Thursday, February 05, 2009

Chile to stop identifying gays as a "risk group" for sexually transmitted diseases

EFE reports today that Alvaro Erazo, the country's Health Minister (right), has announced that the government will "eliminate instructions in medical exams in which gays were identified as a risk group for sexually transmitted diseases and by which they were submitted to specific blood tests."

The announcement came after a meeting held with Rolando Jiménez, President of the Homosexual Movement for Integration and Liberation (Movilh).

According to the article, the LGBT rights organization had already gotten the government to eliminate a ban on blood donations by transgender individuals and gay and bisexual men back in 2003. But instructions that remained in official preventive medicine manuals still instructed health practitioners to ask a person if their partner had been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease and to tell the person that STD's were more frequent among people who had sexual relations with same-sex partners. If the person indicated having a same-sex partner, health practitioners were instructed to urge them to take blood tests.

Under the directive announced today, health practitioners will not be instructed to ask those questions and gays will not be instantly urged to undergo blood tests if they disclose their sexual orientation.

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