The National Center for Global Health and Medicine (NCGM) in Tokyo will establish an outpatient treatment section specifically for gay patients with sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) -- the first of its kind in Japan and a reflection of the growing acceptance of diverse sexual identities.
Around 1,500 new cases of HIV or AIDS are reported annually in Japan, with around 70 percent connected to sexual activity between men. Many of the patients are young, in their 20s to 30s.
Regarding the planned outpatient service, which will be introduced possibly by the end of the year, Shinichi Oka, head of NCGM's AIDS Clinical Center, says, "The goal is to give regular support to people who have a high risk of becoming infected with HIV."
The section will provide outpatient treatment for men with syphilis, anal chlamydia, or gonorrhea. The center says the risk of HIV infection rises by about seven times if one of the people involved has anal chlamydia or gonorrhea, and due to the lack of symptoms, a person will not know they have HIV until being tested.