Deputy governor promotes polygamy, early marriage as solutions to stop HIV spread

CNN Indonesia – August 30, 2022
West Java Deputy Governor Uu Ruzhanul Ulum speaking to reporters – Undated (Pertamina)

Jakarta – West Java Deputy Governor Uu Ruzhanul Ulum is proposing that husbands be allowed to be polygamous in order to bring down the number of HIV/AIDS sufferers among housewives. He said that religion does not prohibit husbands from practicing polygamy.

"Rather than, it is as if they (husbands) don’t like it, but end up giving it (HIV/AIDS) to their own wives, after all, religion also gives a green light [to polygamy] as long as it's just, why not? So rather than housewives getting (HIV/AIDS) while finding out their husband's are like that, it would be better if they were free to be polygamous", said Ulum in a press release received by CNN Indonesia on Tuesday August 30.

Ulum emphasised that Islamic religion prohibits all forms of sex outside of marriage. So marriage is the solution to prevent a person from committing such acts. According to Ulum, more serious sex education must also be given to the younger generation in order to prevent these prohibited acts.

"Now, I think, that aside from this there must be an understanding of the dangers of HIV/AIDS, then also sex education for the public and also information from the government about HIV/AIDS, the public itself must have the courage to take a stand", he said.

Ulum then asked all men who are already married not to "snack carelessly' because this has the potential to spread HIV/AIDS to wives and their children.

He believes that husbands must be able to communicate with their wives if they feel they have the capacity to be polygamous. He also claimed that he is ready to facilitate members of the public who want to get married again (to a second wife) in order to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

"If members of the public want to get married there's no cost, so why not? I will consult with the Pak [Mr] governor so there is a (mass marriage) program, we right, the government must respond to the public's wishes, if necessary provincial governments can hold mass marriages for those that don't want to pay", he said.

Ulum also explained meanwhile that data from the Bandung National AIDS Commission (KPA) found that there were 5,943 HIV positive cases in Bandung in 1991-2021. Out of this total, 11 percent were housewives.

He said that one of the triggers for the spread of the disease was husbands who have unsafe sexual relations with sex workers. In addition to this, as many as 6.9 percent or 414 of the cases were university students.

"Right now its viral in Bandung, it turns out that many housewives have HIV/AIDS. Second, many young kids also have it", he said. (rzr/isn)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Wagub Jabar soal Cegah HIV/AIDS: Agama Boleh Poligami, Kenapa Tidak?".]