa,” Wiendra explained.
Because of some of these impacts, the Ministry of Health seeks to reduce stigma and discrimination through the “I am Brave, I am Healthy” campaign. This movement is also part of a series of commemoration of World AIDS Day in early December.
In the campaign, the Ministry of Health will provide a series of seminars as well as education about HIV disease to the community. The promotion of this campaign, according to Wiendra, departed from the lack of public understanding about HIV / AIDS. For example, about transmission. This lack of knowledge about HIV / AIDS also opened the gap for discriminatory treatment to PLWHA.
In the KBR Public Space program, Wiendra explained that this disease can only be transmitted through sex, blood exchange, and pregnant women with HIV / AIDS to their children. Symptoms of HIV are not specific, can fever or weight loss. So to make sure, the only way he said, by doing an HIV / AIDS test.
In addition, he said, to reduce the rate of HIV / AIDS and its spread, the government also made a free policy for every drug given to people living with HIV in each health service center. But he added, the free policy only applies to drug administration while the health services related to HIV / AIDS are still being charged.
“So the drug will be borne by BPJS, even for people with HIV who have not registered with the BPJS, they can also get the medicine for free too.”
According to Wiendra, the success of suppressing HIV / AIDS is not only the responsibility of the government but also the role of every citizen. That is because he also encouraged the community to actively check the condition of HIV / AIDS status to health services. Although he said, this is indeed still rarely done because there is still an assumption of ’tilting’ when doing the checking. In fact, Wiendra stressed, the steps to examine HIV / AIDS status are important.
“Because there are many who are ashamed and taboo about checking HIV themselves, even though it is very important to know what we are doing. That’s why our campaign tagline: I am Brave I am Healthy, so many people are encouraged to check their HIV status,” Wiendra explained.