A new clinic for Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) serving the City of Johannesburg is now open and offering its services in Melville.
The Engage Men’s Health clinic is funded by the United States Presidents’ Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with FHI 360 and OUT Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender (LGBT) Well-being.
The clinic forms part of a comprehensive health and HIV-related service, which includes the Melville clinic as well as outreach / mobile services in the City of Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela Bay, and Buffalo City.
According to UNAIDS, the HIV prevalence amongst South African MSMs is 26.4%. The high prevalence stems from risky sexual practices as well as societal stigma. In a 2016 survey, it was found that 72% of South Africans believe that homosexuality is morally wrong, which makes it common for MSM individuals to feel shame and the need to hide their behaviour and identity. They may delay seeking health care because they anticipate judgement and can even be refused health care.
Dawie Nel, Director of Engage Men’s Health, says: “One should not underestimate the impact of stigma on health behaviours. It is very difficult to access MSM clients because they fear discrimination or simply have abandoned positive health behaviours.”
The Engage Men’s Health services include HIV testing, the provision of Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), screening for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and Tuberculosis, and will also provide condoms and lubrication.
The clinic is located at the “27 Boxes” centre on 4th Avenue in the vibrant Melville area, and is open every weekday and on Saturday mornings. Mobile services will also be provided in all seven regions within the City of Johannesburg; focusing on MSM hotspots and after-hour service provision. All services are free and confidential.
For more information or to book an appointment at the Engage Men’s Health clinic in Melville, please call 010 500 0934.