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Indonesia's HIV-Positive Transgendered Population Faces Discrimination, Jakarta Post Reports

January 23, 2009

Some transgendered people living with HIV in Indonesia face discrimination and experience stigma when accessing health care, the Indonesian Transvestites Communication Forum said recently, the Jakarta Post reports. The group spoke about the status of transgendered and gay people in the country -- particularly those living with HIV/AIDS -- at a hearing held Thursday with members of the House of Representatives' Commission IX, which handles citizenship, health, labor and transmigration affairs. Yulianus Rettoblaut, head of the forum, said that the group came to the meeting "with high hopes that legislators will articulate the grievances" of transgendered people in the country, "whose social, economic and health rights are neglected."

The group cited a report issued by the Health Ministry in 2007 that found one in three transgendered people in Jakarta is HIV-positive. According to the forum, the high rate of HIV/AIDS among the population in large part is because of inadequate health care. The rate of sexually transmitted infections among transgendered people was higher in the West Java capital of Bandung, where half of the population was living with an STI, the group reported.

After hearing from the group, Commission IX member Rudianto Chen said that no new information was reported since the issue had been discussed last year at a similar hearing. However, he added that the commission failed to uphold its pledge to monitor reports of discrimination. "This is partly [the commission's] fault. ... That's why we plan to facilitate another meeting between ministry officials and [transgendered] groups," Chen said. He added that a new system would be implemented in which the health ministry would conduct oversight of all reports of discrimination and suggested that reports be filed promptly, "so [the commission] can do something about it" (Christanto, Jakarta Post, 1/23).

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See Also
Indonesia and HIV/AIDS