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Andri Tambunan February 1, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Indonesia, Papua.
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Demonstration of condom usage at a public market in Jayapura, capital of Papua, 2009

Andri Tambunan (b. 1981, Indonesia) moved to the United States at age 10. He received his degree in Photography from Sacramento State University with an emphasis in Fine Art. After years of working in the corporate world he quit his job and decided to travel the world. In November 2008 he was in Mumbai during the terrorist attacks. His first instinct was “to grab my cameras and document the series of events that unfolded around me.” His photographs have received recognition from Pictures of the Year International (POYi) Emerging Vision Incentive, Reminders Project Asian Photographers Grant, and the International Photography Awards (IPA). In 2012,  Against All Odds was exhibited at the Angkor Photo Festival and was a Magnum Emergency Fund nomination. Andri is based in Jakarta.

About the Photograph:

“This photo is from my long-term project Against All Odds which I investigated the HIV/AIDS epidemic among indigenous Papuans. Currently Papua has the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence in Indonesia (15 times the national average) and outside of Africa. Although they say that HIV/AIDS does not discriminate, in Papua the epidemic follows along the fault lines of race: about three-quarters of those infected are indigenous Papuans. Ultimately, indigenous Papuans are living and dying in the midst of the fastest growing epidemic in Asia. Against All Odds uses images and text to explore some of the reasons why indigenous Papuans are contracting HIV, including limited economic opportunities, lack of HIV/AIDS education and awareness, insufficient access to health services, inadequate support, discrimination, and stigma.”

“In Papua, it is assumed almost all transmission of HIV occurs through sexual encounters. Thus, the consistent use of condoms is understood as one of the most effective ways to reduce or prevent infection.. Condom usage is often opposed or disregarded by religious and community leaders and is considered taboo. As a result, the use of condoms is low and condoms are frequently associated with sin, misconduct, and shame. Most people are embarrassed to buy condoms even when they are available. It is still very difficult to obtain a condom in most locations. Because of low condom education and awareness, many people in Papua don’t know how to use condoms or where to go to obtain them. Most importantly they don’t understand the benefit of condom usage in reducing or preventing STDs and HIV infection.”

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