Masculinity and ART in Uganda
In Uganda, as in much of sub-Saharan Africa, men tend to initiate HIV treatment later than women, are more difficult to retain on treatment, and have higher mortality while on treatment compared to women. This is in stark contrast to initial fears amongst policy makers that HIV treatment would be accessed primarily by men, since they tend to have greater control of economic resources and decision making in sub-Saharan Africa.
This ethnographic PhD study explored the link between men’s HIV treatment seeking behaviour and their masculinity. It was based on participant observation in a gold-mining village in eastern Uganda and repeated in-depth interviews with 26 men. Specifically, it explored the cultural construction of masculinity among men from the Iteso ethnic group, how those notions of masculinity influence men’s perception of, and response to, HIV/AIDS, and how living with HIV/AIDS and/ or its treatment, in turn, affects men’s perception of their masculinity.
Siu GE, Wight D, Seeley JA. How a masculine work ethic and economic circumstances affect uptake of HIV treatment: experiences of men from an artisanal gold mining community in rural eastern Uganda. Journal of the International AIDS Society 2012;15:17368open access