Indonesia has a large amount of HIV/AIDS cases and has the fastest growing epidemic in Asia. Based on research from January until September 2014, the number of people with HIV in Indonesia is 150.296 and the total number of people with AIDS is 55.799. Even with this large number of people infected with HIV/AIDS, the people in Indonesia have only little knowledge of the disease and this leads to discrimination towards people affected with HIV/AIDS.
The most difficult form of discrimination felt by people with HIV/AIDS is rejection by society, which makes it even harder for them to survive living with HIV/AIDS, because they need support from people around them, just like everybody else. People with HIV/AIDS are ordinary human beings who deserve to live a normal life.
To encounter the discrimination towards people with HIV/AIDS, Rumah Cemara -an NGO based in Bandung- created some campaigns to try and reduce the discrimination and to change people’s perception toward people with HIV/AIDS. On December 1st 2014, in commemoration of World AIDS Day, Rumah Cemara held a series of World AIDS Day events with the theme "ART FOR AIDS" together with the Global Fund.
This activity was organized in the form of a series of events during one day of art market ITB, on November 23rd 2014. For "ART FOR AIDS" artists and sportsmen got involved in events such as boxing against stigma, art performance and VCT. The aim of these activities are to provide information to the general public with a fun approach, to remind people that HIV is among us and to invite everybody to participate in HIV prevention by providing an opportunity for everyone to do a HIV test (VCT) and to remove the stigma of and discrimination against people living with HIV.
As one of the Asian countries with the largest number of people with HIV/AIDS, it will be great if Indonesian people get to learn more about HIV/AIDS. Knowing more about it will lead to prevent new HIV infections together and to respect people with HIV/AIDS. Together we can do it!
By Dila Amalia, Jakarta