(Photo by Andri Tambunan) 

With approximately 250 million people, Indonesia has the fourth largest population in the world (following only China, India, and the United States). It also has the unfortunate distinction of having one of the fastest rates of growth for HIV/AIDS in the world. And the epicenter for HIV/AIDS in Indonesia is Papua, the country’s largest and easternmost province. Mama Yuli, pictured here holding two anti-retroviral (ARV) pills, is one of the fortunate ones. She contracted HIV in 2004 from her husband, who later died of AIDS, and has been on ARV drugs for most of the last decade. Yuli lives in the capital of Papua, Jayapura, and received assistance from Mother’s Hope Foundation, a local NGO based in the city. Most people with HIV/AIDS in Papua, however, are not receiving ARV treatment. Many of them are indigenous Papuans who are unaware of the availability of ARV therapy, are ostracized and don’t seek treatment, or live far from a health clinic. One organization that is trying to overcome these problems facing rural Papuans is Klinik Kalvari, which provides free HIV/AIDS testing and treatment to people living in the mountainous region of Wamena.

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