Researchers Examine How Perceptions of Masculinity Influence HIV Prevention in Central America
A team of researchers is examining how different perceptions of masculinity can influence HIV prevention messages in Central America, the Columbia State reports. The team, which is supported by USAID and Population Services International, has held focus groups with 1,200 men from El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama to learn about different perceptions of masculinity and how the men see themselves. The men completed 11-point surveys on issues such as what motivates them, what is important in life and what word best describes them. Using the surveys, the researchers developed six primary categories to which HIV/AIDS prevention messages can be customized, according to the State. "It's another approach for behavioral change messages," Susana Lungo, program director for the initiative, said.
The six primary categories are powerful, men to whom researchers should stress that they have the power to choose condom use; energetic, who can be reached by emphasizing that they can make a contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS; protector, who should be given messages about fidelity and condom use for the sake of protecting their families; relaxed, who tend to be receptive to condom use because of generally open attitudes; searchers, to whom condom use has to be presented in interesting and engaging ways; and passionate, men who are receptive to fidelity and condom use messages out of respect for their partners.
According to the researchers, although the categories were developed to promote HIV prevention, they also can be used for teenage pregnancy prevention and other health issues (Reid, Columbia State, 8/21).