Effectiveness of available male involvement in reproductive health information, education, and communication materials targeted at men
Poster presentation at 5th International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention, Cape Town, 19-22 July
Mabasa,Sophy; Mullick,Saiqa; Menziwa,Mantshi; Maluleke,Stubbs
Publication date: 2009
Male involvement in sexual and reproductive health is the key to ensuring men's well-being and that of their partners and children and contributes to prevention of HIV and AIDS infection. The objective of the study was to obtain men's views regarding the available information, education, and communication materials that target men. These views would inform the adoption, adaptation, and development of new materials.
Five focus group discussions were conducted in three provinces with 118 men aged 18-74 years. Themes discussed included sexual and reproductive health awareness and knowledge, men's perception of HIV risk, multiple concurrent partnerships, voluntary counseling and testing, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, antiretroviral treatment, and condom use. The effectiveness of available materials was assessed by questions structured to address the men's current knowledge, practices, and beliefs, their source of information, as well as types of communication that could encourage behavior change.
The study found that there are limited materials and communication targeting men on sexual and reproductive health. The information found in health establishments is not accessible to men because they perceive this information to be targeted to women. Although general information on HIV and AIDS, like the importance of condom use and VCT, is available, stereotypes and social practices restrict men from practicing responsible behavior, thus putting their lives as well as their partners' at risk of HIV infection.
Overall the study showed that men's behavior is more influenced by peers and role models and self-discovery and less by media information. Messages targeting men on reproductive health should take into consideration language, location, traditional and religious practices in order to be acceptable and contribute toward behavior change.