Key populations frustrated by “uncaring, disrespectful and cruel treatment” in public health system

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Nthusang Lefafa looks at the latest Ritshidze report for key populations and speaks to some public healthcare experts about possible solutions to challenges facing those marginalised groups who carry a high burden of the HIV pandemic.

The third edition of Ritshidze's State of Healthcare for Key Populations report surveyed almost 14 000 gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, people who use drugs, sex workers and transgender people.

“One of the core success factors of NGO-led facilities is that they are peer-led, which means that if it is a clinic for sex workers, it is run by sex workers, if it is a clinic for men sleeping with men, it is led by men sleeping with men. This allows the clinic to know what the health needs and sensitivities are of that particular group, which creates a more welcoming and safe space.”

The sensitisation work involves training healthcare workers at public clinics to understand the sexual orientation spectrum of key populations. One way of ending discrimination, Pienaar says, is greater exposure of public clinic nurses to key populations through creating key population friendly-centres.

While there has been an ongoing increase in the number of sites where staff say they prioritise offering PrEP to key populations, a less-rosy picture emerged when Ritshidze asked members of key populations whether they had been offered PrEP. Looking at the figures for the past three years in totality, the general trend is downward.According to the report, gaps lie in many services and not only PrEP availability.

Source: Healthcare Press (


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