Study Shows Men in Zambia Control Women's Use of HIV Prevention Gel

21 August 2017

Microbicides are being heralded as a way to empower women and protect themselves against the virus, giving women autonomy over their own sexual health. Yet, a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Zambia, Leeds Beckett University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that men still yield influence over the use of microbicides due to the role of men as decision-makers of the household. Various focus groups and interviews with key informants such as community leaders and health workers revealed that both women and men believed a woman should ask for permission from her partner to use the gel and that he has the right to authorize and, in some cases, control and monitor its use.“We need to build a participatory approach to transformative gender programs that can sensitize men and women about masculinity and the dangers that it can present to women, families and men themselves," says Dr. Oliver Mweemba, lead researcher from the University of Zambia.

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