By TINA VAN BURENSTENBERGAAPEN/APD/APSYNDROME, Indonesia (AP) For many of us, getting tested for STDs is a no-brainer.
And for some, it’s not even a question.
It’s an issue that many in the U.S. and overseas are still grappling with, as the country grapples with the spread of the virus.
More than 30 states and Washington, D.C., have passed laws that require some health care providers to report who has tested positive for STIs.
But in the Pacific island nation of Indonesia, a law that came into effect last week only covers the health care industry.
And many health care workers are hesitant to disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity to their employers, fearing retaliation.
“I don’t want to get fired,” said Tiana Tjahjanto, a nurse at the state-run National Health Care Authority.
She said she was reluctant to disclose her sexual orientation because of fears that her employers would discriminate against her and that she could be fired.
In addition, she said, she was afraid of being sexually harassed by her employer or that her colleagues might retaliate against her.
Tjahjato said she did not know what would happen to her employer if she disclosed her sexual identity to her coworkers, and she was unsure of how the new law would affect her own employer.
Indonesia’s law applies only to government-run health care institutions, such as hospitals and clinics, and not to private or nonprofit institutions.
The law does not prohibit public health workers from disclosing their sexual orientations or gender identities, but it does require employers to notify workers of their sexual identity and gender identity.
It also does not require employers with more than 20 employees to inform workers about their sexual preference.
The law does require that employers disclose their orientation to employees if they have a medical condition, but employers are not obliged to notify their workers about a condition.
In the United States, the law has not been widely enforced and the health insurance companies and employers have refused to disclose the names of gay, lesbian and bisexual workers.
The U.K. government recently banned public health employees from disclosing the sexual orientation of employees who do not have a mental health condition.
“They’re really afraid that they’re going to lose their job,” said Peter McBride, a health care worker at the British Royal Infirmary.
McBride said he did not want to disclose his sexual orientation.
“That would be a terrible thing to do, because they’re not getting the right training,” he said.
“It’s very dangerous for them and for the country.”
A U.N. report found that as many as one in five LGBT people in the United Kingdom was denied employment, including a third of LGBT workers.
In some countries, such the United Arab Emirates, homosexuality is criminalized, including for drug offenses, which could be grounds for dismissal.
But gay men in the UAE, which is a predominantly Muslim nation, are not required to disclose whether they are gay or lesbian to their bosses.
The only requirement is that they sign a pledge to refrain from homosexual conduct.
A survey in the Arab world, published by the International LGBT Task Force, found that a quarter of LGBT people surveyed did not have an employer who was willing to discuss their sexual identities with them.
“Many people are afraid to be out, because of the stigma,” said Abu Bakr, a 27-year-old who requested anonymity to avoid harassment from his employer.
“They’re afraid to reveal their sexual desires, because there’s fear that if they do, then they’ll be punished.”
The survey found that one in three gay men and one in four lesbians surveyed in the region were not satisfied with their work and felt that they were discriminated against.
In Indonesia, the health authority said it is investigating whether to issue fines to private health care employers who fail to notify employees about their medical condition.
The Health Ministry, which administers health care, has not responded to a request for comment.
The Health Ministry did not immediately respond to a written question about whether it will investigate the employer’s failure to notify the workers of a sexual orientation and gender condition.
But the ministry’s spokesman, Hamidu Abdul-Aziz, told The Associated Press that the ministry is already taking preventive measures.
He said the ministry has taken action against private employers who do allow employees to disclose sexual orientation, such a sexual preference, gender identity or HIV status.