Welcome to the Me1st COVID-19 support platform. During the Coronavirus crisis, national lockdown and self-isolation, Me1st will continue to provide on-going sexual health, gender-based violence and psychological support for MSM.
MSM who are HIV positive, are likely to be at higher risk of contracting the new coronavirus respiratory disease, COVID-19, particularly if they are not on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment, due to compromised immune systems and low CD4 counts.
We encourage you to get tested and if positive you’ll be initiated on ARVs. People with a stable HIV infection, that is a high CD4 count and undetectable viral load, are likely less susceptible to influenza infections. However, if an HIV-infected person has low CD4 levels or other underlying diseases, an influenza infection may be more severe. Also, the viral load may temporarily increase during a viral infection, especially if the patient is not on HIV treatment.
Those who are on treatment need to strictly adhere to their treatment programme to ensure a better outcome should they contract coronavirus.
- If you are already on treatment, you should try to contact your current health facility to arrange an alternative pick-up/delivery for an advance supply of your medication so that you will not need to leave home often or spend too much time in crowded medical facilities and queues. If you need help with this, contact us so that we can put you in touch with a Me1st peer worker.
- If you need additional help with this, contact your nearest Me1st peer worker.
- If you would like to start taking PrEP, you will need to contact your peer worker to first arrange an HIV test.
- If you test negative, they will refer to your nearest Department of Health facility to be initiated onto PrEP. Once initiated, you will be able to collect your PrEP medication from your nearest Me1st clinic.
- If you test, HIV positive, your Me1st peer worker will help you to get started on ARV treatment.
If you have been a victim of gender-based violence of any kind including sexual assault, physical assault or intimate partner violence reach out to get help:
National Gender Based Violence helpline: 0800 428 428
Toll Free: *120*7867#
Or contact a Me1st peer worker in your area via WhatsApp – click here
- Be mindful of what you need for adhering to your PrEP and ARV treatment. Keep a reserve of non-perishable food and fresh water so that you have something to eat before taking your meds.
- Pick up an advance supply of PrEP and ARV so that you can continue to adhere to your treatment without having to leave the house too frequently.
- If you are feeling anxious, stigmatised or vulnerable, please reach out for support. Call 0800 567 567 or get in touch with your nearest Me1st peer worker.
- No matter what, keep practicing safer sex. National healthcare and Me1st facilities are open during the lockdown period which means that you will still have access to free condoms and lube.
Official Toll-Free Call Centre: 0800 029 999
Clinicians Hotline: 082 883 9920
Official WhatsApp Help Service
Send HI to 0600 123 456 on WhatsApp.
or share this link: https://wa.me/27600123456?text=Hi
Gender Based Violence Hotline: 0800 428 428
Toll Free Gender Based Violence Helpline: *120*7867#
SA Depression & Anxiety Group Hotline: 0800 567 567