South Africa's LGBTI newspaper since the 1980's

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Police say 50 dead in gay nightclub massacre

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Officials now say that 50 people were killed inside Pulse, the Orlando, Florida gay nightclub, by a lone gunman, in what they’ve described as an “act of terrorism”, though it appears likely to have been motivated by homophobia.

In a briefing by police and FBI officers, it was revealed that the horrific incident began at around 2 a.m. on Sunday morning.
The gunman first started shooting at revellers outside the nightclub. A police officer working as a security guard at the venue exchanged fire and reported the attack.

The suspect entered the busy nightclub and then began shooting at the around 350 partygoers inside. As panicked people fled from the scene, the gunman took dozens hostage and a stand-off ensued with the police.
Officers, who were in touch with people inside the venue, then decided to go in and “save the hostages”.
At around 5 a.m. they made an “explosive entry”, used an armoured vehicle to break down a wall and exchanged gunfire with the gunman, killing him.
Officials said that around 20 people had been killed inside the club, while about 30 hostages were rescued.
Another 52 people have been transported to hospital and are being treated for gunshot wounds.

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Annually, the 17th of May marks International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. It was created in 2004 to draw the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people as well as all those who do not conform to majority sexual and gender norms.
Recently, a slew of complaints were submitted to the Advertising Standards Authority following the flighting of an advertisement featuring two men of different races kissing and ending with a condom being unwrapped. These complaints highlight the level of stigmatisation and discrimination that gay and other non-gay identifying men who have sex with men (MSM) face.wethebravekiss
The advertisement was created by, the first large scale sexual health campaign ever in South Africa to specifically address MSM - the most vulnerable population for HIV acquisition and transmission. This initiative was created by the Anova Health Institute and The Elton John AIDS Foundation with the goal of helping men who have sex with men lead healthy, sexual lives. The advertisement was designed to address prevention issues in an affirming, non-judgemental and sex-positive way that asks MSM to be brave enough to make healthy sexual choices like wearing a condom.
One complainant stated, “I am all for safe sex education, but promoting safe sex between ‘men’ is taking it a step too far.” Others spoke of the inappropriateness of “promoting” and “condoning” relationships amongst men.

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Dr. Rad talks Flu Jab

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Dr. Oscar Radebe, Clinical Manager: Senior Medical and Communications Consultant for Health4Men, answers some questions about getting the flu vaccine.OscarRadebe
1. What is the flu vaccine, and how does it work?
Flu vaccines are created to protect against seasonal flu, which affects millions of people each year. The vaccine is trivalent, which means it is three vaccines combined into one to protect against three common viruses: influenza A (H1N1) virus, influenza A (H3N2) virus, and the influenza B virus. The vaccine is injected to stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies, which can take up to 2 weeks to fight against the virus. So, it is recommended that you get a vaccine, at least, a month before flu season starts (May/June).
2. My friend said that he got sick after he took the vaccine. Is it possible that the vaccine itself can make you sick?
No, the flu vaccine does not make you sick, but there could be other reasons why you became ill and the common ones are:
• You vaccinated late and had already been exposed to the flu virus
• Your immune system was weak at that time of vaccination, so your body could not produce enough antibodies to fight the flu
• You vaccinated in time, but the strain of the flu virus in that particular year has mutated or changed and has become resistant to the vaccine that you got

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When your BFF is living with HIV

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By Bruce J. Little

We sat around the pool chatting and laughing about stuff we’d gotten up to over the weekend.  We loved to do this; get together and compare dating war stories, and this always left us both wheezing from too much cackling and not enough breathing.  I was still mid the descending voiced sigh that usually ends a long spell of laughter when he said:  "I need to tell you something."h4mlogo

The news left me completely stunned with absolutely no idea what to say.  This is a guy that I could usually tell anything to, a person that shared my un-PC sense of humour and also loved to play in the realms of the inappropriate.  He and I sang Gaga together and flirted outrageously with petrol attendants. But I knew that what he had said was not meant to be funny. 

He wasn’t the first person I knew that was HIV-positive, but he was the first person that I knew well, and the last person I thought would ever acquire it. My first lesson, HIV is indiscriminate.

I said so many tactless things, and looking back I admire how well he coped with some of the stupid things I said and asked.  Knowing that I can't go back and change how I reacted then, at least, I can now help people to know what they should say if they ever find themselves in the same situation.

My first big mistake:  I got all formal and not like myself.  Because I felt unsure of what to say, I suddenly started to edit myself and to speak in a way that wasn't authentic. I must’ve sounded like a call centre agent from a complaints hotline. He picked it up immediately. Authenticity is the best first response.  "I'm sorry to hear that", wasn't the wrong thing to say so much as it wasn't the kind of thing I would usually say to him.  It was the kind of stuff you say to an acquaintance or disgruntled customer. I should have sworn out loud and grabbed and hugged him; that would've been more me.   What you say is not as important as the way that you say it.     

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Anova embraces the approval of PrEP in South Africa

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The Anova Health Institute welcomes the move by the Medicines Control Council (MCC) after they officially registered the use of a combination of two antiretroviral drugs as a form of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication. This pill, taken daily by the HIV negative individuals, can drastically reduce HIV infection.

Prof James McIntyre, CEO of Anova, says: “This is a major advance in HIV prevention in South Africa, with the potential to save many lives. The evidence is clear, PrEP works if you take it. Not everyone will need or want PrEP, or require it forever, but it can provide almost complete protection against infection if taken consistently. Our challenge is to educate users and move rapidly to ensure access for those who need it.”h4mlogo

Dr Kevin Rebe, Specialist Medical Consultant at Anova’s Health4Men Initiative, says: “The approval of PrEP is a major step forward in the fight against HIV. It is extremely effective and safe to use. It can reduce the risk of HIV by more than 90% in HIV negative people who use it correctly. This announcement will greatly facilitate the work that Anova conducts in HIV prevention. Our challenge now is to create demand for PrEP and to work towards removing barriers to access.”

Anova, in collaboration with the Desmond Tutu HIV Research Unit, already has a PrEP demonstration project underway within state sector clinics. Anova is working to develop tools that will allow PrEP to be nurse-driven and scaled up by the Department of Health.

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