To mark the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, and the 1st anniversary of The Wisdom of Whores, I offer a post stolen wholesale from Michael Buehler. ‘It is actually not HIV that kills us but the hospital administration’, says an Indonesian woman with HIV. Oh, and corruption in the Ministry of Health, complacent self-satisfaction in the NGOs, and a disturbing sense of entitlement among medics.
Michael tells the story more patiently than I’d be able to. As several people pointed out, including Dharmawan, Willem and Catherine. Read. Really, please read. What Michael doesn’t say is that Indonesia has pocketed more than US$ 400 million in foreign taxpayers’ money to deal with HIV so far, and has another US$ 130 million from the Global Fund on the table. And it can’t even assure treatment in the big, well-funded, teaching hospitals designated to provide ARVs. No need to point out that treatment is the EASY bit, the big, politically popular success story. People need it because we fail so badly on the cheaper, easier prevention services, like making sure that kids who inject heroin in Indonesia don’t also inject HIV. If it doesn’t make you angry that we’re using your money so badly (if you’re a European or North American tax payer) or serving your needs so poorly (kalau seandenya anda orang Indonesia, apalagi orang Indonesia yang terinfeksi HIV…), this blog’s no place for you.