HIV and AIDS
Bali, with its cultural pageantry, friendly people and diverse activities and beautiful climate, is recognised as one the world’s most popular holiday destinations. However, Bali’s idyllic reputation and economic development hides a stunning statistic: since records started being kept in 1987 over 26,000 individuals have been diagnosed with AIDS. Not only are women and children disproportionately impacted, both groups now have the fastest growth rates of new HIV cases on Bali.
Whilst AIDS is largely preventable through education and prevention, the major method of transmission of HIV in Bali is through unsafe sex. Rough data estimates that there are some 3,000 commercial sex workers in Bali, 20 percent of whom are HIV positive.
As such the majority of People Living With AIDS (PLWA) are female sex workers and their male clients, leading sadly to a generalised epidemic with increasing numbers of housewives and their children being affected. Recent projections show that approximately 60,000 women on Bali are potentially vulnerable to HIV infection through the unsafe behaviours of their male partners. Realising the adverse social and economic impact that this has had on affected families, Rotary Club Bali Nusa Dua has worked at the forefront in the fight against HIV since 2007, spearheaded by our charter member and well-known anti-AIDS activist Ibu Ari Murti who developed a very effective multifaceted, holistic approach to address the problem.
We started with the training of Midwives on HIV prevention, particularly from mother to child. The pilot project of 20 midwives was so successful and well received that it was expanded to more than 200 midwives across Bali and after receiving full recognition by the Department of Health, was adopted nationwide.
Other educational efforts focused on the training of counsellors to work in non-government organizations, clinics, and hospitals around the island and provide seminars to high schools and universities supported by videos in Bahasa Indonesia that have been broadcast on regional television.
Direct support to the families of PLWA was provided via nutritional supplements, and breast milk substitutes were provided to economically disadvantaged families to lessen the incidence of infection to infants. Families with older children with AIDS (or a parent with AIDS and unable to work) are provided with financial assistance to ensure that the children have access to schooling.
Scholarships for HIV/AIDS Affected Students
Since 2015, the Rotary Club Bali Nusa Dua (RCBND) support program has included direct support to families with infected children, by making a significant cash contribution to each student towards the cost of educational materials.
Until 2021 this engagement was shared with a Dutch Rotary Club Zwartewatersteden (RCZ), who provided funding support for 25 students, while RCBND provided the same level of support for 12 children. While RCZ has been unable to continue, the German Rotary Club Norden, has agreed to take over this role for at least the next 3 years.
Since 2007 RCBND’s ongoing financial support for Clinic Amerta has allowed the clinic to provide free, confidential testing and medical services to patients with HIV and other suspected diseases. The clinic depends and survives on donations. Rotary Club Bali Nusa Dua is currently one of Clinic Amerta’s largest financial supporters.
The HIV / AIDS epidemic is continuing to affect those already living with extremely difficult predicaments and, increasingly striking many in their most productive years.
Your support, in any amount, to help Clinic Amerta is appreciated.