JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia, one of only three countries in the Asia-Pacific region that is seeing a trend of increased HIV infections, must plug a $30 million funding gap in its fight against HIV, a UN health official said on Wednesday.
President-elect Joko Widodo, who won a July election, should build on the policies implemented by the outgoing administration, Cho Kah Sin, Indonesia country director for the United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS, told Reuters.
Indonesia’s five-year strategic plan to combat HIV/AIDS ends this year and domestic funding of the plan is about 40 per cent, much lower than a 70 per cent target, Cho said.
While the domestic budget for tackling HIV/AIDS has increased from $27 million in 2010 to $37 million this year, the current funding gap is estimated at about $30 million, and it is expected to increase to about $175 million by 2020.
“Indonesia is a middle income country (and) is going to have a challenge trying to convince international donors to continue to invest in development assistance for social and health projects,” said Cho.
“Eventually it will have to provide its own funding for priorities like health,” he added. “It is very important for the national government to continue to increase the proportion of funding for HIV from domestic resources.”
The United Nations, in a report released every two years on the world HIV and AIDS epidemic, said last month new infection rates in Indonesia were a “cause for concern”.
About 0.43 per cent of the adult population, or about 640,000 people, are infected with HIV in Indonesia.
Indonesia, Pakistan and the Philippines were the only three countries in the Asia-Pacific region with a trend of increased HIV infections, the United Nations said.
But Cho said he was optimistic about the fight in Indonesia.
Since 2012, the world’s fourth most populous country has massively increased access to HIV testing and now offers early antiretroviral treatment.