Aspiring Community Activist Josh Stols on the South African Testosterone Shortage

Josh Stols (@jd_justjosh on Instagram) is an aspiring community activist, visiting classrooms across Johannesburg to teach students about what it means to be a South African trans man in 2022. Stols, along with a countless number of transmasculine people, also recently stopped taking depo-testosterone, the most common form of hormone therapy for masculinization. More and more people are starting to hear that a shortage of depo-testosterone has hit South Africa, but the media doesn’t usually tell the whole story – that story started in 2015.

According to Stols, shortages of depo-testosterone have been a systemic problem since 2015, the root of which is the lack of local manufacturing on the part of Pfizer, the only company that produces depo-testosterone. “Pfizer’s been promising for years that they’re going to start manufacturing locally,” explained Stols, “and it just…never materializes.” This September, Pfizer completely cut off its supply of depo-testosterone to South Africa, leaving patients and doctor’s scrambling: “Doctors can only prescribe…according to what’s available from pharmaceutical companies.” Still, doctors do bear some of the responsibility, said Stols, who found in his search for new HRT options besides depo-testosterone, “that our doctors don’t educate us on what options we have available…They prescribe hormones but only keep prescribing depo. Now, because of this shortage, most of us have switched to Fagron. Currently, that’s manufactured here.”…

Continue reading at