Antara, by Fardah, Saturday, August 29, 2009 14:53 WIB
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The relatives of Budi (not the real name) were shocked and felt despair when the doctor said that the 33-year old man was infected with HIV virus.
His wife cried and almost could not believe that her quiet and loving husband has contracted the deadly disease.
"My life is over, especially if he infects me and our one-year old son with HIV virus," 20-year old Juminten (not the real name), said while weeping.
Budi and Juminten got married two years ago and led a happy family life particularly after the birth of their son a year ago. He is a very shy man and never dated a girl until his mother arranged his marriage with Juminten, a cousin of him.
"Have you ever taken `narkoba` (illicit drugs)?" a doctor asked Budi, who was rushed to an emergency unit of Cipto Mangunkusumo Public Hospital in Jakarta sometime ago.
"Yes, but it was seven years ago," he whispered while lying helplessly. "Yes, I used injection needles," he admitted. That`s how he got the HIV virus, which later caused him to be infected with tuberculosis virus.
Miraculously, his wife and son were declared negative of HIV virus after conducting several tests.
Budi had used illicit drugs to temporarily forget the poverty that he and his widow mother and brothers have to face. He and his little brother, who died three years ago, used to share injection needles when taking the illicit drugs.
In Indonesia, at least 70 percent of HIV/AIDS carriers have the Opportunistic Infection (OI) or disease affected by the tuberculosis (TB) virus.
"The TB virus spreads to HIV carriers very quickly because carriers have a very low immunity to the virus," head of the North Sumatra Health Office`s Contagious Disease Eradication Section, Sukarni, in Medan recently.
Therefore, several hospitals in Indonesia serve joint HIV and TB medical treatment, she said.
The Indonesian government recently received a funding commitment worth Rp240 billion from Global Fund for HIV/AIDS-related TB treatment.
The agreement on the financial aid was signed by Global Fund Executive Director Mitchell Kazatchkine and Disease Control and Environmental Health Director General Tjandra Y Aditama on the sidelines of the Ninth International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP), which was held in Nusa Dua, Bali, August 9-13, 2009.
The Indonesian government has so far been able to provide only 41 percent of the Rp1.5 trillion in funds needed to deal with HIV/AIDS (Human Immuno Deficiency Virus/Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome), in 2008 with allocations in its national or regional budgets.
The office of the state minister for national development planning said in a statement early this year, that 40 percent of the funds meanwhile had been covered by foreign donors.
It said the other 19 percent was not met as funds supply for it was limited.
To overcome the problem, a Forum of HIV/AIDS Control Planning and Budgeting has therefore been set up, the office`s director of health and public nutrition, Dr Arum Atmawikarta, said.
She said the HIV epidemic in the country had already reached a concentrated degree with the number of HIV cases kept increasing every year. Most of the people infected with HIV-AIDS are members of the younger generation.
The rise in the number of AIDS cases made the country one of the countries in the Southeast Asian region with the fastest rate of epidemic, as stated by UNAIDS.
One of the main factors which caused the rapid rise is the lack of knowledge of the public on the spread and prevention of HIV/AIDS.
Treatment with retro viral (ARV) drugs is being enjoyed just by 20,000 people with HIV/AIDS in Indonesia although according to a WHO estimate the country has 270,000 sufferers
The main reason for the gap is the limited ARV stock available in the country, Prof.Dr. Zubairi Djoerban, manager of the HIV/AIDS Integrated Service Unit of Dr.Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital in Jakarta, last May.
Speaking in a seminar on the handling of HIV/AIDS cases held recently, ahead of the Ninth International Congress on Aids in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP), he said the number of people with the deadly virus in Indonesia was rising continuously.
Citing Health Ministry figures, he said in 2002 there were 108,000 cases in Indonesia but the number rose to 193,000 in 2006, while this year it was estimated to reach 270,000.
Compared with Vietnam, the figures in Indonesia were still low but they were high compared with Iran and Pakistan, Djoerban said.
Meanwhile, Coordinating Minister for People`s Welfare Aburizal Bakrie warned recently that if every nation failed to respond to HIV/AIDS issues properly, the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals reducing poverty, hunger, maternal and infant mortality would slow down.
"Unresolved, these challenges will slow down the overall progress of development to which we all aspire," he said.
Home Affairs Minister Mardiyanto recently also expressed his concerned and ordered provincial governors, district heads and city mayors in the country to immediately formulate bylaws to prevent and overcome HIV/AIDS.
He said HIV/AIDS had spread in 214 districts in 32 of 33 provinces in the country.
"I asked all governors, mayors and district heads to formulate a bylaw for the prevention and overcoming the spread of HIV/AIDS," he said.
He said that although progress had been made in the prevention and eradication of HIV/AIDS in region the effort was not yet maximal.
He also called on regional administrations to allocate more funds to support the important effort.
Indonesia with around 240 million population, is already done much to keep the disease under check but it is still not enough.
In Jakarta alone, there were more than one hundred new cases every month with 30-35 percent of the cases involving intravenous narcotic drug users.
Around 3,052 people were infected with HIV/AIDS virus in Jakarta, up to mid 2009, Hakim M Siregar, head of the Central Jakarta`s Public health unit, said recently.
"The number of the HIV/ AIDS sufferers is just a tip of ice berg, because the actual number is actually much higher," he said.
A total of 3,492 people died of HIV/AIDS in Indonesia in the January 1987 - March 31, 2009 period.
Edi Komala, the HIV/AIDS project manager of the Indonesian Red Cross` East Jakarta branch, said recently, that 596 of the AIDS patients died in East Java, 576 in West Java and 425 in Jakarta.
He said the patients had died because their immunity had weakened while they suffered from complications of other diseases such as TBC.
Globally, some 5,500 people die from AIDS everyday, according to the International HIV/AIDS Alliance.