Hundreds of patients wait for their names to be called before getting medical treatment at the main public health clinic in Wamena.
Currently, Wamena has 1,894-recorded HIV/AIDS cases and the number continues to rise. The main public health clinic in Wamena is busy, with over 200 clients a day seeking various forms of treatment. People who want to take an HIV test must line up in the morning and register with everyone else. The cramped HIV testing and counseling room is packed with several clients at a time, leaving no room for privacy and confidentiality. Counselors are unable to spend much time educating clients and addressing their questions. The inadequate lab that is responsible for HIV tests must also conduct tests for various other illnesses including malaria, tuberculosis, and other illnesses. Thus, the overwhelming burden on both staff and facility reduces the quality of care. Consequently, despite an increasing desire from the public to get tested for HIV, the clinic limits testing to only 10 clients per day. The director of the clinic argues that the cap is necessary to maintain quality control and ensure accurate test results. Nevertheless, as many as 25 clients visit the clinic to get tested for HIV every day. Turned away, many clients are discouraged and do not return.