Women Get Infected but We Die…..! Men and Masculinities in the Era of HIV/AIDS in Botswana

Serai D. Rakgoasi, University of the Witwatersrand
Clifford O. Odimegwu, University of the Witwatersrand

This paper examines men’s construction of their masculinities within the context of HIV/AIDS in Botswana, and how these might impact the country’s efforts to control the spread of the epidemic. Men in Botswana are assumed to enjoy a ‘patriarchal dividend’ over women, and thus tend to dominate women’s decision making, and rendering them vulnerable to HIV infection. Consequently, HIV/AIDS intervention programs have aggressively pushed for women’s empowerment as one of the ways of stemming the epidemic. This paper uses quantitative data from the 2004 Botswana AIDS Impact Survey (BAIS II) and qualitative data from FGDs to examine the role of men and masculinities on HIV prevention in Botswana. Preliminary results suggest that HIV/AIDS programs have caused a certain level of consternation and confusion among men regarding their role in HIV prevention and women’s empowerment. This confusion and perceived loss of power is especially greater among men of low socio-economic status.

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Presented in Poster Session 3