Bill to Implant Microchips in "Sexually Aggressive" HIV-Positive People in Indonesian Province Generates Support, Criticism
November 25, 2008
An Indonesian bill that includes a bylaw requiring "sexually aggressive" people living with HIV/AIDS to be implanted with microchips is causing debate between some lawmakers, who argue that the bill is necessary to curb the spread of the virus, and advocates, who say the bylaw is discriminatory and a violation of human rights, the AP/Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. According to John Manangsang, a lawmaker who supports the bill, authorities would be able to identify, track and punish people living with HIV/AIDS in the country's province of Papua who intentionally spread the virus with a $5,000 fine or up to six months in jail. In Papua, the HIV prevalence is 15 times the national average at 61 cases per 100,000 people (Karmini, AP/Minneapolis Star Tribune, 11/24).
Weynand Watari, a lawmaker who supports the bill, said the region's "health situation is extraordinary, so we have to take extraordinary action." According to the AP/Star Tribune, the HIV epidemic in Indonesia is one of the fastest-growing in Asia, with as many as 290,000 cases in the country's population of 235 million. HIV/AIDS in Indonesia primarily is spread through commercial sex work and injection drug use (AP/Minneapolis Star Tribune, 11/24). According to Reuters, the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS in the Papua region primarily is because of inadequate education programs, lack of condoms and partner swapping rituals that take place in the region (Reuters, 11/22). According to the Post, Manangsang said that people should not concentrate solely on the bylaw but should focus on the entirety of the bill, which requires universal HIV testing "so that preventative measures can be taken early on." He also said that "if we respect the rights of the people living with HIV/AIDS, then we must also respect the rights of healthy people" (Jakarta Post, 11/22).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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