Meet Ketut Rediten – a Balinese homemaker who transformed her despair over an HIV diagnosis into dedication to helping others

In one of many corners of Prof. dr. I.G.N.G. Ngoerah Basic Hospital (extra popularly recognized by its former title: Sanglah Hospital) in Denpasar, there’s a voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) clinic that gives HIV testing and, extra importantly, gives assist for these affected by HIV/AIDS. 

Whereas medical employees are anticipated to be skilled and supportive in the direction of sufferers with HIV, on the finish of the day, somebody who has been of their sneakers can present a stage of consolation and understanding that’s incomparable and, most often, desperately wanted.

Enter Ketut Rediten or, as she is extra famously recognized amongst her friends at Sanglah’s VCT clinic, Bu (Madame) Desi.

The 48-year-old Balinese homemaker’s world was shaken when she took an HIV take a look at in 2010 and the outcome got here again constructive. Her husband had been sick and was later identified with HIV earlier than Desi took her take a look at. He died three months later.

Ketut Rediten pictured giving a public lecture on HIV/AIDS prevention at a group heart in Bali. Picture: Obtained.

To say that it was a life-changing expertise for her could be a significant understatement. 

“I believed HIV was a dying sentence on the time,” she stated.

On high of that, Desi stated that her in-laws primarily blamed her for the analysis – confirming this text by The Dialog that Indonesian girls are sometimes stigmatized by their relations after being identified with HIV.

In a current interview with Coconuts for World AIDS Day, which is right this moment, Bu Desi stated the trials and stigma she confronted then is what made her resolve to show her life round and dedicate it to serving to others in her state of affairs.

“I don’t need others to expertise what I skilled. I’m very sorry that discrimination from society nonetheless exists towards individuals residing with HIV/AIDS,” Desi stated when requested about her determination to volunteer on the clinic.

Desi has grow to be a fixture at Sanglah’s VCT clinic since 2011 after changing into a volunteer representing the Kerti Praja Basis, which is devoted to medical outreach efforts in Bali. She and the opposite counselors on the clinic serve uniquely important roles as they supply a sympathetic ear to individuals who would possibly nonetheless be scuffling with even the thought of getting to bear blood checks on the clinic.

Within the case of a affected person whose HIV take a look at comes again constructive, Desi turns into a shoulder to cry on, a pair of ears to pay attention and, moreover, an open coronary heart that turns into a lighthouse for the affected person’s soul.

Under are the excerpts of Coconuts’ interview with Bu Desi during which the mom of 4 tells us about what she has noticed over the previous decade as a counselor and her hopes for the long run.

Ketut Rediten AKA Bu Desi in the midst of her schedule as a volunteer at a VCT clinic in Denpasar. Picture: Obtained.

 Does the stigma towards individuals residing with HIV/AIDS nonetheless exist even now? 

There may be nonetheless stigma, certainly, though it has began to vanish compared to the previous. [Based on] my expertise, it’s largely sufferers who inadvertently stigmatize themselves. They’re too frightened to even converse to their household and, in some circumstances, the relations forbid them from marrying different individuals and having youngsters, though fashionable medicine permits them to take action with out exposing their spouses or future youngsters to HIV.

What about medical professionals? Are there nonetheless circumstances during which medical employees stigmatize the sufferers?

For now, I consider the stigma from medical employees is already starting to fade away as I by no means hear of such circumstances anymore. Up to now, it used to occur on the regency or district ranges.

In comparison with your personal expertise being identified with HIV in 2010 and changing into a volunteer not lengthy after, what are the variations that you’ve got witnessed?

Once I first turned a volunteer, those that got here to the clinic regarded like individuals who didn’t have any hope to reside, however now we’re extra open and may share with one another and assist one another. However sure, certainly, there are nonetheless a couple of sufferers who’re very discreet.

Is it true that many sufferers residing with HIV are reluctant and even lazy about taking anti-retroviral medicine, though it’s free?

That’s certainly true. Maybe they really feel positive, wholesome, and bored after taking the medicine every day and having to go to the well being heart each month.

What are your hopes for the long run?

In 2010, details about HIV was not as accessible as it’s these days. On the time, solely VCT clinics might give correct details about HIV. For me, changing into a volunteer additionally helped in my very own restoration as a result of I turned impressed by different individuals who have the identical situation. 

Folks residing with HIV can be okay, particularly if their household helps them, so long as they’ve good vitamin and, naturally, take their ARV medicine every day.

For the long run, we’ve to stay hopeful. I hope increasingly individuals are changing into conscious and be a part of us on this struggle from each nook to battle HIV in order that there can be no extra new infections sooner or later.

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