Against All Odds: HIV/AIDS Epidemic Among Indigenous Papuans
A field worker from Yukemdi, a local NGO in Wamena, educates the public on Sexual Transmitted Diseases (STD) and HIV/AIDS at a local market using the local dialects.
Awareness of HIV/AIDS is very low among indigenous Papuans because educational materials remains inadequate and information is delivered inefficiently. For example, billboards related to HIV/AIDS in Jayapura rarely mention condoms as an effective way to reduce or prevent infection nor do they provide locations to the nearest Voluntary Counseling and Testing center (VCT). Therefore, despite their strategic placement in crowded markets and busy streets, billboards are not as effective in promoting awareness and providing reliable information. Other HIV/AIDS educational materials used in Papua such as pamphlets are often ineffective in reaching indigenous Papuans because their content frequently uses images of non-Papuans, which Papuans do not relate to. Furthermore, many indigenous Papuans have limited literacy and these booklets mainly use Bahasa Indonesia rather than the local dialects.
Better methods of education and more effective ways of delivering information on HIV/AIDS need to be implemented in Papua in order to effectively raise awareness and provide accurate and reliable information. This is an essential step to educate and empower the public to make informed decisions and reduce their vulnerability to HIV infection.