A Mpumalanga man who developed breasts has had his surgery postponed to later this year.
The 42-year-old HIV-positive man from Standerton, Sabelo Maepa (not his real name), developed breasts soon after beginning his anti-retroviral treatment.
Plastic surgeon Michael Bermant confirmed that certain medications can promote the growth of breasts in men.
Bermant said many sufferers developed full-grown breasts, with some even producing milk.
He said: "Some medications interact with the natural levels of testostorone and estrogen and upset the balance in some way."
Testostorone and estrogen are sex hormones that all men and women have naturally in different amounts in their bodies.
"Alcohol and drugs can cause gynecomastia (the development of abnormally large mammary glands in males resulting in breast enlargement) by mimicking estrogen and stimulating androgen (male sex hormone) production," Bermant said.
He said steroids and other excess androgens are sometimes converted by the body into estrogens and consequently cause male breast problems.
He said that if gynecomastia is drug-induced, discontinuance of the agent may be all that is needed.
Maepa had his operation postponed for the second time early this year and is due to undergo plastic surgery later this month.
Doctors at first refused to perform liposuction (a surgical procedure to remove localised fatty deposits) on him, insisting that one has to be in a good mental and emotionally stable state before undergoing surgery.
The doctors claimed that being depressed after surgery can worsen a patient's pre-existing mental condition.
Maepa said he was diagnosed HIV positive last year. He claims that it was after he had begun his anti-retroviral treatment that his breasts began to develop.
In an attempt to reverse Maepa's condition, the state hospital changed his medication.