South Africa's LGBTI newspaper since the 1980's

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Elton John supports local gay men to combat HIV

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A new $7 million grant for the Anova Health Institute's Health4Men project to address HIV in South Africa's gay, bisexual and MSM (men who have sex with men) community has been announced in both Washington and Johannesburg. This significant international funding boost to expand MSM-targeted HIV-related services in South Africa is the result of a new partnership between the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

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In Washington, Sir Elton John and American Secretary of State, John Kerry, announced the collaboration between the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) and the U.S President's Emergency Fund for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) to support initiatives focusing on MSM in South Africa.

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Letting my 'guard' down

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Shortly before my 28th birthday, I discovered that a friend of mine was HIV positive. He wasn't a very close friend, but I knew him quite well and it came as a shock to me because he was well educated, intelligent and financially established in the world, and I believed that people like him did not get HIV. I couldn't understand how someone like that could be "dumb" enough to have unprotected sex. In the nineties almost every gay movie I could get my hands on was about gay men struggling with HIV or AIDS. How could he not have known to wear a condom? It was constantly drummed into us.

After a few years I moved to the big city and met other clever, educated people with HIV, and assumed it was drug or alcohol related. Why else would they have had unprotected sex?

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Sex really is overrated

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We put so much effort into finding dick or ass and as soon as you shoot your load, it's all over. Take website profiles, for example. We invest hours into making sure we have the perfect profile, pictures and intriguing blogs. Then after hours, sometimes days of going through tons of stupid inboxes, nudges and confessions you finally get that character you somewhat connect with.

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Check your assumptions

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We all make countless assumptions every day. We assume that in the morning the kettle and toaster will do their jobs, that the car will start or that our train will arrive at the station. We make assumptions about our partners, our family members, our colleagues and our friends, and about strangers.

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Multi-faceted prevention the way forward

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The buzz-word in terms of HIV prevention among gay and bisexual men plus other men who have sex with men (MSM, which includes straight men who occasionally play) is undoubtedly combination prevention. This implies a combination of bio-medical, behavioural and related strategies that, in various combinations, offer the best prevention against STIs and HIV.

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