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Sexually Transmitted Infections, Should The Sufferer Be Exiled?

By Pranichia Islamy Reysa

· Asia,Health,Human Rights,Community Assistance

620.000 people are living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV); 38.000 people are reported dead due to Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), in accordance to the data of The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

HIV/AIDS is one of the infections that is transmitted through sexual intercourse which one of the partners is having HIV without using protector, the use of unsterile syringe, and a pregnant mother who is being infected of HIV. AIDS itself is a condition or syndrome that is caused by HIV, therefore HIV and AIDS are two different things. Besides that, diseases that are transmitted through sexual intercourse are not limited to that. According to World Health Organizations (WHO), there are at least 30 types of microbes (bacteria, viruses, and parasites) that can be transmitted through sexual contact. Recalling that the sufferers are not limited to heterosexuals but also homosexuals, HIV is known more easily transmitted through sexual contact of homosexuals due to anal sex. According to International Journal of Epidemiology, the risk of HIV transmission is 18% higher through anal sex than penetration through vagina. In Indonesia, the existence of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered (LGBT) people have not been recognized. The illegalization itself is caused by the majority of Muslims in Indonesia which belief is not legitimating the activities of LGBT. Moreover, the human rights which regulated in Constitution of 1945 is not liberal but human rights which respect law and religion, corresponding to Article 28J.

In responding to the contrast issue between the needs of legalization of LGBT for particular parties and those who oppose the activity, Jaringan Gaya Warna Lentera Indonesia or known with GWL-INA is established to give a hand. GWL-INA is a network that consist of community-based organizations, with a total of 68 Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in 25 provinces listed as members which have high concern towards HIV issues, healthcare, and human rights for LGBT in Indonesia. This network was established on February 4, 2017 in Surabaya which mandate is to be the communication and coordination center in the program managements of HIV and also to strengthen the advocacy regarding the compliance of sexual health, rights, reproduction, and any other related human rights for all communities of GWL in Indonesia. At the time, membership of the network only consisted of an e-group which four key people in this network are Dede Oetomo, Tono Permana Muhammad, Sigit, and Puji. GWL-INA has also partnered with HCPI (AusAID), FHI (USAID), Burnett Indonesia, AFAO, NAC, and UNAIDS Country Office in Indonesia. These partnerships have provided funding and the technical assistance needed for the development of the network.

Photo from Jaringan Gaya Warna Lentera Indonesia

All activities in this network has been organized by the National Secretariat of GWL-INA in Jakarta. For the past six years, GWL-INA have been focusing on building the internal capacity of the network. The implementation includes the training program in the network’s mailing list where those who have interest in participating the network should submit an abstract then the national secretariat checks the submissions to prevent the same applicants in the training since the network tries its best to provide equal opportunity for different individuals to build their capacities. Since the main focus of GWL-INA is to addressing the HIV program implementation for Gay, Lesbian, and Transgendered people, the network developed the national strategy and action plan which equip the 2010-2014 AIDS National Strategy and Action Plan and provides clear guidance for policy makers and stakeholders in developing plus implementing HIV and AIDS response program for Gay, Lesbian, and Transgendered people.

As the time goes by, GWL-INA expanded its wings by establishing GWL-Muda (eng: Young GWL) for young Gay, Lesbian, and Transgendered people which eventually developed a website called, “Brondong Manis” (eng: Sweet Youth) to provide young Gay, Lesbian, and Transgendered people with adequate information on sexual and reproductive health and rights, assertive communication and negotiation, drugs, and linkages to health services. The uniqueness of this website is also providing a dating portal for young Gay, Lesbian, and Transgendered. Moreover in advocacy engagement, the network has also collaborated with Indonesia AIDS Coalition (IAC) by developing a joint campaign on People Living with HIV (PLHIV)’s rights to health which called with “ODHA Berhak Sehat” on www.odhaberhaksehat.org. It is a virtual discussion room to discuss HIV and AIDS issues in general and the issue of treatment for PLHIV in particular.

Photo from Jaringan Gaya Warna Lentera Indonesia

The first challenge of this CBO was in early 2010 where the name of the network was ‘Gay, Transgendered, and MSM’ and it was considered too sensitive. According to Indonesian law, all NGOs and CBOs and groups must be registered in the Ministry of Law and Human Rights. Therefore, the network decided to change their name to ‘Gaya Warna Lentera’ for legal registration purposes which legalization is still under confirmation. Recalling the partnerships made with GWL-INA, the increased funding means more pressure since many donors have put a trust on this network’s performance. Besides having pressure on funding increase, there are still many project based programs which most Gay, Lesbian, and Transgendered organizations still have low financial management capacity. Thus, it has become a barrier for them to lobby the Government for increased budget allocation for Gay, Lesbian, and Transgendered programs. Moreover, homophobia and transphobia remains a major issue since the harassment and abuse continues to happen towards Gay, Lesbian, and Transgendered people in Indonesia. In addressing the issue, the network will focus more to scale up HIV prevention efforts and advocacy campaigns on the compliance of human rights for Gay, Lesbian, and Transgendered communities.

Photo from Jaringan Gaya Warna Lentera Indonesia

Simply, GWL-INA works to achieve the outcomes of the national HIV/AIDS program thus Gay, Lesbian, Transgendered people have a voice in national network towards HIV response. Many writings are posted online by Gay, Lesbian, and Transgendered people in Indonesia about their experience. One of them happened in a capital city of Indonesia, he was afraid to be exiled from the family and his social life because of suffering HIV and having same-sex sexual interest. Moreover, he was sentenced to suffer HIV/AIDS Stage 3 and had to follow the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) treatment and Anti Retro Viral (ARV) therapy. From his story that posted online, people who suffer STIs need the healthcare and support they deserve, regardless their sexual interest.

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