Indonesia Study Group
Date & time
Indonesia has recorded a worsening HIV epidemic among key populations (those most at risk of being affected by the virus), in particular among young men who have sex with men (MSM) in large metropolitan centers for migration and employment (Jakarta and Bali). Despite increased access to HIV testing and medication through local clinics, a recent Lancet study suggests that approximately 24 per cent of people who test positive do not continue on to a consistent treatment regime. Given that HIV is a virus that requires ongoing medication and (in some cases) complex medical care, this represents a major cause for concern.
Based on an ANU Indonesia Project grant (2018), this research investigated young men’s access to HIV care in Jakarta. This presentation presents the results of focus group discussions and interviews with outreach workers (peers who counsel and assist at-risk individuals), healthcare workers who work at a number of Jakarta healthcare clinics (Puskesmas) and at-risk young men in the capital. It found that recent legal regulations and political rhetoric related to gender and sexual norms are major barriers to addressing Indonesia’s HIV epidemic. Despite this, a strong commitment from a skilled cohort of medical professionals at the local level, combined with investment in the healthcare system (especially through Universal Health Care system, BPJS), has provided the infrastructure for a comprehensive and inclusive response.
Dr Benjamin Hegarty is a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow in Anthropology and Development Studies at the University of Melbourne. His expertise combines ethnographic and historical methods with critical theory to investigate how gender and sexuality are implicated in transnational processes. His research in Indonesia received the Australian Anthropological Society PhD Thesis Prize, and appears in Medicine Anthropology Theory, The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology and the Journal of the History of Sexuality. His collaborative research efforts with Indonesian critical public health scholars and physicians in the area of HIV/AIDS have been funded by a number of competitive grants.