The world is a difficult place for South African men. So much is expected of a man – economically, socially, culturally. He must always be strong. He must never need help. He must never feel afraid.
These ideas about masculinity can hold him back and keep him from making the best choices. Like going to a clinic to stay healthy. The journey to health can be a difficult one – something men feel they have to face and deal with on their own. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We want to help men take ownership of their health and make decisions that leave them feeling empowered.
This means talking to men in a whole new way. Introducing MINA. MINA is a movement and a brand. It is a symbol of ownership, safety and empowerment. MINA means “I” or “me” in the Nguni languages but it works harder than its English counterpart. MINA implies the whole of me as a person – seen as an individual, but also part of a community.
MINA is here to help and encourage millions of men living with HIV to start, return to, or stay on treatment. All men are different and dealing with their own fears and pressures. Some men are afraid to start treatment, while some start treatment but drop off – for different reasons.
MINA understands that men are at different stages of acceptance and accountability, and we need to give the right information at the right time, in the right way. From in-clinic educational content to our ‘Road Map to Health’ that guides a client through their journey, MINA is here to help prepare men and make the experience less overwhelming.
MINA is about inspiring men to start and stay on treatment, and so we also capture the stories of men who are successfully living with HIV, and share their experiences. MINA also engages and mobilises communities to leverage social support and change outdated and stigmatising views of HIV.
Nurses and community health workers are essential in helping men accept and own their health and wellbeing. MINA partners with these healthcare workers to develop patient-centred approaches and provide a better understanding of the challenges men face.
MINA is here, every step of the way, along a man’s journey to health. It speaks to all kinds of men, at the right time, in the right way, to help them stay on treatment and live healthy, happy, lives. Ask a nurse at your nearest clinic about MINA or visit MINA’s Facebook page here – to get more information.