Introducing… Brian, Phumlani and Arm – three LGBT+ and sexual health activists, facing three questions.
Question one: What stops men who have sex with men seeking sexual health services?
Brian: So I think the biggest barrier is, you know, the perceptions and negative attitudes by healthcare professionals.
Arm: And I have my friend that works as like a sex worker or in the porn industry. Some of their data was leaked in the social media, when they get into the health care service, by the staff that work in the clinic.
Question two: How can health practitioners make services friendlier for men who have sex with men?
Phumlani: I would say they need to go out and do research and they need to have conversations with the various MSM groups where they actually get to understand our lived experiences because my lived experience as a gay man is different to that of a male sex worker who might identify as MSM.
Arm: To make us confident that the data will be stored correctly and be safe and not leaking.
Question three: How can service facilities be made more accessible?
Phumlani: Not a lot of people want to go on weekends to the clinics because there still is a stigma for some funny reason where people don't want to be seen sitting in a line to get PrEP or they don't want to be seen at the clinic at all.
So I'd say those hours, for example, if they operate after hours because a lot of people are working, so if they have hours with let's say they open from 5 until 9 to allow other people to come in, it would definitely help.
Brian: Delivery of medication and actually giving people home test kits for HIV. That would actually be a big win for people.
Gay men and other men who have sex with men often experience unfriendly HIV services. We spoke to activists Brian Sibeko-Ngidi, Phumlani Kango and Siripong Srichau (aka Arm) to hear their stories and better understand the issues.