Jayapura, Jubi – Waren Puskesmas Manager, Waropen district, Papua province, stated that people in the area are still afraid to check HIV at VCT clinics in puskesmas (neighborhood health centre), although socialization on HIV transmission and prevention is routinely carried out. They worry about being ostracized by families and communities if the results test turn out positive.
“Actually there is awareness of Waropen residents to come to the VCT clinic, but when they want to check of their HIV status they become reluctant,” said Tiasito Windagdu, VCT Clinical Laboratory Coordinator of Waren Health Center, when confirmed from Jayapura on Monday (October 30).
He said the reluctance of HIV-related self-examination was motivated by the assumption of getting negative stigma from the family.
“Stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in Waropen is still high, they are afraid not to have HIV and then be alienated by their families,” he said.
In fact, even if they are HIV positive, still many people would think that the disease suffered due to ‘spirits disturbance’ or Waropen residents call it Suanggi.
“If the result of the examination at the clinic is HIV shows positive, some would hesitate to seek treatment because of the ‘suanggi’ belief” said Tiasito.
He also added that VCT clinic at Puskesmas Waren actively socialize the ways of prevention of HIV transmission despite the limited funds. (tabloidjubi.com/Zely)