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Churches join fight against HIV in Indonesia’s Papua

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Jayapura, 2/12 (Jubi-IRIN) – Churches in Indonesia’s Papua province, a Christian pocket in a mainly Muslim country, are seeking to play a bigger role in the fight against HIV and AIDS in Indonesia’s most affected region, despite tensions with the government over funding, as well as philosophical differences on how to prevent the spread of HIV. 

Seven years ago, Sunarsih, 30, (who has only one name, as is customary in parts of Indonesia), sought out a church-run shelter for people living with HIV after she was diagnosed positive. “I heard that people who had HIV would die in a few years. I was ashamed and afraid,” she said, but did not know how she had contracted the virus.

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