The Constitution of South Africa protects the rights of people living with HIV. It doesn’t allow discrimination and protects people’s right to privacy and confidentiality. In South Africa, there aren’t any laws that force people to tell others about their HIV status. People who do test positive should tell their partner, so that they can be protected and also have an HIV test. People with HIV/AIDS in South Africa are protected by the Bill of Rights and have the same rights which protect all citizens.
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 service is managed by Health4Men, an innovative project of the Anova Health Institute and is supported by PEPFAR and USAID.
The new Yeoville site is run in partnership with the City of Johannesburg, who have agreed to incorporate Anova’s specialised MSM programme at one of the city’s busiest clinics. The partnership comes into effect with the signing of a memorandum of agreement between the City of Johannesburg and its NGO partners this evening, 22 May 2012.
This comes as the provision of non-stigmatising sexual health care for men who have sex with men (MSM) is increasingly being recognised as a priority in effectively responding to South Africa’s HIV epidemic.
MSM are seen as a high-risk population in terms of HIV, with infection rates well-above the general male population. According to Health4Men’s Glenn de Swardt: “When they seek healthcare, they often experience prejudice which ultimately leads to neglect and sub-standard care.” A recent survey of MSM in the township areas surrounding Cape Town, conducted by Health4Men and the Centre for Gender Studies at the University of Cambridge, revealed an HIV prevalence rate of 34%.
“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.”
With their MSM-friendly services and sex-positive approach, Health4Men sites across the country are helping to change the way men think about health care. The Yeoville site adds to Health4Men’s three clinics located in Soweto plus clinics in Khayelitsha and Woodstock, Cape Town.
You will find the Yeoville clinic is nestled amongst three inner-city landmarks: between the Swimming Pool, Police Station and the Yeoville Recreation Centre, at 1219 Kenmere (corner of Kenmere and Hopkins). The site will operate from 08:00 till 16:00, weekdays. Services will include HIV and STI screening, ARV treatment and CD4 counts.