Udayana University’s medical faculty hosted a training session on Sunday to teach health workers how to avoid the risk of HIV infection from patients.
Around 300 medical students, as well as professional midwives, were taught various skills and risk factors.
Yudha Ganesa, a member of university staff who helped organise the session said that awareness of the risk of HIV infection was essential for all health professionals.
“In older days, many physicians refused to provide health services to patients with HIV-AIDS because they did not know how to protect themselves from the disease,” he said, adding that as awareness increased such stigma was reduced.
Ganesa said that Udayana hosted the training session on an annual basis.
“The number of medical school students participating in the training and joining the student group has steadily increased,” he said.
The head of infectious diseases at Bali’s main Sanglah Hospital, Tuti Parwati Merati, said health workers needed to be fully informed about HIV prevention.
“At Sanglah we use two approaches – the implementation of universal precautionary measures and limited quarantine,” she said.
Meanwhile, other officials at Sanglah have announced that a free HIV test programme for pregnant women will be expanded, to help reduce mother-to-baby infections.
“Women who have been married more than once or who display physical symptoms generally associated with HIV-AIDS will be offered the screening test,” maternity nurse Gusti Ayu Erawati said, adding that the test was not compulsory.
According to Erawati, if a pregnant woman was diagnosed before giving birth, special measures could be taken and the risk of transmission to the child could be greatly reduced.
Since launching its Mother-to-Child Transmission Prevention scheme (PMTCT) in 2005, a total of 142 HIV-positive women have successfully delivered babies without infection at Sanglah.
“The number of pregnant women joining the programme has steadily increased over the years. The highest increase took place in 2010, when the number of participants rose by 37 percent compared to the previous year,” Erawati said.