Combating HIV/AIDS in Marginalized Communities


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Combating HIV/AIDS in Marginalized Communities is a well researched Medicine and Health Sciences Master’s Thesis topic, it is to be used as a guide or framework for your Academic Research.


My study focuses on foreign aid and local initiatives for HIV/AIDS prevention in eastern Indonesia using the provinces of Papua and West Papua as a case study.

The two provinces are home to indigenous tribal groups that are socioeconomically marginalized and most affected by the epidemic. My research investigates behavior change communication as a principal strategy undertaken by multiple organizations for
HIV/AIDS prevention in this region.

I take a qualitative approach by examining the
effectiveness of this strategy in local communities and by revealing social and cultural barriers that impede success.

Obstacles that negatively impact prevention efforts include structural violence, stigma and discrimination. I identify areas, such as targeted health messaging, where HIV/AIDS prevention efforts can be improved to benefit marginalized communities.


Since the emergence of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired
Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) over 30 years ago, 60 million people have been infected worldwide, resulting in approximately 25 million deaths (Laksono 2010,14).

HIV is a persistent, deadly and infectious virus that if not treated causes AIDS (Turk, Ewing and Newton 2006, 333). It is spread by the exchange of bodily fluids such as through unprotected sex with an infected person and by sharing contaminated needles. The virus can also spread through childbirth and breastfeeding.

The sexual transmission of HIV/AIDS can be prevented with the use of condoms. There is no known cure for the disease, but long-term antiretroviral therapy (ART) is available and can prolong life.

Antiretroviral treatment is also a form of prevention and an important component to
managing HIV/AIDS (World Health Organization-HIV/AIDS n.d.).

There are five countries that account for 99% of the HIV burden in Southeast Asia. These countries include Indonesia, India, Nepal, Myanmar and Thailand. In this region approximately 220,000 people die each year from the disease (Plianbangchang 2011) (Aids2014 2014).

Statement of the Problem

This study examines the prevalence (percent or proportion of people with HIV at
a given time) of HIV/AIDS in Indonesia, particularly in its eastern provinces of Papua
and West Papua also known as Tanah Papua1.

Prior to being known as Tanah Papua, from 1973 to 2002 the province of Papua was officially known as Irian Jaya or the western half of New Guinea (Munro 2004). In 2007, the province of Papua was divided into Papua and West Papua (Butt 2008, 118).

In Tanah Papua the prevalence of HIV/AIDS is 15 times higher than the national average (Butt, Numbery and Morin 2002, 283; USAID Indonesia 2014). The epidemic is in a generalized2 stage, exceeding the national average of 0.3% (Plianbangchang 2011; Reckinger and Lemaire 2013).

In these Marginalized two provinces, the virus is mostly transmitted through heterosexual sex and the overall affected population is between 15 and 49 years of age (Laksono 2010, 11). As I discuss in chapter two, the HIV/AIDS rates are twice as high in the indigenous population than non-indigenous in-migrants.

This region is a useful case study in the context of HIV/AIDS because of the high
prevalence of the disease among the geographically isolated and socioeconomically
marginalized indigenous populations such as the Dani ethnic group3.

The marginalization of the indigenous Papuans is a result of complex ethno-religious differences with the Malay-Indonesians, also known as “in-migrants,” who moved to Tanah Papua after 1969 when the provinces became a part of Indonesia (Butt, Numbery and Morin 2002, 282).

Approximately 73% of all indigenous Papuans live along the coast or in the highlands;
these are rural, underdeveloped regions with no roads, few schools, and inadequate health
infrastructure (International Labour Organization (ILO) 2012-2013).

Additional information


Master's Thesis


Medicine and Health  Sciences

No of Chapters





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