Zambia targets young men in HIV/AIDS fight

Lusaka- Zambia (PANA) -- A health expert in Zambia Monday in Lusaka called for effective implementation of programmes targeting young men in fighting HIV/AIDS.
Chilandu Mukuka, deputy chief party of the Zambia Integrated Health Programme (ZIHP), told a daylong seminar on "Lessons and Directions for HIV/AIDS Work with Young Men in Zambia" that very little was being done to change the role that gender inequality plays in relation to the spread of the HIV/AIDS.
Dr Mukuka noted that while in the past young men had little opportunity for full sexual expression, the situation today was different.
He said that this was because employment opportunities gave the young more independence, which enabled them to express their sexual desires at will.
The seminar, a follow-up to a recent workshop on "Gender and Sexuality in Young Men's Lives," is intended to address traditional, cultural, economic and legal issues affecting young men's vulnerability to HIV/AIDS and problems of sexual health.
Participants at that workshop challenged the socialisation of young men around issues of gender and sexuality, adding that there was a need to redress the connection between widespread gender-based sexual violence and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
They also called for standardised, consistent and effective approaches to gender and sexual education in schools supported by capacity building for teachers and guidance counsellors.
Frank Manda from the Department of Urology at Lusaka's University Teaching Hospital called for a change in traditional sex education, which usually favoured boys who are taught to dominate the opposite sex.
Dr Manda told PANA that while traditional teaching should be encouraged and maintained, it should be modified to bring in cultural and family values that would protect the girls.
Manda noted that there was peer pressure among young men to engage in sex.
This resulted in some detrimental effects since sex was not seen as reproductive function but rather as something to have for pleasure, he added.

30 july 2001 13:20:00

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