People with HIV/AIDS to empower the community against ignorance

A group living with HIV/AIDS under the flag of the Indonesian Network of HIV-Infected People (JOTHI) will carry out program to empower others living with the virus to fight discrimination and mistreatment.

Abdullah Denovan, the National Coordinator of JOTHI said that the program would include discussions and meetings involving people with HIV/AIDS, their friends, family, doctors and even lawyers.

The program, named Program Kesehatan Kita (Our Health Program), will be held in 11 provinces across the country, he added.

"Lawyers are necessary because people with HIV/AIDS need to be aware of their legal rights and what they should do if their rights are violated," Abdullah said Thursday in Central Jakarta.

There were many HIV/AIDS patients who received minimum or substandard treatment from hospitals, he said, adding that these treatments included wrong medication doses, questionable medical advice and neglect.

Dini Andriani from JOTHI said the current programs from the government and other organizations were sometimes ineffective.

"The government often talk about prevention, but what about those already infected?" Dini said.

Dini experienced questionable medical treatment in a hospital in Sukabumi, where she was moved to a psychiatric ward instead of receiving anti-retroviral drugs.

Abdullah said that from April 2009, JOTHI has recorded that 225 people who died from HIV/AIDS could have been prevented.