Japanese LGBT/PLHIV orgs report in OK, but uncertainty remains

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Sylvia Tan and Laurindo Garcia



During crisis times such as this, LGBT people and PLHIV may face additional difficulties. Fridae gets in touch with LGBT/ PLHIV groups to find out how they are coping.

LGBT people especially those living at evacuation centres may have to keep their relationships under wraps and not be able to draw on the support of his/her same-sex partner despite the trauma they are going through. Transgender people may not be able to access medical supplies they need and may also face discrimination at evacuation centres such as using the restrooms of the gender they identify with, LGBT groups tell Fridae.

 

Situation for PLHIV in Sendai and other areas in Japan

When contacted by Fridae, Tokyo-based Japanese Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS (JANP+); PLACE Tokyo, a HIV/AIDS support organisation; and Japan Foundation for AIDS Prevention (JFAP) say all their team members are safe.

In relation the situation for people living with HIV in areas most affected by the earthquake and tsunami, sources close to Fridae indicate that HIV treatment facilities are still operational in Sendai, the largest city nearest to the epicentre. Japanese health officials released emergency guidelines on March 15 to help doctors and PLHIV deal with the situation and potential interrupts to treatment. However the lack of telephone and internet services across the Tohoku area make it difficult for local organisations to verify the status of HIV facilities and other health services outside of the city.

In other areas of Japan, and in the capital Tokyo, it is understood that HIV treatment and other health services are coping with the situation.

Fridae will continue communicating with the Japanese Network of People Living with HIV (JaNP+) as they work to assess the full impact on this community and address any specific needs that arise during the reconstruction process.

Specific challenges for the LGBT community and PLHIV 

During crisis times such as this, LGBT people may face additional difficulties. Azusa, who's the co-founder and editor of GayJapanNews, says LGBT people especially those living at evacuation centres may have to keep their relationships under wraps and not be able to draw on the support of his/her same-sex partner despite the trauma they are going through. Additionally, a LGBT Japanese national who is in a relationship with a foreign partner who is evacuated may have no recourse to be reunited if their relationship is not recognised by immigration authorities overseas. 

Transgender people may not be able to access medical supplies they need and may also face discrimination at evacuation centres such as using the restrooms of the gender they identify with. 

For a person living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) whose possessions and houses is damaged by the quake and/or tsunami is likely to face difficulties in accessing medication as medical supplies may have been damaged and not replenished due to limited transportation due to the fuel shortage and other logistical factors. 

 

Read more:http://www.fridae.com/newsfeatures/2011/03/18/10724.japanese-lgbt-plhiv-orgs-report-in-ok-but-uncertainty-remains


Organization:

Fridae
Gay Japan News
Japanese Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS (JANP+);
Japan Foundation for AIDS Prevention (JFAP)

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