Men's moralising discourses on gender and HIV risk in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

SOURCE: Culture, Health & Sexuality
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2015
TITLE AUTHOR(S): D.L.Mindry, L.Knight, H.Van Rooyen
KEYWORDS: GENDER, HIV/AIDS, KWAZULU-NATAL, MEN, RELATIONSHIPS, RISK BEHAVIOUR, RURAL COMMUNITIES
DEPARTMENT: Social Aspects of Public Health (SAPH)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 8735

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Abstract

Various interventions have resulted in increased rates of HIV testing. However, remains a challenge. In this study, we examine men's perspectives on navigating HIV risk in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Qualitative interviews were conducted at four intervals over a three-year time period with a baseline cohort of 126 men and women. We found that men navigated HIV risk in their sexual relationships mainly by monitoring their partner's behaviour. Men expressed concerns about female respectability, invoking discourses on hlonipha rooted in Zulu cultural ideals and Christian ideals about women staying close to home. In the post-apartheid era, these concerns were inflected by anxieties over changing gender norms and the high rates and risks of infection in the region. HIV prevention discourses on behaviour intersected with men's efforts to assert their masculinity through the monitoring and controlling of women's behaviour. The potential negative impacts of this should be addressed. Prevention efforts need to focus on men's vulnerability to infection in terms of their own behaviour as well as the contexts in which they live.