Against All Odds: HIV/AIDS Epidemic Among Indigenous Papuans
Ophira (18) has been HIV-positive for one year. She is recovering from her injuries after getting drunk and falling off her motorcycle. Despite her condition, Ophira does not take her ARV medication regularly and she rarely comes to the clinic for her check-up because she is afraid others would find out about her status.
ODHA (Orang Dengan HIV/AIDS) is the term often used to label a person living with HIV/AIDS. This label has a negative connotation since HIV/AIDS is frequently associated with dishonor and death and it is often viewed as a curse or retribution for sins or deviant behaviors such as alcoholism, promiscuity, and extra marital sex. Thus, shame, guilt and death go hand in hand with how Papuans see HIV/AIDS. Consequently, fear of abuse, persecution, and ostracism from family members and the wider community has made secrecy the primary concern for ODHA rather than seeking treatment.