Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Indonesia sorry over posters saying sneezing transmits HIV

18 November 2015, 18:12

Jakarta - Indonesia's health ministry has apologised after a printing error led to posters being put up claiming that HIV can be transmitted through mosquito bites, swimming and sneezing, an official said Wednesday.

Social media was flooded with angry comments after the ministry's attempt to launch a campaign to debunk myths about HIV backfired badly in a country where people with the virus are much stigmatised.

The plan involved putting up posters on commuter trains in the capital Jakarta stating that HIV cannot be transmitted through mosquito bites, swimming and sneezing, as well as human saliva and sweat.

But the printing company managed to miss out the word "not" from the posters and then failed to get final approval from officials, meaning the banners reinforced the very beliefs they were meant to challenge.

Hundreds of posters were plastered on trains at the weekend, but are now being removed following an outcry.

"The ministry has to carry out a massive and systematic awareness campaign to undo this blunder," said Aditya Wardhana, an activist from Indonesia AIDS Coalition.

Prominent HIV activist Fajar Jasmin tweeted that the botched campaign was a "stupid, fatal mistake".

Also read: Foundation set to break Guinness world record on HIV test

Senior health ministry official Muhammad Subuh admitted the mistake was due to a "printing error".

"We have made a public apology and now the banners are being removed and replaced with the correct ones," he told AFP.

"They omitted the word 'not', it was an honest mistake."

Subuh said the printing company failed to show the ministry the final version of the posters before issuing them as they were supposed to.

The company has also apologised for the error.

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which can lead to AIDS, is mainly transmitted via sexual intercourse or needle sharing.

Awareness about HIV in Indonesia remains poor despite the fact that more than 660,000 people are estimated to be living with the virus, according to the United Nations.

Ignorance about the virus has come from the highest echelons of government -- in February, then trade minister Rachmat Gobel sparked outrage by claiming that second-hand clothes could spread HIV as he campaigned to stop the import of used garments. He has since been removed from his job.

Since 1981, about 78 million people have been infected by HIV worldwide, according to UN figures.



Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...