Monday, 27 April 2009

How can we change 'macho' attitudes to sex? (In the Third World)

Ed: The 'Third World' message is ABC: Abstain, Be Faithful, Condomise". Meanwhile government policy dictated sex education in this country is C: "Condomise". Makes sense - not!

The ABC safe sex message, abstain, be faithful, condom use, displayed on a car bonnet. Photograph: AFP/Fati Moalusi

Speakers at the UN's first global symposium of men and boys in Rio de Janeiro this week have argued that macho stereotypes of what it takes to be a "real" man are helping spread HIV/Aids across the world.

Newswire IRIN is running an interview with Purmina Mane, an executive director of the UN Population Fund, who says the idea that men should have multiple sexual partners, take risks, are resilient to disease, reject contraception and be too strong to ask for help continue to affect access to healthcare and reproductive health services and is increasing exposure to the HIV virus for both men and women.

"Late diagnosis and treatment means that many continue to practice unprotected sex, running the risk of reinfection and of unknowingly infecting their partners," said Mane.

The story also quotes Graca Sambo, an executive director of Forum Mulher, a women's rights NGO in Mozambique, which said the idea that men should have many different sexual partners was a major contributing factor to the country having one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world – 16%.

"A lot of men have many sexual partners because this is what is expected of them," she said. "Masculinity is very much instilled by culture and by tradition, which say that men have to be studs." Read more
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