Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi

The Minister of Health, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, is scheduled to open the upcoming international symposium on men who have sex with men (MSM) in Cape Town with an opening address.

In September last year Motsoaledi committed his department to working with LGBT groups to ensure equality in the provision of health services.

From 23 to 25 May academics, researchers, policy makers, healthcare practitioners and members of government will gather in Cape Town to discuss HIV prevention, treatment and care for MSM.

Aptly titled Top2Btm, the event is coordinated by the Anova Health Institute and funded by PEPFAR. Anova runs the Health4Men clinics in Cape Town and Soweto, dedicated to the sexual health of MSM. It is also active in Mafikeng and Pretoria.

Overall, men who have sex with men are considered more at risk of HIV. According to the event’s organisers, prejudice by health care providers and the stigma surrounding HIV and homosexuality act as serious barriers for MSM (and gay-identifying men in particular) to seeking out sexual health care.

“These men are outside the reach of most HIV prevention and treatment efforts, which has serious implications for addressing South Africa’s HIV epidemic on the whole,” said Prof James McIntyre, Executive Director of Anova.

Amongst the speakers at the symposium are Dr. Stefan Baral (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health), Dr. Anita Radix (Director of Research and Education at the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in New York), Prof. David Lewis (National Institute for Infectious Diseases), Dr. Rob Stephenson (Emory University), Prof. LindaGail Bekker (Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation) and McIntyre.

Particular areas of discussion will include the use of technology in reaching men who have sex with men, male sex workers and HIV, encouraging prevention amongst HIV positive men, mental health and the use of recreational drugs, HIV and transgender people, training public healthcare workers to provide services to MSM, anal cancer, hepatitis and couples-based HIV testing.

The Top2Btm: Prevention, Care and Treatment for MSM Symposium is hosted at The Vineyard Hotel and Conference Center in Cape Town. For more information on attending the conference, phone (011) 715 5804 or send an email to:

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