PWUD project Indonesia

Photograph by Adriaan Backer

We believe that the end of AIDS is possible if there is more focus on key populations. Our project in Indonesia addresses barriers faced by the PWUD community related to their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Driven by community champions, we work to realize meaningful involvement of PWUD organisations in the development of government regulations; to regain their human rights; and increased access to health insurance and health services.

One of the fastest growing HIV infection rates of Asia

After more than two decades of epidemic spread, the AIDS epidemic in Indonesia is still young, but alarming. Despite the fact that the prevalence at general population is still low, Indonesia has one of the fastest growing infection rates in Asia because it lags behind in some essential aspects of prevention, such as low use of condoms and insufficient utilisation of services, and the weak capability in policy implementation. The 2015 Integrated Biological-Behavioral Surveillance (IBBS) result shows the highest HIV prevalence in the group of injecting drug users, but prevalence has decreased as compared with a prevalence of 52.4% in 2007 and 28.78% in 2015.

PWUD are “considered as illegal”. Mere possession of a needle or syringe can be construed as a sign of “illicit drug use”. Attending services of Methadone Maintenance Therapy (MMT) puts key populations at risk of arrest and abuse by the police, although the law protects them from criminalisation. Pressure from conservative religious groups materialised in banning public awareness on HIV prevention and the war on narcotics (and PWUD). In addition to stigma, cash-strapped NGOs and moralising politicians are stopping Indonesia from taking much needed action to prevent an epidemic.

PWUD claim a right-based HIV and SRHR response

Bridging the Gaps works with a Theory of Change approach. A Theory of Change is a description of a list of events that is expected to lead to a particular desired outcome. It is a visualization how change is believed to happen. In 2016, representatives of the PWUD community developed a specified Theory of Change that consists of short-,medium, and long term outcomes. The Theory of Change describes how we plan to realize meaningful involvement of PWUD organisations in the development of government regulations; to regain their human rights; and increased access to health insurance and health services.

Through innovation and by building on previous work, we will strengthen civil society organisations’ ability to:

1. We facilitate community development

  • Providing paralegal services to make sure people are aware of their rights after arrest and to guarantee access to their legal rights in Indonesia;
  • Building the capacity of civil society on service delivery.

2. We advocate for the continuously strengthening of services and upholding human rights

  • Conducting research into the treatment center-system of Indonesia;
  • Conducting a follow-up study around crystal-meth use in Indonesia.

3. Deliver inclusive, rights-based and gender sensitive services

  • Developing new services for young PWUD aimed at overdose prevention and preventing switching from smoking to injecting drugs;
  • Piloting a project directed at crystal-meth users based on previously conducted research on sexual risk behaviours.

Our partners

Our project builds on the strong advocacy work of our partners PKNI, Atma Jaya, Karisma and LBH Masyarakat to put PWUD’s health issues on the political agenda and get them included in national plans. Their work is internationally supported by Mainline and INPUD.

Our other projects in Indonesia

Bridging the Gaps also has a LGBT people and a sex workers project in Indonesia.