Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Chipped and HIV+

The Papua province of Indonesia has controversially proposed a law to implant microchips into citizens living with HIV. Papua has one of the worse infection rates outside Africa but the measures which also include mandatory testing, tattooing of carriers and special ID cards for those that test positive sound awfully like some of the anti-Semitic measures taken by the Third Reich.

The microchip technology is the modern version of travel permits being able to track the whereabouts of the victims of this disease. However, with much of the Papuan population cut of from towns, electricity or phone coverage even the effectiveness of such measures proposed by the Indonesian government would seem ludicrous. The aim of the chips is to seek out those who are "sexually aggressive", the meaning of which is defined by John Manangsang a lawmaker as "actively seeking sexual intercourse."

The country's AIDS Commission has said the provision is not just unworkable in Papua but a violation of human rights. "How can someone know if a person is having sex or jumping and dancing?" said the commission's secretary Nafsiah Mboi. Instead of branding and tracking HIV+ citizens help and medical care should be high on the agenda.

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