Preventing HIV Transmission from Mother to Child
Kaibena Kulua is a 23-year old mother who lives in Jayapura, in the Indonesian province of Papua. During her senior year of high school in 2005, a shocking news had hit her: she was tested positive for HIV. Not only was she terrified, but she also had to face stigma and discrimination from her family at home and from the neighborhood, because her right to confidentiality wasn’t respected.
Through a doctor at her local hospital, she learned about the prevention from parent to child transmission programme that aimed at preventing mothers from spreading the virus to their children, by providing anti-retroviral drugs and counseling.
Her first son was born in 2006 through caesarian section, at a hospital in Jayapura. She received cotrimoxazole, and her son tested negative for HIV. Kaibena has been taking ARV since then. She was counseled not to breastfeed and gave her baby infant formula. Although she would not know the status of her child for another 18 months, she knew that she had drastically reduced the chances of passing on the virus. Suhartono, now six years old is healthy.
She decided to be open about her status with her community who was wondering why she wouldn’t breastfeed; and once again, although she had the courage to disclose her status, she had to face stigma and discrimination.
Like some other pregnant women who have benefited from the Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission (PPTCT) programme, she receives monthly sessions with specially-trained counselors, where women receive information about pregnancy, diet, exercise, breastfeeding and HIV/AIDS from the local health center. The Jayapura People Living with HIV Support Group is providing her support so she can care for her three children, buy rice and infant formula.
She has remarried twice, and both her husbands were HIV negative.
Kaibena was one of the lucky ones. She received treatment and her second and third children, from her second and third marriages, now 4 and 1 years old who also tested negative.
Papua and West Papua (together referred to as Tanah Papua) the two easternmost provinces of Indonesia located in the western half of the Island of New Guinea continue to bear the largest burden of the AIDS epidemic in Indonesia.
Though the two provinces account for only 1.2% of the total population of Indonesia, they both account for about 20% of the population of people living with HIV (PLHIV) in Indonesia.