South Africa’s National Strategic Plan (2012-2016) highlights the need for policy development related to so-called ‘key populations’ which include men who have sex with men (MSM), sex workers and people who inject drugs, in order to ensure that our responses to the HIV pandemic are inclusive of these populations.
New study reveals exceptionally high HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men in Mpumalanga, indicating an urgent need to improve services.
According to the Mpumalanga Men’s Study, gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) in Mpumalanga are among the hardest hit by the HIV epidemic. HIV prevalence may be up to 30% among this high-risk group with large numbers of new infections occurring in the last 12 months.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) can now access specialised health care at the Yeoville clinic in central Johannesburg, including free and confidential HIV and STI screening and free treatment for men who test positive.
“The new Health4Men site is a significant development for all men who have sex with men residing in Johannesburg who have been unable to access to appropriate services within the public sector,” explains Prof James McIntyre, Executive Director of the Anova Health Institute. “Now these men have a space where they feel welcome and can be honest about their sexuality when interacting with medical staff.”
Recreational drug use can make people more likely to be infected by HIV. Also, for people taking antiretroviral medications (ARVs) to fight HIV, there can be some serious interactions between drugs and ARVs. These interactions can lead to under- or overdoses of ARVs or recreational drugs. Some of these may be fatal.
In the wake of local actress Lesego Motsepe’s astonishing public announcement, a column in Tuesday’s (14 February 2012) The Times questions the value of using celeb power as a driver of causes and campaigns.