World AIDS Day: Most Indonesians Unaware of HIV Transmission

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - A hematologist Prof. Zubairi Djoerban SpPD, KHOM said that negative stigma about people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH) emerged among Indonesian communities is because most of them did not understand the transmission of the disease.

    He pointed out an example of when three children with HIV/AIDS were rejected from going to several schools in Samosir, North Sumatra. “This wrong attitude is not because the people are bad, not because of the teacher or the principal. It is because they do not understand how HIV is transmitted,” Zubairi said Wednesday.

    In October, three children living with HIV/AIDS were reportedly rejected in a number of schools in Samosir Regency, because the parents of other students were worried that their children would get infected.

    In fact, the HIV transmission could only occur in three ways, namely sexual intercourse, sharing needles or syringes used to prepare drugs for injection with someone who has HIV, and genetically passed down from mother to child during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding.

    Beyond that, as the public assumes that the HIV virus can be transmitted through touching, sneezes, or using the same item, is not true.

    Based on Basic Health Research data in 2018, only 1 percent of the people have a complete knowledge of HIV in general, the transmission and prevention, and the way to check it.

    About 31.8 percent knew about it partially, 65.2 percent only received incomplete information about HIV, 2 percent did not have knowledge about HIV/AIDS at all.

    The low-level understanding of the people about HIV/AIDS creates discrimination towards PLWH in the general public.