by Anton Muhajir
Published at Asia Report
For Agus, fictitious name, the end of life was not the end of a journey. As a former injection drug user (IDU), he faced a new problem when he passed away. Two days ago, the IDU died from complications arising from AIDS. Often in Bali, a person who dies is the responsibility of not only their families, but also of the traditional local community, called banjar.
Normally, this care consists of bathing, burying, cremation, and a traditional farewell ceremony. But not for Agus. Agus’s body was rejected not only by his family, but by his community, as well.
Fortunately, Agus still had many friends: fellow users and former IDU and people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA). So, these friends brought Agus’s body back to Sanglah Hospital, the biggest hospital in the Province of Bali, Indonesia, where it was treated. About a week before, the same story happened with Budi (not real name), another of the PLWHA in Bali. Because of his HIV/AIDS status, Budi’s body was also rejected by the residents.