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There is no doubt that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is driven by men

/ Extramarital Affairs News / archive / 13th nov / Enlisting Men in the Fight Against HIV/Aids in East Africa

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Enlisting Men in the Fight Against HIV/Aids in East Africa

"There is no doubt that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is driven by men," says Dr Joseph Amuzu of the Commonwealth Secretariat. "In many countries men make the key decisions in heterosexual relationships. Generally, they determine how and when sex takes place and sometimes they use violence against women to achieve their sexual desires."

In some cultures men are expected to marry younger women, they have extra-marital relationships and they very often resist the use of condoms. As a result, men have a high risk of contracting and spreading HIV from multiple partnering and other risky behaviour.

The United Nations estimates that almost 50 per cent of those now living with HIV/AIDS are women. Women are the main carers when family or community members fall sick. Women bear the brunt of HIV/AIDS but do not have adequate resources to support themselves and the family, struggling with minimal support from men.

These challenges require that AIDS campaigns target men while recognising women's need for support and resources. In this regard, the Secretariat is supporting national AIDS commissions/councils, ministries of health and gender, and partner organisations to increase the constructive involvement of men in activities and interventions designed to reduce gender inequalities and minimise the impact of HIV/AIDS.

To this end, the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation is funding a workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, from 12 to 14 November 2003 to develop strategies aimed at improving the level and quality of advocacy efforts to change men's behaviour and increase their involvement in the fight against HIV/AIDS. It is expected that the workshop will provide a better understanding of the differential impacts of HIV/AIDS on women and men, a greater appreciation of men's responsibility for women's health, critical in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and an understanding of the urgent need to improve sexual responsibility among men through advocacy and a well-targeted information, education and communication programme.

Participants at the workshop will include men and women from government, civil society and the media in the East Africa region. Other partners involved are the Commonwealth Regional Health Community Secretariat for East, Central and Southern Africa, the UN Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the National AIDS Control Council of Kenya, the Uganda AIDS Commission and the Tanzania Council on AIDS.

Full credit for this news article goes to:, Africa

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