New cellphone technology to promote safe sex for men who have sex with men

Published: May 20, 2011

Health4Men, a project of the Anova Health Institute launches a new cellphone-based HIV information service for men who have sex with men on Friday, 20 May.

Health4Men Connect is a mobi site that provides sexual health information to MSM (men who have sex with men, irrespective of their sexual identity) and, importantly, will allow people to post questions directly to a team of experts on MSM sexual health.

The service will allow men to gain immediate information, and will be useful to men who don’t have access to the Internet via a computer, or are in situations where they cannot access such information on the Internet due to a lack of privacy.

“There is a marked lack of HIV-related information, specifically for men who have sex with men, in South Africa. We are hopeful that this service will help to remedy the situation by allowing MSM throughout South Africa to access topical information, and indeed to interact with our team of experienced doctors,” says Professor James McIntyre, head of the Anova Health Institute. He added that similar initiatives elsewhere in the world had been very successful.

Information on the site is based on Health4Men’s extensive experience in the area of sexual health care for MSM, having established the first two public-sector clinics in Africa dedicated to MSM sexual health with an emphasis on HIV. These clinics are located in Cape Town and Soweto, and have over 5 000 men in care.
 
“The service is aimed at both HIV positive and HIV negative men. In addition to information on HIV prevention, we will focus on treatment-related issues such as when to commence antiretroviral treatment, lifestyle issues, responsible sex and challenges related to disclosure,” says Health4Men’s Glenn de Swardt.

In addition to responding to questions posted via Health4Men Connect on a daily basis, the site will be updated weekly with articles and links to other sites. It is also capable of hosting videos and sound-bites.
 
To access the service, simply send a ‘please call me’ message or SMS your postal code to 071 212 5665 from a cellular phone. A link to the site will be sent automatically.

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