Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance
  • Home > News > Including prisoners in HIV support

Including prisoners in HIV support


Drug prison, Indonesia © Sarah Wheeler/Alliance

Rumah Cemara, Alliance linking organisation in Indonesia, has been continuing its groundbreaking work on HIV prevention and support in two prisons in West Java.

Marginalisation and social exclusion makes HIV prevention work with prisoners particularly challenging. So when Rumah Cemara was organising a meeting of its HIV peer support groups it decided to hold the meeting inside the notorious Banceuy drug prison to ensure the inclusion of members of the Banceuy HIV Support Group.

“It was really important to us that Banceuy Prison HIV Support Group were involved in our meeting. We wanted to increase the sense of belonging between all the groups and to remind others that there is a group inside prison which has very limited access to support but is still doing inspiring and innovative work on HIV prevention and support,” said Yudi Wachyudi, group support coordinator at Rumah Cemara.

Groups updated each other on their work with people living with HIV – including  people who use drugs, men who have sex with men, transgender people, women and families – and the challenges they currently face. Issues that cropped up included difficulties around case management and health service provision, and the need to provide individuals and groups involved in these activities with more training and support.

Funding the work is also always challenging and high on the agenda. Participants were strongly encouraged not to rely on one source of funds because of the instability of funding streams. Developing income generating projects was discussed as one possible solution to secure some unrestricted funding.

A second visit was organised to the Cianjur Plus Support group in Cianjur Narcotics Prison. This group is relatively new but already has 20 members including people living with HIV and people affected by it, and has been collaborating with the local AIDS Commission and the hospital. Rumah Cemara worked with its members to help develop a vision and mission for the group.

They explored how the group might function and what programmes they could develop inside the prison to educate prisoners about HIV, how to best work with the prison authorities and ensure that inmates stay safe from HIV.

“We are pleased with how the prison work is developing. Prisoners have one of the highest HIV and TB rates and so we have some way to go to ensure that all the prisoners are well educated about HIV but the prison authorities in both Banceuy and Cianjur are very supportive and encouraging,” says Anton Mulyana, one of Rumah Cemara’s programme managers.

     We wanted to remind others that there is a group inside prison with limited access to support but still doing inspiring work