HIV/AIDS Prevention Efforts Should Do More to Involve Men as Partners, Says New UNFPA Booklet
30 November 2000
30 November 2000
UNITED NATIONS, New York - Prevention is “our first and most potent defence” against the further spread of HIV/AIDS, the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr. Nafis Sadik, said today. Better prevention requires greater involvement of men, according to a new UNFPA booklet, Partners for Change: Enlisting Men in HIV/AIDS Prevention.
Changing men’s behaviour is “the surest way to change the course of the epidemic,” the booklet points out. “Men are involved in almost every case of transmission, and almost always have the power to protect themselves and their partners,” while many women do not.
In her message for World AIDS Day, 1 December, Dr. Sadik underscored this point, and called on men to “take the lead in discussion and action” against HIV/AIDS, and to safeguard their own health and that of their partners. “Learn how to communicate,” she urged. “Discussion with your partner can save both your lives.”
On 1 December, Dr. Sadik will be a featured participant in a town hall discussion on the theme “AIDS: Men Make a Difference”. The event will take place in New York at United Nations Headquarters, starting at 10 a.m. There will be a live web cast.
Men will also be a focus of a UNFPA-organized panel discussion on "Gender and HIV/AIDS" at the African Development Forum 2000 in Addis Ababa on 5 December.
The new booklet, part of UNFPA’s advocacy series promoting reproductive health and population issues, emphasizes several reasons why it is critically important to help men and boys adopt positive values regarding women and their own safety, while continuing to protect women and girls. It notes that risk-taking behaviour, often encouraged by cultural attitudes, increases men’s chances of contracting and transmitting HIV. And men’s involvement is needed to empower women to protect themselves from HIV infection.
Promoting the use of condoms to protect against both sexually transmitted disease including HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancy, and reaching men with messages and services are among the most effective interventions against the disease, the booklet notes, citing a variety of health and information programmes supported by UNFPA and others around the world.
Countering attitudes that encourage risk-taking and discrimination against women, including violence, must begin with the ways that boys are raised, the publication states. Also important is better communication between partners, to overcome stigma, shame and miscommunication.
Partners for Change: Enlisting Men in HIV/AIDS Prevention is being distributed worldwide through the Fund’s country offices, and is available on the Fund’s web site, www.unfpa.org.
Also on the web site is another new UNFPA publication: Preventing HIV Infection, Protecting Reproductive Health: The UNFPA Response to HIV/AIDS, which provides an overview of the global epidemic and the Fund’s support for prevention efforts.
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UNFPA is the world’s largest multilateral source of population assistance to developing countries and those with economies in transition. The Fund’s helps countries to provide quality reproductive health and family planning services on the basis of individual choice, and to formulate population policies that support gender equality and sustainable development. As part of the International Partnership against HIV/AIDS in Africa, it supports advocacy efforts to increase political commitment and funding for effective actions to combat the epidemic.
William A. Ryan
Tel.: +66 2 288 2446