AIDS patients (who are "sexually aggressive") in Indonesia's easternmost province may get microchips
"Aggressive means actively seeking sexual intercourse."...."The draft, for example, requires everyone to take HIV/AIDS tests so that preventative measures can be taken early on"....."So please don't use microchips. We're humans, not animals."
By NINIEK KARMINI , Associated Press
November 24, 2008 - 5:19 AM
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Lawmakers in Indonesia's remote province of Papua have thrown their support behind a controversial bill requiring some HIV/AIDS patients to be implanted with microchips - part of extreme efforts to monitor the disease.
Health workers and rights activists sharply criticized the plan Monday.
But legislator John Manangsang said by implanting small computer chips beneath the skin of "sexually aggressive" patients, authorities would be in a better position to identify, track and ultimately punish those who deliberately infect others with up to six months in jail or a $5,000 fine.
The technical and practical details still need to be hammered out, he and others said, but the proposed legislation has received full backing from the provincial parliament and, if it gets a majority vote as expected, will be enacted next month.
Indonesia is the world's fourth most populous country and has one of Asia's fastest growing HIV rates, with up to 290,000 infections out of 235 million people, fueled mainly by intravenous drug users and prostitution.
But Papua, the country's easternmost and poorest province, has been hardest hit. Its case rate of almost 61 per 100,000 is 15 times the national average, according to internationally funded research, which blames lack of knowledge about sexually transmitted diseases.
"The health situation is extraordinary, so we have to take extraordinary action," said another lawmaker, Weynand Watari, who envisions radio frequency identification tags like those used to track everything from cattle to luggage.
A committee would be created to determine who should be fitted with chips and to monitor patients' behavior, but it remains unclear who would be on it and how they would carry out their work, lawmakers said Monday.
Health workers and rights activists called the plan "abhorrent."
"People with AIDS aren't animals; we have to respect their rights," said Tahi Ganyang Butarbutar, a prominent activist in Papua.
Indonesia's Papua plans to tag AIDS sufferers
Mon Nov 24, 2008
JAYAPURA, Indonesia (Reuters) - Indonesia's Papua province is set to pass a bylaw that requires some HIV/AIDS patients to be implanted with microchips in a bid to prevent them infecting others, a lawmaker said on Saturday.
Under the bylaw, which has caused uproar among human rights activists, patients who had shown "actively sexual behavior" could be implanted with a microchip to monitor their activity, lawmaker John Manangsang said.
"It's a simple technology. A signal from the microchip will track their movements and this will be received by monitoring authorities," Manangsang said.
If a patient with HIV/AIDS was found to have infected a healthy person, there would be a penalty, he said without elaborating.
The Jakarta Post newspaper on Saturday quoted Constan Karma, the head of Papua's National AIDS Commission, as saying the plan violated human rights.
The local parliament was expected to introduce the controversial legislation in Papua, which lies in Indonesia's easternmost fringe, by end of this month, Manangsang said.
The number of HIV/AIDS cases per 100,000 people in Papua is nearly 20 times the national average in Indonesia, according to a government study in 2007.
Health experts say the disease has been spreading rapidly from prostitutes to housewives in the past years.
High rates of promiscuity, rituals in some Papuan tribes where partner swapping takes place, poor education about AIDS and lack of condoms are among factors that cause the spread of the disease there.
(Writing by Karima Anjani; Editing by Ed Davies and Bill Tarrant))
Papuans with HIV/AIDS to get microchips
Angel Flassy , The Jakarta Post , Papua | Sat, 11/22/2008 9:00 AM | Headlines
Amid protests from Papuans and NGOs, the Papua provincial legislative council is set to pass a bylaw on HIV/AIDS that includes a controversial article requiring certain people living with the disease to be implanted with a microchip.
"If the draft bylaw is passed, it will violate the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS because they will be implanted with microchips," said Constan Karma, executive director of the Papua AIDS Commission (KPAD).
Councilor John Manangsang said the microchips would only be implanted in people living with HIV/AIDS who were deemed to be "aggressive".
"Aggressive means actively seeking sexual intercourse. This is one way to protect healthy people," he said.
"Do not misunderstand human rights; if we respect the rights of the people living with HIV/AIDS, then we must also respect the rights of healthy people."
He said the public should judge the bylaw draft as a whole rather than by is constituent articles.
"The draft, for example, requires everyone to take HIV/AIDS tests so that preventative measures can be taken early on," he said.
"I am a doctor, saving lives is my profession. If we want to save the only limited number of Papuans, we have to take real action because 47 percent of (the country's) HIV/AIDS (cases) are in Papua."
The 40-article-long bylaw also stipulates that the KPAD executive director should be a physician who understands epidemiology, the roles of religious institutions and audit the accreditation of NGOs working in the field of HIV/AIDS.
A liaison officer of the West Papua chapter of Save Papua, Gunawan, said he disagreed with the bylaw.
"People with HIV/AIDS do not always have sex, especially those with AIDS. They can no longer perform sexual intercourse," he said, perhaps referring to the moral obligation of people living with HIV/AIDS to not risk spreading the disease.
"And how do you measure aggressiveness?" he added.
Indonesia would be the worst human rights violator if people living with HIV/AIDS in the country were implanted with microchips, Gunawan said.
"Let's see how the Papuans respond to the bylaw. It will suffer the same fate as the pornography law," he said.
Enita T. Rouw, coordinator of the Papua branch of the Indonesian Network of People Infected with HIV, said incidences of discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS had declined.
"However, the stigmatization is still there," she said. "So please don't use microchips. We're humans, not animals."
The number of people living with HIV/AIDS in Papua is increasing, with 319 new cases reported so far this year as of October, taking the total to 4,114 reported cases, Constan said earlier this month.