Gauteng’s MEC for Health, Ms Qedani Mahlangu, has opened a groundbreaking new clinic in Tshwane, catering to the needs of groups at high risk of HIV infection.
On Thursday 3 September, MEC Mahlangu cut the ribbon to officially inaugurate the TEN81 Centre, located at the offices of OUT LGBT Well-being in Hatfield.
She was accompanied by the Tshwane MMC for Health and Social Development, Cllr E Mabusela; the Rev Gift Moerane, from the Gauteng Civil Society Forum and the South African Council of Churches (SACC); and Ms Steve Letsike, Co-Chairperson of the South African National Aids Council (SANAC).
The ribbon cutting ceremony marked the integration of the TEN81 Centre into the Tshwane Public Health Network, as the designated Key Populations Clinic in Tshwane for men who have sex with men (MSM), lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, sex workers (SW), and people who inject drugs (PWID).
It is believed that the clinic is the first of its kind to be funded by Government in South Africa, and possibly the world.
In her address, the MEC encouraged the staff and peer educators at OUT and the TEN81 Centre to continue with their significant and necessary work in the sector, with the full support of Government, and specifically the Gauteng Department of Health.
The MEC further emphasised Government’s commitment to providing services to high risk key populations, adding that these groups enjoy all the rights of full citizens of South Africa; including the right to health care and protection under the law.
The event marked a significant milestone in the history of the OUT Clinic, which has existed since 2006.
“The transformation of the clinic to a comprehensive one for key populations in Tshwane is a major step for OUT in its mandate to serve the LGBTI community, now also including the addition of two vital key populations; namely sex workers and people who inject drugs,” commented Johan Meyer, Health Manager at OUT.
“It also gives a powerful message in terms of Government’s commitment to the basic human rights of all, including access to basic health care for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity,” he said.
“Furthermore, the clinic is a first of its kind in the collaboration between Government (Gauteng Department of Health), and civil society (OUT LGBT Well-being),” added Meyer.
The TEN81 Centre staff complement includes two full time registered nurses and two lay counsellors. The following services are offered:
• HIV counselling and testing (HCT)
• Sexually transmitted infection (STI) screenings and treatment
• Tuberculosis (TB) screenings and treatment
• Provision of post exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
• Antiretroviral Therapy (ART)
• HIV management (CD4 and viral load)
• Pap smears
• Basic wound care and clean needles and syringes
• General medical, sexual health, and safer sex consultations
• Individual and couple counselling
• Condoms and lubrication
The above services are free, professional, friendly, confidential and non-judgmental. Office hours are 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. Appointments can be made by calling 012 430 3272.
Pic by Delene Van Dyk