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Donít Let your Babies Grow up to be Cowboys

TIME Magazine Explore Role of ĎKuta Cowboysí in Baliís HIV/AIDS Epidemic


An article by Charlie Campbell for TIME Magazine cast dubious fame on Bali’s male sex worker industry and its role in the growing HIV epidemic on the Island.

Campell’s article - “Bali’s ‘Gigilos,” Carefree Sex Industry Leads to HIV Crisis” cites 100 new cases of HIV discovered each month in Bali and the role “Kuta’s Cowboys” may play in spreading the disease.

Female travelers, depicted in the article as the love forlorn, follow in the steps of Elizabeth Gilbert’s 2010 screenplay “Eat Pray Love” lavishing clothes, meals, motorbikes on charming young men of easy virtue.

The very existence of “male sex tourism” in Bali has been a long and hotly debated topic in Bali. But a 2010 documentary “Cowboys in Paradise” forced the hand of local police who arrested 28 young men on morals charges.

The article cites experts from a local medical clinic providing care to those infected with HIV saying the estimated 26,000 confirmed cases of HIV/AIDS in Bali is merely the “tip of the iceberg” with many case as yet undiscovered.

Heterosexual contact remains the main source of new infections, with alarming increases reported among women and children infected by sexually errant husbands who patronize the Island’s houses of prostitution.

Meanwhile, men, engaging in sex-for-pay to support an intravenous drug habit may add yet another invidious layer of risk for both the male and female customers of these sex workers.

Those working to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS also bemoan the resistance to condom use among some segments of society as representing another impediment in efforts to stop the spread of sexually transmitted disease.

Meanwhile, Bali clinics providing antiretroviral treatment to those confirmed to be suffering from HIV are doing a brisk trade, not unrelated to the burgeoning pace of Bali’s booming commercial sex trade.

Read the TIME Magazine article: Bali’s ‘Gigolos,’ Carefree Sex Industry Lead to HIV Crisis

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