/ 31 October 2007

Male ARV recipient develops breasts

A 42-year old Mpumalanga man has developed breasts after he was enrolled in the government’s antiretroviral (ARV) treatment programme, a media report said on Wednesday.

The Sowetan paper reported that the Standerton man, whose photograph appears on the front page with his face blacked out, had started developing breasts a month after he began taking antiretroviral drugs in April.

The resident of Standerton’s Sakhile township said doctors and nurses at Standerton’s TB hospital had refused to listen to him.

The man, who was not named, then decided to stop taking the drugs. A private doctor later told him that the ARV drugs had contributed to the growth of his breasts.

”I am forced to remain indoors because whenever I take a stroll on the streets, people stare at me and some even laugh uncontrollably when they see my big boobs,” he was quoted as saying.

Mpumalanga health department spokesperson Mpho Gabashane told the South African Press Association on Wednesday that the department would investigate the case.

He urged all those on ARV treatment to take their drugs exactly as prescribed by their doctors.

”Any reaction they [ARV recipients] experience, they must go back to the doctors and nurses and tell them. But they must not default on their treatment. This can cause problems.”

He said the department would try to trace the man and determine what had gone wrong.

At the 15th International Aids Conference held in Bangkok in 2004, a paper reported that 3% of men on highly active antiretroviral therapy in a study group of 579 male patients experienced Gynecomastia ‒- the development of breasts in males. – Sapa