The LGBTQIA+ community has historically been disproportionately affected by sexually-transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. However, medical advances means that this is not necessarily the case any more, but many people who are members of this community shy away from seeking medical help or advice from (public) health care facilities due to the fear of being humiliated or feeling embarrassed. While South Africa’s healthcare system still has a long way to go in improving its service delivery and being more accommodating, here are some queer-friendly (public) health care centers that you should know about.
Health4Men – Chiawelo clinic (Soweto)
The Chiawelo clinic in Soweto is facilitated by the Health4Men department, which offers exclusive HIV and STI screening, provides ARVs to members of the gay and bisexual community. The clinic will be also be issuing PrEP as of February this year. The clinic also offers counselling and sexual advice on how to engage in healthy and low risk sexual intercourse.
For more details on other healthcare services offered at the clinic you can contact them on 071 150 1750
OUT is a healthcare organisation that has been in existence for over 21 years, offering direct health care services to the LGBT community, including HIV testing, counselling, treatment and how to live a low risk sexual lifestyle as a queer folk. Check out their website for more details.
Health4Men at Yeoville clinic
Situated in the Johannesburg CBD, Yeoville clinic also offers a variety of healthcare assistance to queer folk from HIV testing, STI treatment, counselling and sexual health care tips.
A medical branch of OUT, Ten81 is a medical specialist clinic based in Pretoria specifically designated for the LGBTQIA+ community, men who have sex with men (MSM), sex workers and drug users. The center offers a variety of health care services specifically tailored to the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community and MSM. For more details, you can check out their website.
Zola clinic (Soweto)
The Zola Community Health Care Center offers healthcare assistance to gay, bisexual, and men who have sex with other men (MSM). The health care center also offers HIV testing, counselling the provides sexual health advice and counselling.
You can contact the Health4Men department at Zola Clinic on 071 286 3762.
In an interview with The Daily Vox, writer and queer activist Phumlani Kango said that while there may be information on queer-friendly healthcare facilities, a lot of members from the LGBTQIA+ community are not aware of this information. “I think another problem is the areas these places are situated in. They are out of reach for the LGBTI community and people have to travel to these gay-friendly spaces to get medical help,” he said.
Kango said that government needs to look at integrating more LGBT healthcare needs into already existing healthcare facilities.
“However, some facilities will need to train their nurses when it comes to LGBT and MSM, because a lot of stigma comes nurses and ignorance,” he said.
While also acknowledging how unsafe most traditional healthcare centres are for queer folk, Kango also said that the LGBTQIA+ community also needs its own healthcare centered, in order to create safe and comfortable spaces for men who are still in the closet and those who are learning to be comfortable with their sexualities.