People infected with COVID-19 in Indonesia suffer from stigma like HIV / AIDS

A recent survey by the LaporCovid-19 group, in collaboration with researchers from the psychology department at the University of Indonesia, found that stigma against COVID-19 patients and those who survived the disease had lasted for 6 months.

The group conducted the survey from 7th Aug to 16th Aug with 181 participants over 18 years old and each positive for coronavirus. Half of these are medical staff, according to the report Jakarta Post.

The survey showed that 55.25% of these people became gossip targets, 33.15% were shunned and 24.86% were considered contagious. The survey also found that 9.39% of respondents had been bullied on social media, 3.31% were evicted, and 0.55% were fired.


Young Ayu (self-proclaimed character’s name) said she returned to work from the hospital and quarantined because she had COVID-19 and that some colleagues treated her more coldly. Ayu (24 years old), working at the bank, feels that her colleagues seem to be avoiding her. Some people stopped asking her to have lunch with them. Ayu felt like she was being rejected.

One of Ayu’s male colleagues bluntly accused her of infecting other staff members, including himself.

“Now I realize who are my true friends, not the people who are only with us in good times but who are always with us both when good and bad,” Ayu told the newspaper Jakarta Post.

Ms. Ayu tested positive for the coronavirus in mid-June, after losing her uncle because of COVID-19. Later, Ayu also lost her aunt in the intensive care unit due to this infectious disease.

Not long after the results of COVID-19 were found, the head of the neighborhood where Ayu lived publicly announced her family’s status and their names and IDs on the neighborhood WhatsApp chat group.

Her cousin, also positive for the virus and staying with her grandmother in a nearby neighborhood, was accused of running away in isolation to secretly date her boyfriend.

“The man and woman the neighbors saw that night were actually my mother and her younger brother. They had to go to the hospital to sign papers for my aunt to use the ventilator as soon as possible. good “- said Ayu.

Some experts acknowledge the stigma against COVID-19 in Indonesia is as bad as with HIV / AIDS.

“Six months after the pandemic broke out, the stigma persisted. I thought this would subside after the first three months, but the truth was not like that” – Dr. Akmal Taher, a member of the specialist team members of the Indonesian anti-COVID-19 task force shared.

Ms. Siska Verawati, of the Indonesian Center for Strategic Development Initiatives, said that stigma, due to misinterpretations about the COVID-19 pandemic, interrupted traceability and testing efforts because people did not report. be real about their symptoms.

Verawati said that the community needs to join hands and not stigmatize frontline health workers to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“There needs to be good propaganda that COVID-19 is real and our common enemy,” concludes Verawati.