Free HIV, TB & STI Screening

At partner facilities you will have access to free and confidential HIV, TB and STI screening. If you test negative, a healthcare professional will provide you with information on safer sex and prevention interventions such as PrEP. If your test is positive, a healthcare professional will provide you with information and refer you for treatment.

HIV Prevention

Beyond testing, at our facilities healthcare professionals are available to provide you with information on safer sex and the prevention of transmitting or contracting HIV and STIs. They can advise on the use of ART, PrEP, PEP and will provide you with free condoms and water-based lubricants.

HIV Treatment

If you have tested HIV positive, you will be provided with free antiretroviral treatment therapy (ART). Your healthcare professional will monitor your condition on an on-going basis to provide support and to ensure that you adhere to your treatment and achieve viral suppression.

STI Treatment

If you have screened positive for an STI, your healthcare professional will provide you with treatment according to your condition. They will also provide counselling and measures to prevent transmission of the STI to your sexual partner.

TB Treatment

If you have screened positive for TB, your healthcare professional will refer you for onward management according to laid down TB guidelines.

HIV & STI Risks

South Africa has a high HIV prevalence which means that any condomless sex carries the risk of contracting HIV as well as STIs. These risks increase if you have concurrent sexual partners. Penetrative anal sex is riskier than penetrative vaginal sex. If you are HIV negative and are unsure of your partner’s status, always use a condom.

To protect yourself, you should also find out if your partner is HIV negative or positive. You may consider going on to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) in order to protect yourself from HIV. To get onto PrEP, you can consult with a healthcare worker at your nearest clinic.

HIV & STI Prevention

Condoms

The most effective way to protect yourself against HIV and STIs is to practice safer sex with 100% condom use. This means using condoms and water-based lubricants every time you engage in penetrative sex. When having oral sex, it is recommended that you use a condom. Engaging in condomless penetrative anal sex puts you at risk of contracting HIV and STIs.

Know Your Status

Safer sex involves ensuring that you protect yourself from HIV and STIs. You can do this by knowing your status, and your partner(s) status. You can access free, confidential testing at one of our dedicated facilities.

PrEP

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is the use of anti-HIV medication that keeps HIV- negative people from getting HIV. HIV-negative people who take their PrEP every day can lower their risk of acquiring HIV infection by more than 90%.
PrEP only works if it is taken every day as prescribed but you don’t need to take PrEP for the rest of your life – only during a period during which you are at a significant risk for contracting HIV. You will need to test negative for HIV test before beginning PrEP and you will need to take an HIV test every 3 months while taking it.

PEP

PEP (Post-exposure Prophylaxis) refers to antiretroviral medicines (ART) that are taken after exposure or possible exposure to HIV. PEP should be used within 72 hours after exposure to HIV. If you think you’ve recently been exposed to HIV during sex or if you have been sexually assaulted, talk to your health care provider at your nearest clinic.

Testing and Treatment Process

HIV Testing

When to Get Tested

It is good health practice to test for HIV and STIs on a regular basis. Free tests are available at one of our dedicated facilities. After possible exposure to HIV, there is a six-week window period during which the HIV virus can manifest. If at first you test negative, you must get tested again after the window period.

How the HIV Test Works

Testing for HIV is a simple process and usually involves taking a small sample of blood. Some HIV tests will give a result within 20 minutes and other tests are sent to a lab so it may take longer to get your results. Before you test, your healthcare worker will talk to you about your sexual health, why you’ve decided to test, and any risks you may have taken. Remember, the healthcare professional is not there to judge you. There is nothing you can say that they haven’t heard from someone else. Be honest with them, and ask as many questions as you want – they are there for you and will patiently listen to any concerns that you have and answer all of your questions. All HIV testing is 100% confidential and takes place in a non-discriminatory environment.

Know Your Rights

HIV testing should:

  • Involve your full consent.
  • Be 100% confidential.
  • Give you an opportunity to speak to a professional about what’s involved.
  • Give you a positive or negative result.
  • Depending on your results, give you information on further treatment or prevention services.

After the Test

Testing HIV Positive

If you test positive for HIV, your healthcare worker will counsel you on what the next steps are. Receiving a positive diagnosis can be a traumatic and emotional experience and this reaction is completely normal. The healthcare worker is there to support you and to answer any questions that you have. Treatment means that HIV is now a manageable illness. Your healthcare provider can link you to support services and ART treatment. Your test result will remain 100% confidential and the only people who know will be you and the medical professionals involved in your care and treatment. Your healthcare worker or counsellor can advise you of your rights and on how to tell other people if and when you are ready.

Testing HIV Negative

If you have tested negative for HIV, the most important thing is staying negative. Your healthcare worker will explain that you need to protect yourself during sex by using condoms. They will also advise on you on the use of PrEP. You will still need to have regular tests for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you’ve taken an HIV test within the window period since exposure, you must test again after 3 months. If you’ve had unprotected sex since your last HIV test you will also have to test again!

HIV Treatment

Antiretroviral Therapy

If you have tested positive for HIV, you will be provided with antiretroviral therapy (ART) immediately. ART is the use of HIV medicines to treat HIV infection. ART is recommended for everyone who has HIV. ART can’t cure HIV, but HIV medicines help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. ART also reduces the risk of HIV transmission. Your healthcare worker will provide you with the medication and will inform you of how to take it. You must adhere to your treatment and stay on the ART.

Mental Health and Wellness

Counselling & Support

There are numerous organisations nationwide that provide counselling and wellness services for MSM. If you need psychological support or assistance with family counselling, contact us so that we can link you to your nearest counselling and wellness healthcare provider.

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