JOHANNESBURG – Access to public healthcare for transgender people remains a challenge, but the Wits Reproductive Health Institute is helping bridge the gap.
The centre is the first transgender healthcare facility of its kind in the country.The institute said the government needs to do more to break the stigma at its facilities.
Tiny Williams says South African public healthcare treated her badly as a trans woman.
“When I go there asking for treatment, some they start gossiping about to, laughing at you and the way you are that this person is gay,” said Williams.Now she only goes to non-government facilities like the Wits clinic.”Within five minutes I am done with everything and there is no criticism about the way I am.”
The clinic says as a country South Africa need to address this issue, especially regarding the HIV/Aids pandemic. Zsa-Zsa Fisher from Wits Reproductive Health Institute said transgender women are at 49 percent risk of contracting HIV than any other population in the world
The clinic says the primary fight is to have access that is free of fear and prejudice, even at public healthcare facilities.The Health Department says the stigma around sexual orientation is a huge problem in our society, needing consistent education.
The department adds that it is constantly trying to create safe spaces for marginalised groups.