Indonesia's Gay Community Hails First Clinic
November 4, 2011
The first-ever clinic dedicated to the health needs of Indonesia's gay and transgender community has served almost 100 patients since it opened in Bali in early October, leaders say.
The privately-owned Bali Medika Clinic provides safe sex and STD treatment services to an often-stigmatized group, said Administrator Dewa Nyoman Wirawan. Gays and transgendered persons "tend to think twice before seeking treatment at public health centers, as they often have an unpleasant experience, especially the transgenders due to their physical appearance," he said.
"People tend to judge [the community's] sexual orientation as deviant," Wirawan explained. "Gays need such exclusive health clinics so that they will no longer hesitate to undergo routine screenings for [STDs] or an HIV test."
"Whenever they have an HIV test they have no choice but to reveal their sexual orientation and it is not easy for them elsewhere due to the social stigma," Wirawan said.
"This clinic will have a very positive impact for us," said Christian Supriyadinata of Bali's LGBT group Gaya Dewata. "If we receive quick treatment it will automatically keep [sexually transmitted] diseases from spreading."
Bali, an island hotspot popular with tourists, saw its number of known HIV/AIDS cases jump 19 percent from 2009 to 2010, to 3,778, a National AIDS Commission report said. One-quarter of sex workers on the island are thought to be HIV-positive, according to officials.
Agence France Presse
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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