Making space for young heterosexual males: gender and HIV/AIDS prevention education.Healthy sexuality initiatives for young adults, including those aimed at HIV/AIDS HIV/AIDS Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and sexually transmitted infection (STI STI systolic time intervals. ) prevention, have been in place for decades. (1) However, the majority of these initiatives were designed for and directed toward young heterosexual females and gay males. (2) In fact, most Canadian sexual health campaigns and interventions geared toward the prevention of HIV HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), either of two closely related retroviruses that invade T-helper lymphocytes and are responsible for AIDS. There are two types of HIV: HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-1 is responsible for the vast majority of AIDS in the United States. infection fail to include young heterosexual males. (3-5) This is problematic since Health Canada Health Canada (French: Santé Canada) is the department of the government of Canada with responsibility for national public health.
Health Canada's goal is to improve Canadian life by improving Canadian longevity, lifestyle and use of public healthcare. statistics show an increase in HIV infection among females from unprotected sexual contact with HIV-infected male partners. (6)
Current research demonstrates that young Canadians Young Canadians (originally The K-Tels) were a Vancouver punk rock band active for just under two years. The YC's were influenced not only by the other punk bands in town at that time such as D.O.A. and the Pointed Sticks, but also by the Dolls, Stooges, and 60s garage rock. are now less knowledgeable about HIV/AIDS and ways of protecting themselves against sexually transmitted infections than they were in the late 1980s. (1) It is therefore essential that we seek new and innovative ways of providing healthy sexuality education and resources for all youth, especially young heterosexual males.
The Buddy Study, a Nova Scotia-based two-year qualitative study funded by the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research The Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research is a Canadian charitable foundation whose goal is to raise awareness of AIDS/HIV to increase funds for research. CANFAR is currently the only such organization in Canada. The foundation was created in 1987 by Bluma Appel. (CANFAR CANFAR Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research ), was designed to explore and contextualize con·tex·tu·al·ize
tr.v. con·tex·tu·al·ized, con·tex·tu·al·iz·ing, con·tex·tu·al·iz·es
To place (a word or idea, for example) in a particular context. young heterosexual males' perceptions of sexual behaviours, roles, and responsibilities, and to determine obstacles and gaps in their sexual health decision-making. A series of 30 one-on-one interviews and 9 focus group discussions were held over a two-year period (2003-2004) with young males and females. Thirteen additional in-depth interviews were held with sexual and reproductive health Within the framework of WHO's definition of health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, reproductive health, or sexual health/hygiene educators to draw from their experiences working with youth. Sessions were audio-taped, transcribed verbatim, then analyzed thematically to identify patterns in the data.
Analysis of the first-year interviews and focus groups with young males and sexual health service providers brought to light some of the complex, underlying constraints on some young males in talking about sex and sexuality. Interviews and focus groups with young females in the second year of the project brought a broader perspective to the relationship between sexual partners, social taboos, and barriers to healthy sexuality.
Gender was a key determinant of sexual health among study participants: (1) the nature and extent of risk-taking behaviours are linked to gender; (2) sex and sexuality are taboo, and socio-cultural comfort levels and restrictions around taboo topics differ according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. gender; and (3) roles, responsibilities, and expectations (e.g., sexual behaviours in general, safer sex, contraception, and disease prevention) are often unequally divided between male and female partners within the context of a heterosexual relationship.
Here are some of our key findings:
* Young men were less likely than young women to talk openly about sex or to seek accurate sexual health information because of embarrassment or a fear of feeling foolish, stupid, or unmanly.
* Most participants did not regularly use condoms.
* Young women were more likely than their male partners to take responsibility for safer sex because they felt they would face greater personal consequences from pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.
* Most participants believed that "society" puts more pressure on young women than on young men to be responsible and practise safer sex.
* The greatest sexual health priority for the participants was preventing pregnancy.
* Most of the participants believed they were not at risk of coming into contact with HIV through unprotected sex, even when the sexual partner is not well known to them.
These findings indicate a relationship between gender-based normative sexual behaviours, pervasive socio-cultural paradigms that regulate and normalize normalize
to convert a set of data by, for example, converting them to logarithms or reciprocals so that their previous non-normal distribution is converted to a normal one. sexual beliefs, and attitudes and understandings of responsibility among participants. All the participants in this study provided scenarios in which gender imbalances related to responsibility for safer sex, contraception, disease prevention, and sexual behaviours played a significant role in sexual health decision-making processes.
* Develop accessible, youth-friendly, gender-appropriate, sexual and reproductive health facilities;
* Ensure that adequate, detailed information about HIV and other STIs is provided to both young males and females in a gender-sensitive manner; and
* Provide condoms in locations that are easily accessed by all youth, including youth in more rural or remote areas.
For policy makers:
* Focus on primary health care for all Nova Scotians as a means of improving overall health and wellness and reducing HIV infection among youth;
* Focus on gender-based sexual norms in developing HIV prevention messages and intervention strategies by conducting gender-based analyses; and
* Create a forum for youth to discuss gender differences in sexual decision-making and sexual health education needs in an effort to increase open dialogue.
Gender continues to play a central role in shaping sexual behaviours, roles, and responsibilities among young adults. In order to address the sexual health needs and concerns, including HIV prevention, of young heterosexual males, educators and service providers must first address the close connection between gender norms and sexual behaviours. Building capacity across the sexual and reproductive health spectrum, including enhancing the involvement of young heterosexual males, will ultimately improve HIV/AIDS prevention education programming and services for all young Canadians.
For a copy of the full report, visit: www.acewh.dal.ca/eng/reports/Buddy_Study_Report.pdf
(1.) Council of Ministers of Education. Canadian Youth, Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Study: Factors Influencing Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviours. Toronto: CMEC CMEC Council of Ministers of Education, Canada
CMEC Center for Missing and Exploited Children , 2003.
(2.) Stephenson JM, Strange V, Forrest S, Oakley A, et al. Pupil-led sex education in England Until June 2007, Education in England was the responsibility of the Department for Education and Skills at national level and, in the case of publicly funded compulsory education, of Local Education Authorities. (RIPPLE study): Cluster-randomised intervention trial. Lancet 2004;24(July):338-346.
(3.) Canadian Public Health Association. Critical Issues in HIV Prevention. A Discussion of Heterosexual Men and HIV Prevention. Ottawa: Canadian HIV/AIDS Clearinghouse, 2001.
(4.) Maticka-Tyndale E. Sexual health and Canadian youth: How do we measure up? Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality 2001;10:1-17.
(5.) Planned Parenthood Planned Parenthood
A service mark used for an organization that provides family planning services. Federation of Canada. Safer sex education for heterosexual males: An oxymoron? Ottawa: PPFC PPFC Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada
PPFC Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition , 2001.
(6.) Public Health Agency of Canada The Public Health Agency of Canada (French: Agence de la santé publique du Canada) is an agency of Health Canada a department of the Government of Canada that is responsible for public health, emergency preparedness, and response and infectious and chronic disease control . HIV/AIDS Epi Update--May 2004. HIV and AIDS among Youth in Canada. Ottawa: Surveillance and Risk Assessment Division. Centre for Infectious Disease Infectious disease
A pathological condition spread among biological species. Infectious diseases, although varied in their effects, are always associated with viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, multicellular parasites and aberrant proteins known as prions. Prevention and Control, Public Health Agency of Canada, 2005.
Jacqueline Gahagan, Laura Barbour, and Susan McWilliam, Dalhousie University