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HetMAN Australia

HetMAN stands for Heterosexual Men’s Advocacy Network. We are an advocacy group represented by and for a collective of people living with HIV in Australia who self-identify as cis-male and heterosexual.

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About HetMAN

In 2021, we came together as a small group of heterosexual men living with HIV. We established HetMAN to advance the collective wellbeing of all men living with HIV in Australia who identify as heterosexual or “straight”. Some of us are publicly open about being HIV positive and some of us are not. We have representatives in South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. We are auspiced by NAPWHA, The National Association of People with HIV in Australia, and our structure consists of a core steering group, led by a Community Advocate. The community advocate is Anth McCarthy, who also works as a Peer Navigator in Victoria.

Why is HetMAN needed?

HetMAN grew directly from participation in NAPWHA’s Health Literacy Framework project. Our involvement helped shed light on the barriers that heterosexual men have faced in connecting with each other, representing themselves, speaking up for their needs, and assuming a more defined presence among the community of people living with HIV (PLHIV).

HetMAN seeks to reduce those barriers and address the gap in representation.

An accurate estimate of numbers is not known but it is thought that men who identify as heterosexual make up roughly 10% of all PLHIV in Australia. Like other cohorts, we are sometimes referred to as “a minority within a minority”.

Video:  Hear from Anth McCarthy who spoke as part of a community panel for the Our Future, Beyond Resilience Congress on 10 November 2021 and chaired by Chistabel Millar. The panel formed part of a session called ‘Strengthening the positive voice: Whose voices are missing or unheard?’

Who HetMAN represents

HetMAN acknowledges the heroism and activism of people living with HIV in Australia who have campaigned against stigma and advocated for all people living with HIV (PLHIV) regardless of sexuality, gender and cultural background.

HetMAN seeks to embed itself in the Body Positive (a term commonly used to refer to the collective of PLHIV) and collaborate with the community of people living with HIV to achieve good outcomes for all.

HetMAN seeks to actively include and collaborate with overseas-born, non-white, non-Western heterosexual men living with HIV. We want to be respectful by not speaking for them without permission. HetMAN commits to learning and becoming aware of the social inequity faced by people of colour and people living with HIV who are exposed to racism.

How to engage with us

If you are a heterosexual man living with HIV in Australia, and you feel like you can align with our ethos and assist us to achieve our goals, we would love to hear from you. You are very welcome to contact us by emailing us.

How our meetings are conducted

The group connects primarily by teleconference, with capacity for an annual face-to-face meeting. An email loop is used to facilitate discussion and consultation between meeting times, circulate information for discussion, and assist in NAPWHA’s consultation process as matters arise.

About the Health Literacy Framework project

Activities undertaken to establish HetMAN:

  • In 2020, Community Advocate Anth McCarthy conducted semi-structured interviews with his peer network from around Australia. This aimed to investigate what works where and how in terms of health literacy (gaps, enablers and opportunities) and improving HIV-related heath outcomes for heterosexual men. These consultations went on to inform a range of health literacy initiatives targeting (or tailored for) heterosexual men.
  • These interviews were summarised in a Report available for download [PDF]

From this investigation, the health literacy project aims to implement some project initiates, including: 

  • In 2021, a core reference group including Nathan Butler (former QPP Peer Navigator) commenced formalising discussions around the formation of a NAPWHA-auspiced network.

Video:  Hear from Community Advocate, Anth McCarthy, who was central to the co-design of a health literacy framework for heterosexual men living with HIV. After the pilot of women living with HIV was rolled out in its initial pilot phase, the framework’s approach was allied to other groups of people living with HIV. Anth is reporting back to NAPWHA members at the Special General Meeting (May 2021).

NAPWHA Project Officer, Eloise Monteiro presented as part of a Health Literacy Framework project report back to members at the AGM 2021.

Community Advocates from the project made announcements of new NAPWHA-auspiced national networks: Jimmy Chen of Positive Asian Network Australia (PANA); Anth McCarthy of Positive HetMAN (Heterosexual Men Australia Network); and Cristian Cortes of Positive Latin American Network aka PLAN Latinx Australia — Download the Slides

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