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CHECK #3 Bayern

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Community ENGLISH DISCRIMINATION MAKES YOU SICK HIV patients at the dentist "I just don't want to admit that I let myself be treated like that." P. wants to remain anonymous: “Because not everyone has to know that I am HIV positive. Especially not after what I've experienced.” In his early forties, he is successful in life and looks after his health, if not excessively. However, dental prophylaxis twice a year is a must. What he didn't know is that for years he was being discriminated against at his dental practice, with fatal consequences for his health. “I really felt at home there and the team was also very nice to me. I never questioned that prophylaxis was only ever done on special days and after the end of the shift because of my HIV status." Dental prophylaxis is also known as professional teeth cleaning and public health insurance does not cover the costs of 75-130 Euros. Tooth surfaces, interdental spaces and the gum pockets are cleaned as a precaution to prevent cavities from spreading and periodontitis, a bacterial inflammation of the tooth bed. Yet despite the regular prophylaxis, P. was all the more astonished when one day, plagued by extreme toothache, he had to go to an emergency dental clinic at night. The doctors there shook their heads in horror during the examination. Eight teeth were pitted with tooth decay, and in places that were difficult to reach: interdental spaces, on the inner side and on the molars and wisdom teeth, partially advanced to the root of the tooth. In addition, an early stage periodontitis was diagnosed. "My dentist and the nurse who did the prophylaxis should have seen that. Why didn’t they treat me properly?" P. has not reported the incident to this day, even if he had a good right to do so and could possibly spare other patients a similarly painful experience. “I just don't want to admit that I allowed myself to be treated like that. I take my HIV medication, so I'm not contagious. There was never a reason to disinfect the teeth cleaning equipment because of my HIV status. In principle, it's a scandal. And I'm incredibly embarrassed." P. then had the difficult repairs to his teeth carried out by a new dentist. The treatment dragged on for months and cost him well over 1000 Euros for the fillings alone. Illustration: flaticon.com 26 CHECK BAYERN #3

Community She made really strange and unscientific claims, like that we have to disinfect the stool because HIV could pass on through it. How crazy!" But P.’s is not a unique case. And even practicing dentists are not immune from discrimination. Lorenzo Ianello, for example, worked as an assistant doctor in a dental clinic in eastern Berlin. “I am gay and queer and of course I wanted to inform my friends that they could be treated with us.” A friend of his, who is trans and also HIV-positive, came for treatment and truthfully filled out the admission form. The staff there were shocked: “They were downright afraid of having to treat someone with HIV.” But even after Lorenzo told the team that the person had been taking medication regularly for ten years and was therefore not contagious, his colleagues were not convinced. “I was told that we could only treat people with HIV at the end of the day because the equipment needed special cleaning. I was suspicious, but then I thought that this is how things were done here." When another HIV patient was accidentally booked for a regular appointment, the boss approached Lorenzo: "She was very aggressive and told me that it was her clinic and I couldn't just do what I wanted. She said she was sure this was the right way to treat people with HIV. Then I also noticed a kind of homophobia and a lack of empathy. She made really strange and unscientific claims such as that we need to disinfect the chair because HIV could spread via the surface. How crazy!" Lorenzo tried to clarify and presented evidence that people who take their medication regularly are not contagious. But the dentist did not even go into hard facts. “She then said that she could never forgive herself if a child sat on this chair and then got HIV. Basically she was telling me that gay and HIV positive people are a threat to children. I handed in my notice and left." STRUCTURAL DISCRIMINATION Unfortunately, LGBTI* and discrimination are always inextricably linked. Those affected can’t always advocate for themselves immediately, partly for fear of further difficulties, partly because they unfortunately consider it normal to be treated differently. Discrimination is not something that just “happens” to you; it is often structural. Taking action against it is one of the tasks of a community that has had to fight for its rights and acceptance for a long time and still has to do so. P. is now considering officially reporting the incident or at least informing his former doctor's practice about what he has experienced. Lorenzo will soon open his own dental practice in Berlin-Schöneberg, in which such discrimination will have no place. (ts,mb) www.praxis-florenz.de In many German cities there are contact points for people who have suffered discrimination in the health sector. The Federal Government‘s Anti-Discrimination Agency (www.antidiskriminierungsstelle.de), for example, offers online forms for reporting such incidents. Community organisations such as the Berlin Network Against Discrimination (www.lsbti-berlin.de) can also help. CHECK BAYERN #3 27

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blu, hinnerk, gab, rik, Leo – die Magazine der blu Mediengruppe erscheinen monatlich in den Metropolen Deutschlands. Die nationale Reichweite der Magazine ermöglicht den reisefreudigen Lesern Zugriff auf alle Informationen immer und überall. Themenschwerpunkte sind neben der regionalen queeren Szene, Kultur, Wellness, Design, Mode und Reise. Unsere Titel sind mit der lokalen Community jahrzehntelang gewachsen und eng verbunden, was durch Medienpartnerschaften mit den CSD-Paraden in Hamburg, Berlin, München und Frankfurt sowie zahlreiche Kooperationen, wie der Christmas Avenue in Köln, seinen Ausdruck findet.