This publication is a companion to Instituto Promundo's Young Men and HIV Prevention: A toolkit for action. It offers a series of tools adapted from various research for young men's reproductive health and HIV/AIDS prevention needs, from exploring gender identities in workshops to checklists for clinics.
This literature review on men, gender and HIV and AIDS has been carried out in conjunction with a number of policy initiatives that Sonke Gender Justice Network has been involved in over the last 18 months. A growing body of evidence also suggests that men are far less likely than women to access HIV services including testing, treatment and other care and support services. Men’s under-utilisation of HIV services significantly undermines prevention and
While reproductive health is a concern for all men of all ages, the earliest part of the life course—adolescence and early adulthood—is of utmost importance. Promoting the sexual and reproductive health of young men is a keystone to enhancing their health overall, to reducing some of the major health risks they face, and to establishing habits that will protect them throughout their lives.
Patriarchal socialisation and hegemonic masculinity are unacknowledged, preventable causes of most health inequalities.
Rather than focusing simply on ways to increase men’s participation in caring for those with HIV/AIDS, we look first at the causes of the enormous burden of informal care and identify ways to reduce it. We start by analysing the ways in which global economic policies and forces affect how AIDS care is provided and then discuss the relationship between these policies and the lack of health systems capacity available in most high HIV prevalence settings. We then focus on what currently prevents men and boys being more fully involved and identify strategies for increasing their involvement.
A short slideshow discussing the benefits of working on gender equitability earlier in a boy's life, before becoming a man.
Promoting More Gender-equitable Norms and Behaviors Among Young Men as an HIV/AIDS Prevention Strategy
There is growing evidence that HIV/STI and violence risk for both young men and young women is linked to early socialization that promotes certain gender roles. The Horizons Program and Instituto Promundo examined the effectiveness of interventions designed to improve young men's attitudes toward gender norms and to reduce HIV/STI risk.
Gender equality has long been synonymous with women and their struggle for economic independence, equal pay, and equal power. It has also been a key principle in eliminating oppression and violence.
However, gender equality is about both men and women. Men spend less time together with their own children, are more prone to accidents, are over-represented in crime statistics, and drop out more often from upper secondary education. These examples indicate that men would have much to gain from true gender equality. Men are under-represented in the teaching professions in preschools and schools, in nursing and children's social services. At the same time, men still sit in the majority of positions of power in society and they still make more money than women. It is mainly men who are the perpetrators of domestic violence.
In recent years there have been positive changes in the role of males in society. It has been almost 20 years since the Committee on Male Roles in 1991 presented its recommendations. The Committee on Male Roles pointed out the following goals: the reallocation of power between women and men, more time for fathers to care for their own children both before and after a family breakup, reduced gender differences in choice of education and training and the prevention of men's violence against women; all of these were to be central goals for the future work towards gender equality. In several areas the development in the period has been positive. In particular, there is reason to look at the development in the home, and the increased contact between fathers and their children. In other areas, however, the development has been stagnant or negative. While women have entered previous male arenas in the working life, there has not been any increase in employment of men in the health and care giving sectors. In the education sector men constitute a smaller group today than 15 years ago. Consequently, there is reason to reiterate the goals stated by the committee.
ISSUE: Four Latin American NGOs have collaborated with PROMUNDO Institute (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) since 1998 to call greater attention to the needs and realities of young men ages 15-24 in sexual and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS and gender violence prevention, and to engage them in HIV/AIDS prevention.
Young Men and the Construction of Masculinity in Sub-Saharan Africa: Implications for HIV/AIDS, Conflict, and Violence (2005)