Exploring Gender Issues and Men's Vulnerability to HIV/AIDS in Sub Saharan Africa

"This paper examines what seems to be bias in gender-based HIV/AIDS policy approaches and strategies in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, which tend to marginalise men as potential targets for intervention strategies aimed at behavioural change. Public policy discourses on the HIV/AIDS pandemic usually perceive men as the primary purveyors of the virus, mainly due to their sexually risky and promiscuous behaviour. Women are primarily seen as the victims of this behaviour of men. As a result, women tend to be the primary subjects of such strategies.In other words, policy strategies tend to focus greater attention on the victims – women – than men. MacBride (2004) points out that among the reasons for women’s greater vulnerability is their “greater biological susceptibility to transmission than men, gender inequalities and transactional sex, where impoverished women, often starting in their teens, sell sex in order to provide for themselves and their families.”