At the crossroads : exploring intersections between gender norms and HIV/AIDS vulnerability in rural Mozambique
Bandali, Sarah; (2011) At the crossroads : exploring intersections between gender norms and HIV/AIDS vulnerability in rural Mozambique. London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. DOI: 10.17037/PUBS.00768495
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This thesis contributes to an understanding of how gender norms shape HIV / AIDS risk perception, but importantly, the responsive actions taken by men and women to reduce noted risks. Data was gathered in mid-2008 in Cabo Delgado Mozambique and consisted of 16 participatory group discussions to better understand local norms and HIV / AIDS risk determinants and 29 in-depth interviews to explore how gender views interface with risk reduction efforts. The theory of triadic influence and gender and power theory were used in the conceptual framework to guide the research in terms of the factors that influence risk across a multitude of levels. The findings are based on three key social situations where HIV / AIDS risk was deemed high by respondents and where the interplay of gender norms between men and women could be analysed in greater detail: 1) partner behaviour; 2) marriage and 3) the exchange of sex for resources. Men and women who actively take measures to decrease the threat of HIV / AIDS do so in a context of often repressive gender norms, however, the decision to engage in risk reduction behaviour is also based on other factors including an assessment of risk, various level of influence from family or peers, prior experience, relationship dynamics and a reflection of broader personal outcomes. The findings demonstrated that the move towards more gender balanced relationships and norms, while essential for reducing HIV / AIDS disparities in prevalence rates and risk, are not a precondition for the employment of HIV / AIDS risk reduction strategies. Efforts however, should continue to promote gender equality in its own right as well as to help reduce HIV / AIDS risk among men and women. Programmes should simultaneously build on local gender dynamics and norms and incorporate strategies already being used by men and women to reduce HIV / AIDS risk into interventions and policies.
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