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A scoping review on the role of masculine norms in men's engagement in the HIV care continuum in sub-Saharan Africa

Katelyn M Sileo, Rebecca Fielding-Miller, Shari L Dworkin, Paul J Fleming
AIDS Care 2019 March 25, : 1-12
Men living with HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa are less likely than women to be engaged at each stage of the HIV care continuum. We conducted a scoping review in May of 2016 to identify how masculine norms influence men's HIV care engagement in sub-Saharan Africa. Our review yielded a total of 17 qualitative studies from 8 countries. Six major themes emerged that demonstrated how norms of masculinity create both barriers and facilitators to care engagement. Barriers included the exacerbating effects of masculinity on HIV stigma, the notion that HIV threatened men's physical strength, ability to provide, self-reliance, and risk behavior, and the belief that clinics are spaces for women. However, some men transformed their masculine identity and were motivated to engage in care if they recognized that antiretroviral therapy could restore their masculinity by rebuilding their strength. These findings demonstrate masculinity plays an important role in men's decision to pursue and remain in HIV care across sub-Saharan Africa. We discuss implications for tailoring HIV messaging and counseling to better engage men and an agenda for future research in this area.


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