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HetMAN Australia

HetMAN Australia stands for Heterosexual Men’s Advocacy Network. Established in 2021, we are a collective of men living with HIV in Australia who identify as heterosexual or straight.

About HetMAN

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Our goal is to advance the wellbeing of all men living with HIV in Australia who identify as heterosexual or straight. We are supported by NAPWHA, the National Association of People with HIV in Australia. Our structure consists of a core steering group led by a community advocate. We hold meetings virtually every 1-2 months and communicate by email as needed to plan towards achieving our goal. We aim to meet in person at least once per year and attend community events and conferences where possible. We currently have representatives in South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. Some of our core members are publicly open about being HIV positive and some maintain full privacy.

Why is HetMAN needed?

HetMAN grew directly from participation in NAPWHA’s Health Literacy Framework project. Our involvement helped shed light on the challenges we face as a small, diverse, relatively hard-to-see population of people living with HIV in Australia.

An accurate estimate of numbers is not known but it is thought that men who identify as heterosexual make up roughly 10% of all people living with HIV in Australia. Like other groups, we are sometimes referred to as “a minority within a minority”. Australian surveillance data suggest that HIV transmission accountable to heterosexual sex is increasing in proportion to transmission among men who have sex with men.

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?’

HetMAN Australia: Values and Ethos

In order to achieve genuine representation, HetMAN seeks to understand the diverse experiences and identities of all men living with HIV in Australia who identify as heterosexual or straight.

We acknowledge the social inequity faced by Indigenous people, people born overseas, people of colour, and other people living with HIV who are impacted by racism. HetMAN Australia aims to be a welcoming space for heterosexual men of all cultural identities.

HetMAN Australia commits to accepting, without question or judgement, men who identify as heterosexual. We understand that “identity” can include how a person sees themselves individually, as well as how they see themselves in community with others. We believe that a person’s chosen identity is not up for judgement by others. We understand heterosexual identities can include diverse attractions and practices and that not all heterosexual men experience their sexuality as fixed or binary.

HetMAN Australia values the support and care of people living with HIV. We understand that homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are detrimental to the wellbeing of everyone. We also understand that stigma, discrimination and erasure can force individuals to seek support and belonging in established spaces such as HetMAN Australia. Knowing this, HetMAN aims to be a welcoming and supportive space, where people can talk about what is important to them without judgement.

HetMAN Australia 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.

HetMAN Australia seeks to embed itself in, and collaborate with, the community of people living with HIV to achieve good outcomes for all.

How to engage with us

You are very welcome to email us, or alternatively use the contact form below to ask us questions about HetMAN. If you would like to advocate for the wellbeing of heterosexual men living with HIV and meet other men who share that goal, we would love to hear from you.

Please use this contact form below if you are a person living with HIV, family member, friend or health professional wanting to get in touch with us at HetMAN Australia. We’ll get back in touch with you using the contact details which you provide. We value your privacy and confidentiality.

About the Health Literacy Framework project

HetMAN Australia was founded in 2021 from work and the findings under the NAPWHA HIV Health Literacy Framework project. The Health Literacy Framework project is a community-led project which employs a community member to develop and tailored health promotion for people living with HIV (PLHIV). Community Advocate, Anth McCarthy consulted with community peers to develop the ideas for establishing a national network.

Activities undertaken to establish HetMAN Australia:

  • 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).

Video:  NAPWHA Project Officer, Eloise Monteiro presented as part of a Health Literacy Framework project report back to members at the NAPWHA 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 HetMAN Australia (Heterosexual Men Advocacy Network); and Cristian Cortes of Positive Latinx Australian  Network (PLAN)

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