West Java vice governor promotes polygamy, early marriage as solutions to stop HIV spread

West Java Vice Governor Uu Ruzhanul Ulum. Photo: West Java Provincial Government
West Java Vice Governor Uu Ruzhanul Ulum. Photo: West Java Provincial Government

It’s absolutely mind-blowing that no one in the entire world has come up with the solutions West Java Vice Governor Uu Ruzhanul Ulum championed to eradicate HIV and AIDS.

(Our attempt at sarcasm flew over a reader’s head recently. So here’s a disclaimer that the above statement is, indeed, sarcastic.)

Indonesia’s largest province by population recently reported 12,358 positive HIV/AIDS cases, according to data collected from 1991 to 2021. While the 30-year data collection period is considerably long, the number has sparked fresh concerns about the sexually transmitted virus and disease among the West Java populace.

Addressing the hot button issue, Uu offered two solutions to prevent the spread of HIV: polygamy and early marriage.

The data shows that housewives made up 11 percent of HIV-positive cases in the province, and Uu believes that this was the result of their husbands taking the virus home after sexual interactions with sex workers.

Of course, Uu didn’t put the blame on husbands who can’t commit to monogamous relationships.

“Instead of [husbands] being in denial that they don’t like that kind of stuff (hiring sex workers), and they end up transmitting [HIV] to their wives, why not do something that has been green-lit by religion? So instead of housewives getting [HIV] and finding out that their husbands are like that, it’s better to give them the freedom for polygamy,” Uu said today, referring to Islam allowing polygamous marriages.

As for college students making up 6.9 percent of cases, Uu offered another solution on top of educating the public on the dangers of HIV and AIDS.

“I hope that youths, if they’re so desperate [to have sex], just get married. Parents should give their support and not prevent them from marrying young, because the impact could be worse,” he said, while acknowledging that young people having strong sexual desires is totally human.

“Early marriage does not necessarily mean suffering, or a mess, especially if the marriage is carried out in the name of religious worship. Even if they’re still in college or unemployed, if they’re so desperate [for sex] then what can we do?”

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by Uu’s statements, considering that he had to apologize last month for normalizing the act of kids forcing another to fornicate with a cat as banter between boys.

Uu’s boss, West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil, issued a statement on Twitter saying he personally does not agree with his vice governor’s views. The governor also outlined steps the province has taken to manage the spread of HIV and AIDS, such as by performing early screening on at-risk groups and providing counseling and medication.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include Ridwan Kamil’s tweet.

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