HIV infection highest among MSM

Published: November 11, 2014

Mail & Guardian
Mia Malan
Original Article:

Almost half of the men who have sex with men in Durban are HIV infected and about a quarter of such men in Johannesburg and Cape Town have HIV, according to a Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) study that was released on Tuesday.

The Durban figure of 48.2% is significantly higher than the 37.4% HIV infection rate among pregnant women who attend government clinics in Kwazulu-Natal, the country’s highest rate in this category, according to government data.

The term “men who have sex with men” (MSM) refers to “all biological males who have sex with other biological males, irrespective of the person’s sexual orientation and gender expression”, the study authors point out. In other words, MSM does not only refer to gay men, but also to bisexual men, some of them in stable heterosexual relationships. 

According to infectious diseases physician Kevin Rebe from the Anova Health Institute’s Health4men project in Cape Town, South Africa does not have reliable figures on what percentage of men who identify as heterosexual also engage in male-to-male sex. At Health4Men’s Siseko Men’s clinic, that offers treatment and screening for HIV and sexually transmitted infections in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, about 10% of men who are heterosexual also report having sex with men.

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