Politicians Blame ‘Cafe Culture’ for AIDS Spread
A senior politician has blamed the proliferation of cafes – late-night drinking venues which often double as venues for prostitution – for an increase in HIV cases in Bali.
Ketut Kariyasa Adnyana, deputy head of the Bali regional assembly, said cafes, which are popular with many local men, and have been associated with drugs and violent crime, were now spreading into even remote rural areas of Bali.
“Cafes have spread into remote villages on the island. The condition is worrying because of the high spread of HIV and AIDS. Many of the victims are housewives who got infected from their husbands,” he said.
Another assembly member, Made Arjaya, said the cafes were usually hubs for prostitution, with many “waitresses” doubling as commercial sex workers.
“Data shows that 1,000 commercial sex workers in Bali have been infected by HIV and AIDS,” Arjaya said, adding that many of them were ostensibly employed as waitresses in cafes, rather than openly working as prostitutes in brothels.
Arjaya said that local governments should continue with their policy of closing down cafes.
However, Adnyana called for the establishment of localised tolerance zones where prostitution could more readily be managed and monitored by the authorities.
“If cafes are spread in many places, there are even some in residential areas, it is hard to observe them. Centralising the location will make it easier to supervise and control the threat of the disease,” he said.
Utami Dwi Suryadi, another assembly member, called on Balinese men to consider the impact of using prostitutes at such cafes.
“If the husband spreads the disease to the wives, who will suffer? The children might lose their parents and even their future,” she said.Filed under: Headlines