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  • on 15.12.2014
  • at 02:01 PM
  • by Kevin

AIDS response is leaving African men behind 0

Nairobi. Mention gender inequality in AIDS and the fact that more women than men live with HIV pops up. But another, rarely spoken about gendered difference is proving lethal to men with HIV.

Research reveals that, across Africa, men have lower rates of HIV testing, enrollment on antiretroviral treatment, adherence, viral load suppression and survival, than women.

“Men are being left behind in access to HIV care and treatment,” says Safari Mbewe, executive director of the Malawi Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS (MANET+).

As of December 2012, men represented only 36 percent of all people on antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Africa, according to the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

In Kenya, the most recent AIDS Indicator Survey shows that eight in ten women have tested for HIV, compared to six in 10 men. This pattern occurs across the continent.

Generally, the emphasis has been on men’s risks around HIV (multiple partners, unsafe sex, alcohol abuse, violence), which make women more vulnerable to HIV, and less on men’s own vulnerability through their poor health seeking behaviour.

Gender differences negatively affect how men behave within ART programmes, Morna Cornell, a researcher at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, told IPS.

Among people on ART, mortality is 31 percent higher for men than for women, reports Cornell in a study, concluding that most AIDS policies and programmes in Africa are blind to men and lack “a true commitment to equitable access to ART.”

Continue reading on IPS Africa

By Miriam Gathigah

Photo Credit: Mercedes Sayagues/IPS

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