Australia Pledges $86M To Indonesia To Fight HIV/AIDS

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The Australian government has pledged 100 million Australian dollars,or about $86 million, to improve HIV/AIDS services in Indonesia as partof a partnership between the two countries, according to a statementreleased on Friday by the Australian Embassy, the ANTARA/Jakarta Post reports.

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Accordingto the statement, Australia will work with Indonesian governmentagencies, including the Papua and West Papua provincialadministrations, to oversee and fund HIV/AIDS activities. Thegovernment plans to use the funds to support HIV prevention andtreatment efforts and reduce stigma and discrimination associated withHIV/AIDS.

The donation also will support a methadone-substitution program that has been implemented in 95 jails in Indonesia (ANTARA/Jakarta Post,8/3). The Indonesian government announced recently that it will launcha new strategy to curb drug use and the spread of HIV among inmates inthe country, the Jakarta Postreports. The correctional institutions department will focus on healthservices, including needle-exchange and methadone programs, for inmatesat 34 of the 95 prioritized jails, according to Untung Sugiyono,director-general of correctional institutions. Hendra Salim, chief ofmedication of the directorate-general of correctional institutions,said the government also will distribute condoms to help lower HIVcases among prisoners. Hendra said all new prisoners are required totake a general health exam, but an HIV test is only performed with aninmate's consent. "The health officials in prisons are given a handbookto help them recognize significant medical symptoms in order to preventepidemics in prisons," he said, adding, "If they find any inmates withsuch symptoms, they should give counseling to the convicts to encouragethem to have a HIV or other tests" (Jakarta Post, 8/3).

Thenew funds are in addition to Australia's commitment of a total of onebillion Australian dollars, or about $855 million, for HIV/AIDSprograms in the Asia-Pacific region, the ANTARA/Post reports (ANTARA/Jakarta Post,8/3). Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer last month at theThird Ministerial Meeting on HIV/AIDS in Sydney, Australia, announcedthat the government has committed an additional 400 million Australiandollars, or about $350 million, for programs to fight HIV/AIDS in theregion. The funds will be distributed by 2010 and will be added to the600 million Australian dollars, or about $528 million, committed by thecountry last year for such programs, Downer said. The money will bedistributed through the government's foreign aid agency, AusAID,for HIV/AIDS education and condom distribution programs. Efforts willfocus primarily on Papua New Guinea, which has experienced significantincreases in HIV/AIDS rates during the past 10 years (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/24).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyHIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . TheKaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service ofThe Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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