Against All Odds: HIV/AIDS Epidemic Among Indigenous Papuans
Dewi's body is cradled by her uncle as a pastor prayed and blessed her lifeless body.
Dewi (20) is a young wife who died from AIDS after contracting HIV from her husband. Dewi kept her status a secret from her family. Before her death, Dewi's family used a traditional healing method of cutting her body to let "dirty" blood out in order to cure her illness. Outside, men cut wood into small pieces and stacked them to prepare for her cremation. A local NGO called Caring Hands donated money for cremation, since Dewi's family was too poor to have her buried. A pastor led the ceremony and prayed before Dewi's body was place on top of the funeral pyre.
It is common for husbands to keep their status from their wives or vice versa due to shame and fear of discrimination or punishment. Even after testing positive for HIV, many still disregard using condoms to avoid drawing suspicion. As a result, HIV is often passed on to their spouse.