Indonesia's Drug Fight Pushing Prison AIDS Explosion
August 4, 2009
Indonesia's war on drugs has overwhelmed its prisons, concentrating injecting drug users (IDUs) in a setting where drug use is rife and blood-borne diseases can be spread easily, advocates say. Of Indonesia's nearly 12,000 prisoners, almost 6,900 were arrested for drug crimes.
"People are selling drugs, buying drugs, bringing drugs, abusing drugs, whatever, are being locked in the same place in the same situation, no treatment, no nothing," said Baby Jim Aditya, who heads the non-governmental public health group Partisan.
Authorities choose the toughest options when sentencing addicts, said Ashmin Fransiska, an Atma Jaya University law professor. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is leading a push that addresses drug crimes as a security issue, and a new bill to lengthen minimum sentences will only exacerbate the problem, Fransiska said.
At the Cipinang Narcotics Prison, all prisoners are tested for HIV, and the prison provides antiretroviral drugs to infected inmates. Even there, however, Prison Chief Ibnu Chauldun believes the program's efficacy is undercut by the overwhelming number of inmates in need of rehabilitation, not incarceration.
Agence France Presse
08.03.2009; Aubrey Belford
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.