13 November 2010

HIV and Indonesia: Personal Thoughts...

In light of the previous post, I am feeling a little in the ranting and railing mood.

HIV / AIDS is a scourge. It is the scourge of our time. We must dedicate all the resources that are required to ensure that we defeat. The decisions that need to be made are human ones and not political or business ones. The idealist in me believes that what I seek is possible. Yet, I am a realist and that reality is that politics and business will always play a role in how we as a community craft decisions for the greater good. So, it is in that frame that I would advocate increased resources being directed to education.

The simple truth is that if we cannot find a vaccine or a cure in the immediate term for whatever reason, then we have a responsibility to educate our youth, and anyone else who needs it, to ensure that they have the knowledge necessary to protect themselves from infection.

In the Indonesian case, this means that some hard decisions need to be made. Sex education and personal development education must become an integral part of the Indonesian curriculum. This is the case, even if it means standing up and staring down those who oppose such moves. A cold hard reality is that educators and government bureaucracy can no longer bury their collective heads in the sand and pretend that our children are going to abstain from sexual activity, including high-risk sexual activity. Forewarned is forearmed.

This educational process will need to start with educators themselves. Educators need to have the requisite content knowledge if they are going to successfully transfer that knowledge to students. Once there is a "core" of trained professionals, then these people can go out and educate others and our children. The process has to be uniform.

It is my sincere hope that I am uniformed on this matter. It is also my sincere hope that UNAIDS and the National AIDS Commission of Indonesia in association with a wide array of funders already have these programs in place and running.

There is a definite need for leadership on this front. Hopefully, the government of Indonesia can step up and take the lead.

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