HIV Blind Spot

Men and HIV testing, treatment and care work in Sub-Saharan Africa

Evidence shows that men are significantly underrepresented in HIV and AIDS testing and treatment services — both in Sub-Saharan Africa and globally. HIV policies within Sub-Saharan Africa also have insufficient focus on ensuring national HIV responses encourage men to test, access anti-retroviral treatment and support the disproportionate burden of HIV care on women. Addressing these challenges is important for everyone’s sake; while it is bad for men’s health, it places expensive and unnecessary burdens on women and on health systems. Further steps should be taken so that programming and policies encourage men and women to know their status, access treatment and to live healthily. Such approaches should happen within the context of addressing power differentials between men and women at all levels. This includes challenging the broader patriarchal power structures in which gender plays out, such as the assumption that care work is ‘women’s work’ and therefore less valued, and the rigidity of gender norms that encourage men to participate in risk-taking behaviours that put their life and the life of those around them in jeopardy.

HIV blind spot: Men and HIV testing, treatment and care work in Sub-Saharan Africa

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