Young people take initiative to give and to lead
HIV Awareness and Screening at Pasar Santa: A collaboration between CIMSA and Angsamerah
On a rainy afternoon on Saturday 5 of December, on the first weekend after the World AIDS Day 2016, members of the University of Indonesia (UI) branch of CIMSA organized an HIV awareness and screening event at Pasar Santa, a popular food hub and hangout place for young people in South Jakarta. Commemorating the World AIDS Day, activities consisted of video education on HIV and AIDS, a charity booth, educational posters, and free HIV screening in collaboration with Klinik Yayasan Angsamerah.
The CIMSA team, consisting of young medical students from UI, had been previously trained by Angsamerah on how to organize and run such an event, and Angsamerah also supervised and supported HIV screening activities at Pasar Santa. The team was completed with two experienced counsellors from Inter Medika and Kusuma Buana Foundation, who counselled everyone undergoing screening before and after the blood test, which was done using rapid tests.
Over the course of a few hours, 29 young people were willing and brave enough to participate in the screening. Luckily, no HIV cases had been detected among participants.
Some might argue that HIV screening in a public environment targeting young people of the general population is not the most effective way to increase case findings in a country where the overwhelming majority of HIV cases are concentrated in an number of key affected population groups (men who have sex with men, sex workers, injecting drug users, and transgender people). Nevertheless it is hoped that events like this can increase awareness about the immunodeficiency disease, reduce associated stigma and discrimination, and encourage health seeking behavior by Indonesian youth and regular HIV testing as part of a healthy lifestyle.