Last year, Indonesian police rounded up at least 300 people and often
publicly humiliated them

A CRACKDOWN on Indonesia's LGBT community is fueling a spike in HIV cases as at-risk people avoid prevention services or seeking treatment, Human Rights Watch [HRW] said Monday.

Conservative politicians and hardline Islamist groups have been increasingly vocal against the vulnerable community in recent years, while law makers eyed outlawing gay sex in the world's biggest Muslim majority country.

Police conducted ''arbitrary and unlawful" raids on places frequented by LGBT people including saunas, night clubs, hotel rooms, hair salons, and even private homes, HRW said.

That has discouraged some  at-risk  groups, from accessing prevention and treatment and services, according to the report entitled "Scared in Public and Now in Privacy':  Human Rights and Public Health Impacts of Indonesia's Anti LGBT Moral Panic."

As a result, HIV rates among men who have sex with other men have soared five-fold since 2007 from 5.0 percent 25 percent, HRW said, adding that the group accounted for one-third of Indonesia's new infections.

"The Indonesian government's failure to address anti-LGBT moral panic is having dire consequences for public health,"said Kyle Knight, LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch and the report's  author.

''The Indonesian government should recognise that its role in abuses against LGBT people is seriously compromising the country's response to HIV,"

The country's conservative lurch has dented the success Indonesia had in slowing new HIV infections in recent decades, HRW said.

Indonesia has about 48,000 new HIV infections and 38,000 AIDS-related deaths in 2016, with only  12 percent  of those infected getting treatment, according to UN figures.

Last year, Indonesian police rounded up at least 300 people and often publicly humiliated them   because of their presumed sexual orientation and gender identity - a jump from previous years and the highest such number ever recorded.

The raids have led to the closure of establishments where outreach workers would often meet and counsel gay men, provide condoms and and offer voluntary HIV tests. [Agencies].


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