Servicing the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community

OUT provides direct health services to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, MSM, sex workers, and injecting drug users, including HIV testing, counselling, treatment and general lifestyle advice and support.

OUT has been in existence for more than 21 years and is dedicated to the building of healthy and empowered LGBT communities in South Africa and internationally, while reducing hetrosexism and homophobia in society.

National study on viral hepatitis in key populations in South Africa set to begin recruitment.

Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are infectious diseases that affect the liver. They are usually without symptoms for many years. This means that those infected are infectious without even knowing it and can silently develop progressive liver damage. This year the World Health Organisation (WHO) released the first ever Global Strategy for Viral Hepatitis.  The strategy aims to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030.

People who inject drugs, sex workers and men who have sex with men are at higher risk of contracting viral hepatitis B and C. Viral hepatitis is a particular concern in a context of high HIV prevalence because co-infection can result in more rapid progression of both diseases. 

At present viral hepatitis services for “key populations” are limited in South Africa and there is very little information on prevalence levels, though studies that have been done indicate that rates are high in key population groups. The forthcoming study is funded by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation Secure the Future, and implemented by TB/HIV Care Association, in partnership with the University of Cape Town, Anova Health Institute, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases and OUT Wellbeing. 

Spanning seven cities – Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Mthatha, Pietermaritzburg, Port Elizabeth and Durban – the study builds on already occurring service delivery processes. 

Hepatitis B and C diagnosis usually require expensive and time-consuming laboratory activities. In this study, participants will be tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C at service delivery sites. The point-of-care (‘rapid’) hepatitis C testing will be done in a variety of ways, and the results will be compared to standard laboratory tests. This will indicate whether inexpensive rapid test mechanisms can be reliably used in the South African context. If this proves to be the case, it opens up new possibilities for making hepatitis testing a common part of health screening processes. 

The study’s results will provide an evidence base to support national efforts to reach the WHO 2030 target of reducing the public health threat of viral hepatitis to zero. 

 

Services
Have you been threatened, hit, raped or had your property damaged or stolen because you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI)? Then you have been a victim of a hate crime.
OUT offers exciting training to mainstream service providers and other interested parties. The training assists individuals to understand themselves as sexual beings.
Currently OUT distributes safer sex packs to a range of venues in Tshwane that are utilised by gay men and lesbian women. These packs also include responsible sex messaging, appropriate barrier methods and lube.
OUT's Engage Men’s Health project offers free and confidential sexual health services to gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM).