Activists Launch Interactive HIV/AIDS Website
A website providing a directory of medical services and other resources for people living with HIV/AIDS in Indonesia was recently set up to help patients more easily access treatment and information about the disease.
“We decided to set up this portal and mobile application we call ‘AIDS Digital’ because there has not been a comprehensive service that could facilitate the AIDS-affected community or the public in general who want to know more about HIV testing, antiretroviral [therapy and drugs], reference hospitals or any other sexual transmitted disease,” Aditya Wardhana, the executive director of the Indonesia AIDS Coalition, told the Jakarta Globe on Saturday.
Aditya said even with the growth of the Internet and access to it, proper information about HIV/AIDS in Indonesia was scarce. Even those able to access the information found it difficult to ask further questions because few websites providing information about HIV/AIDS were interactive.
Users are able to submit questions about HIV/AIDS and receive responses via the website.
“Most of the time the dissemination of information about HIV/AIDS was done from mouth to mouth,” Aditya said. “This method has failed to break the negative stigma and taboo surrounding the infection itself.”
AIDS Digital, which can be accessed at www.aidsdigital.net, offers directories of health facilities providing sterile needles, methadone therapy and antiretroviral drugs, as well as the addresses of reference hospitals and nongovernmental organizations that provide counseling and advocacy for HIV/AIDS patients. It also contains comprehensive information about HIV/AIDS, prevention programs and discussions aimed at debunking myths about the disease.
The website also allows users to rate the services provided by health facilities.
“With the satisfaction survey, we hope we can push the health service in Indonesia to improve,” Aditya said.
“We hope AIDS Digital can be a private space for the AIDS-affected community so they can access the service they need without having to be burdened by shame or fear of people finding out about their status,” he added.
The number of Indonesians living with HIV was around 370,000 in 2011, according to UNAIDS.
About $69 million was spent in 2010 to prevent and treat AIDS in Indonesia, according to the National AIDS Commission, an increase of around $13 million since 2006. More than half of that comes from international sources of funding.