YW has been HIV+ for 3-4 years. His wife is also HIV+ and they are both taking ARV. However, from what I've been told by a member of his family, he doesn't take his medicines properly. Maybe he doesn't take them on time or perhaps the wrong dosage, I am not too sure. YW and his wife are originally from Lani Jaya but he is in Wamena because his condition hasn't gotten better. He told us that he has been coughing and experiencing other symptoms such as diarrhea and lack of appetite. They showed me his ARV tablets but I didn't see any TB medication. Seeing his condition I would think that he would be taking that as well since TB is a common opportunistic infection. Also, surprisingly, no member of his family had taken him to the hospital. We were at his honai because we were interviewing another member of his family who is also HIV+. As it turns out, this young man recently lost his baby a month ago and his wife is also HIV+ and he doesn't know where she is. Ultimately, there are 5 members of this family who is affected by this epidemic.
We chartered a car to bring Pak Yesaya to the Emergency room. He had no energy to stand up. When we got to the ER, the nurses there gave him saline solution and medicines. I visited him a couple of times and my friends at LSM YPKM gave rice and milk. However, 3 days after, Pak Yesaya checked himself out forcefully. The reason that he stated was he wanted to do his "adat" or traditional healing. The nurses couldn't do anything to stop him since they don't want to be held responsible if anything happens to him during care. I looked at his chart and his whiteblood cells count is 24. If I am not mistaken, normal is around 200-250. I went back to his honai and found his family looking for a pig. Two days later they killed a pig (Paid around 2.500.000IDR or $300) and examined the inside. They found wounds or "luka-luka" in its lungs and other parts of the pig. The cleaned the wounds and burned it believing that it would cure Pak Yesaya of his sickness. They are planning to kill more.
I felt powerless because there's nothing I could do to convince him and his family to return to the hospital to receive better care despite all the information that we have given to them. The only thing that we said to them was God helps those who help themselves and the best way is to do both "adat" (traditional medicine) and berobat (modern medicines), hoping that would convince him to return to the hospital. We told them that we would take care of transportation and paper work whenever he decides to do so.
To Be Continued . . . .
**On another note, Just the other day I photographed a young woman 20 yr old, who died of AIDS, her family waited too long to take her to the hospital. One day before she died, her family cut different parts of her body to get rid of the "dirty blood" that caused her sickness. This procedure is another traditional method in this region.
|YW and his wife inside the honai or traditional house. In front of him are ARV tablets.|
|YW was to weak to stand up on his own.|
|YW walked past a grave, where a baby was buried just a month ago due to sickness. His parents are both HIV +.|
|Wesley from community group YPKM took an empty gurney.|
|YW being taken to ER|
|A nurse examined his condition.|
|Nurses transferred YW to a bed from the gurney.|
|YW fell asleep after eating a bit of bread and receiving saline solutions and medicines.|
|Pastor Simson, coordinator of YPKM prayed for YW at the end of the night.|