Almost half (48.2%) of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) in Durban are estimated to be living with HIV.
This is according to the South Africa MSM Data Triangulation Project Report published by the Department of Health.
Factors listed in the report contributing to this exorbitant figure include alcohol usage around sexual encounters, having three or more sexual partners and engaging in unprotected anal intercourse.
With Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) having the highest HIV burden in the country and MSM being the most vulnerable population for HIV acquisition and transmission, WeTheBrave.co.za is now being rolled out in the province.
Spearheaded by the Anova Health Institute and funded by the Elton John Aids Foundation, this is the first large scale sexual health campaign ever in South Africa to specifically address gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.
“With the International AIDS Conference Week and Durban Pride Week occurring simultaneously, we felt that this was the perfect time to introduce the KZN region to our campaign with information stands at both events,” says Nina Morris Lee, Head of Marketing at Anova Health Institute.
“WeTheBrave.co.za addresses both prevention and treatment issues in an affirming, non-judgemental and sex-positive way that is both entertaining and enlightening,” she adds.
Professor James McIntyre, Anova Health Institute CEO, commented: “We hope that as a result of the campaign, MSM in KZN will have the knowledge and opportunities to prevent new HIV infections, that they will understand the benefits of regular HIV testing to know their status and that they will use antiretroviral treatment when and if they need it.”
The WeTheBrave.co.za campaign, which launched in Johannesburg in June 2015, Cape Town in February 2016 and Mpumalanga in March 2016, links to Anova’s Health4Men clinical services in the public sector and independent clinicians in the private sector.