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Health care sector unfriendly to gay men

The Top2Btm AIDS Priorities Conference has once again put MSM in the spotlight with an article published by Health-e journalist Khopotso Bodibe.


The article takes a look at the current and pressing issues of MSM trying to access health care and the negative effects that this has on the basic health care of such a marginalised group.


Points highlighted refer to the hostility and ridicule that many MSM feel whilst visiting primary health care clinics, due to this type of treatment many MSM are not taking the necessary precautions whilst engaging in risky sexual activity leading to an increase in HIV prevalence amongst MSM.


With commentary from Anova’s Executive Director James McIntyre and Health4Men’s Clinical Manager Dr. Michael Laurino, Health-e has taken an insightful stance on reporting on such a topic.


"The homophobic attitudes of public health care workers may have a direct influence on the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in the gay community. Many gay men or men who have sex with other men avoid the public health service out of fear of being ridiculed.


Gay men or men who have sex with men in township areas like Soweto are less likely to seek health care in the public sector as a result of the inhumane treatment that they often endure at the hands of public health care workers. According to Dr Michael Laurino, clinical manager of Health4Men, a dedicated clinical and psychological service for men who have sex with men in Johannesburg, this has been documented in a few studies.

“There have been qualitative narrative surveys around their experience of accessing primary health care clinics. There’s clear evidence that people are subjected to prejudice, they are often ridiculed. It can be quite demeaning or humiliating disclosing one’s sexuality. And disclosing one’s sexual practices can often be met with hostility and ridicule”, Dr Laurino says.

“MSM are very wary about presenting to services and telling the health care providers that they are gay or that they are MSM. One of our participants in one of our studies said ‘they treat you as a different thing’. They don’t treat them as people”, adds Dr James McIntyre, Chief Executive Officer of Anova Health Institute, which runs the Health4Men service…"


To read the full article, click here


More related articles:

MSM still sidelined in HIV programming, IRIN PlusNews, 27 May 2011

MSM still sidelined in HIV programming,, 27 May 2011

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