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Bali’s Illicit Café Society

Governor Pastika Wants Road Side Illegal Cafes Closed in Bali to Reduce the Spread of HIV/AIDS

(11/29/2013) Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika is calling on regents across Bali to bring into line with the law informal roadside cafes that serve as covers for prostitution practices and have been linked to increased cases of HIV/AIDS.

Quoted by the State News Agency Antara, Pastika said: “Indeed, we have to keep reminding the regents to bring the roadside cafes into conformance with the law; I am sure that most of these businesses do not have licenses.”

Pastika, who prior to becoming Governor served as the Chief of Police for Bali, said he is certain that the regents have not issued operating permits for these informal cafes. For that reason, he wants to shut them down so the spread of HIV/AIDS can be halted.

“There needs to be comprehensive action taken. I have repeatedly said these cafes are sources of HV/AIDS and need to be regulated. The main problem in doing this is because we are dealing with human wants and desires, which is always problematic,” explained Pastika.

The governor has mater-of-factly warned that the spread of the potentially deadly HIV/AIDS virus in Bali is due to unhealthy sex practice and the use of non-sterile needles. Pastika added: “For cases involving intravenous needles this usually traces back to narcotics use. There are almost no cases of HIV/AIDS in Bali linked to blood transfusions in Bali.”

Embracing the elimination of HIV/AIDS as one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), he asked community leaders to join him in the fight against the disease.

The head of the Bali Health Service, Ketut Suarjaya, said that while official statistics for 1987 until 2013 estimates 8,141 HIV/AIDS cases in Bali, the real figure is probably much closer to 26,000.

The Department of Health is trying to popularize the use of condoms, distributing some 80,000 free condoms targeted on sex workers and their customers.

The provincial administration of Bali have allocated Rp. 6 billion (US$520,000) in 2014 to support a program of voluntary confidential testing (VCD) against HIV/AIDS.