“Nothing I hate like homosexuals, the founders of AIDS!” “If they burn with sex desire why can’t they quench it with a woman?” These comments and more greeted an article posted on The Sowetan Live website. The story has attracted a considerable amount of negative comment, even though it was only jettisoned into cyberspace 45 minutes ago.
During May Health4Men erected a prominent billboard (3×6 meters) at the site C taxi rank in Khayelitsha, adjacent to Health4Men's Khayeltisha Men's Clinic.
The initiative required careful consideration in order not to offend anyone in a traditionally conservative community, whilst also providing a clear message to men who have sex with men (MSM). Two volunteers agreed to be photographed and MSM living in Khayeltisha and surrounding townships were consulted on the imagery and symbols, copy and general tone of the design. The final design was only approved following consultation with Health4Men's township Ambassadors.
The design highlights Health4Men's Ukwazana campaign which promotes sexual health and social equity among township-dwelling MSM, and challenges prejudice and stigma. Ukwazana activities include providing free sachets of water-based lubricant and condoms at shebeens used by MSM, regular community gatherings and educational workshops, and peer education on public trains. The campaign is being supported by the Centre for Gender Studies at the Univeristy of Cambridge.