Lawmakers in the Papua province of Indonesia support upcoming legislation that requires “sexually aggressive” HIV/AIDS patients to be implanted with microchips in order to identify, track and ultimately punish those who deliberately infect others with up to six months in jail or a $5,000 fine.
The proposed legislation has received full support from the provincial parliament and, if it passes as expected, the legislation will be enacted next month. The government has not said how it would determine which patients should be considered “sexually aggressive.”
Human rights workers are understandably troubled. “People with AIDS aren’t animals; we have to respect their rights,” said Tahi Ganyang Butarbutar, a prominent Papuan activist. Local health workers and AIDS activists called the plan “abhorrent.”
Given that much of Indonesia’s HIV/AIDS problem stems from lack of knowledge about how HIV/AIDS is spread, health workers suggest that the best way to tackle the epidemic is through increased spending on sexual education and condom use.
Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country and has one of Asia’s fastest growing HIV rates, with up to 290,000 infections out of 235 million people, fueled mainly by intravenous drug users and prostitution. Papua, the country’s easternmost and poorest province, has been hardest hit. Its case rate of almost 61 per 100,000.