Fri, 27 Jun 2003

HIV/AIDS campaign held for inmates

BOGOR: The recent finding that 20 inmates of Paledang Penitentiary in Bogor are HIV-positive prompted AIDS activists to hold an HIV/AIDS campaign on Thursday for the 1,000-plus inmates.

The campaign was held by three organizations, Stop AIDS Action (ASA), the Indonesian Humanitarian Committee and the Spiritia Foundation.

Anton Dwi, who is serving a 17-year sentence, said he and other inmates found the campaign to be useful, as they learned much about HIV/AIDS, including how the virus is spread.

He said that the inmates had been restless and suspicious of each other after they found out that some inmates had been diagnosed as HIV-positive. They had also been afraid that they could easily contract the virus from physical contact, especially because many of them suffered from skin diseases and had to sleep together in a stuffy cell.

Hertin Setyowati from Spiritia Foundation said that the campaign was also aimed at supporting inmates with HIV. -- JP