Men, Masculinities and HIV and AIDS: Strategies for Action

Gender norms and the gender-based power differentials between men and women, amongst different groups of men, and amongst different groups of women, are key drivers of men’s and women’s vulnerability to HIV. While the concept of gender is often perceived to refer primarily to women and girls, gender norms shape socially acceptable notions of masculinity as well as femininity and help define what it means to be a man as well as a woman. Masculinity, as defined in this paper, refers to the complex and multiple ways that manhood is socially defined across historical and cultural contexts, and to the power differences between specific versions of manhood or groups of men.1 Gender further encompasses alternate identities, such as transgender or intersex.

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