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Chua AC, Leo YS, Lee CC
Correspondence: Dr Arlene C Chua, email@example.com
Introduction Batam is one of the islands comprising the Riau Province in Indonesia, and is closest to Singapore. It is a popular destination of many Singaporeans. Surveillance reports among commercial sex workers conducted in Batam showed the prevalence rate of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is 16.2 percent. At the end of 2006, the total number of HIV-infected Singaporeans was 3,060, the majority being infected via heterosexual transmission. The aim of the Indonesian government is to rapidly scale up HIV treatment to those needing it. One of the factors critical to the rapid scale-up is healthcare worker training.
Methods An intersectoral collaboration addressing the issue of HIV care and treatment with a hospital in Batam was created. The first activity of the collaboration was a two-day HIV training course conducted in February 2007. The aim of the course was to provide a basic understanding of HIV, as well as knowledge on common opportunistic infections that may present to a general hospital or clinical setting.
Results 34 doctors from 23 institutions in Batam and three doctors from two hospitals in the Riau Islands attended the two-day HIV training course. The participants found the training very useful and highly relevant.
Conclusion This first HIV training provided a foundation to build on further HIV education. It is our belief that through the HIV training programme, there will be more awareness of HIV among the various medical institutions in Batam. As the HIV epidemic knows no borders, working with neighbouring countries is one strategy that deserves attention.
Keywords: acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), health education, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), infectious disease, sexually transmitted disease
Singapore Med J 2008; 49(5): 376-379