From top to bottom
24 June 2011
This manual draws on the experience of the Anova Health Institute’s Health4Men project that provides sexual health services for men who have sex with men (MSM) in South Africa. The manual is a resource to assist health care workers to provide appropriate and accessible psycho-social and medical care for MSM.
The Health4Men project was initiated in 2008 when the South African Department of Health started to focus on providing HIVrelated services for MSM in accordance with the National Strategic Plan (NSP).
The Anova Health Institute supported this initiative by developing the sex-positive model for addressing MSM sexual health – with an emphasis on HIV – for implementation throughout South Africa.
In line with the PEPFAR technical guidance, released in May 20111, Health4Men provides a comprehensive package that includes combination HIV prevention linked to competent MSM sexual health and HIV services. Health4Men now has services in Gauteng, North West and Western Cape provinces. Two clinics specialise in MSM HIV-related care and treatment – the Ivan Toms Centre for Men’s Health in Cape Town and the Simon Nkoli Centre for Men’s Health in Johannesburg.
Going forward, MSM services will be integrated into public health facilities to maximise reach and sustainability. In addition to MSM services, Health4Men focuses on the health needs of other high-risk male populations, including displaced persons and refugees, prison populations, commercial sex workers and intravenous drug users.
The Anova Health Institute undertakes research and specialises in innovative projects that extend to hard-to-reach populations.
The Health4Men project has significant expertise in preventative interventions specifically with diverse groupings of MSM.
There are many barriers to MSM accessing health care. These include:
• A lack of understanding, prejudice and judgement by healthcare providers and among MSM themselves;
• Embarrassment, and
• A perception that health services cater mostly for heterosexual people.
The Anova Health Institute has identified a need to disseminate the Health4Men project’s expertise and experience in working with MSM. This is being done through a series of publications and, more specifically, through training. The latter includes establishing competent MSM services, specifically in community clinics, in partnership with the Department of Health and local health authorities.
A sex-positive approach for healthcare providers