HIV/Aids

Updated 04 December 2017

MSM at high HIV risk: ‘Being gay is not a sickness’

When medical staff assume that all men are heterosexual, it puts men who have sex with men (MSM) at risk of being misdiagnosed and mistreated for various infections and viruses.

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There are 7.1 million people living with HIV in South Africa, placing many vulnerable groups at risk of transmission. Of those at risk are men who have sex with men (MSM) but who do not necessarily define themselves as gay.

When nursing or medical staff assume that all men are heterosexual, it puts MSM at risk of being misdiagnosed and mistreated for various infections and viruses, including HIV.

A new initiative

Anova Health has launched an initiative called Health4Men, which trains medical staff to to ensure prejudice-free and responsible healthcare is provided for this at-risk and often stigmatised social group.

This is the story of their ambassador and nurse trainer, and the challenges they have both faced in the pursuit of HIV reduction for MSM in South Africa.

Image credit: iStock

 

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HIV/Aids expert

Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria in 2005. She is a patients' rights activist and loves using social media to teach about HIV. She is in private practice in Johannesburg.

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