The Kirby Institute has launched a new initiative to increase HIV testing and uptake of treatment in Indonesia, where government efforts to roll-out universal access to antiretroviral therapy have been hampered by low numbers of people presenting for HIV testing.
At present there are more than 400,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Indonesia. In recent years, the primary driver of this HIV epidemic has shifted from injecting drug use to sexual transmission. The majority of HIV infections in Indonesia are concentrated in five key affected population groups: gay men, men who have sex with men and male sex workers; transgender or waria; female sex workers and their clients, and people who inject drugs.
“We continue to work toward the holy grail of a vaccine and cure, but treatment is still the most important strategy we’ve got to reduce HIV infection and in order to get people on treatment, we’ve got to get them testing,” said Professor David Cooper, Director of the Kirby Institute at UNSW Australia. “This Test and Treat Indonesia study will evaluate a range of possible interventions to encourage early diagnosis and immediate treatment with antiretroviral therapy among key affected populations Indonesia.”
Another important aim of the study is to build research capacity in Indonesia through training and the active participation of local researchers.
The project is funded by DFAT Australia for $2 million over four years. It is a collaboration between the World Health Organization, the Kirby Institute, the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia and The National AIDS Program and three leading Indonesian Universities.
The study was announced at a special reception on 22 July 2014 during the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne.