One of the many questions that people ask me about the Pop Inn Health clinics is “What it is like going to one?” This questions makes me think of the time I was contemplating getting on #PrEP and one of the questions that kept reoccurring in my head was ‘what the clinic will be like?’ Will the nurses be kind? Will I be stigmatised? What if I bump into someone I know? Let us be honest, where people go for treatment is influenced by how they were treated at their previous healthcare provider. Other anxieties may come from what the outcome of the test might be and what treatment may be involved. Some men have also spoken about the fear of being stigmatised when going to a clinic and the stigma of having sex with other men. Others in particular are uncomfortable about disclosure of their sexual identity and discussing their behaviour in an unfamiliar environment.
Those were some the questions that I was asking myself but eventually I took the plunge and reminded myself that my sexual health is more important than what others would say about me. I first went to a Pop Inn Health facility in Durban, KZN whilst I was on the #WarmOnPrEP campaign and I went to speak to the nurses about getting a STI screening and possibly treatment, if I were to get a positive reaction. I started my appointment by getting screened for COVID and filled out a form so the clinic could open a file for me. This was followed by a session with a counsellor who did the usual HIV counselling and this was followed by the test, after the test I was sent to the nurse who would then be drawing my blood for the tests, however, before this, he did screen me physically for any STI symptoms. One must also remember that it is the clinician’s job to ask questions about your sexual history to be able to provide proper services, they also ask these questions to assess your risk of being infected, which helps inform them on what steps to follow with you. It is important to note that whatever is discussed with a nurse is always confidential and it’s important you feel comfortable being fully honest with your nurse.
One thing that stood out for me at the Pop Inn Health centres was the fact that the clinics were all safe spaces because some of the staff are part of the LGBQTIA+ decahedron and if they are not, they are allies. The spaces all have WiFi and there are computers available should I want to do some work, or research. All the nurses are sensitive to each case/person and you’ll leave having made a new friend.
The Pop Inn Health Clinic in Durban is situated in:
125 Convention house,
Cnr of Florence Nzama St & Bram Fischer Rd,