The unequal power relationship between females and males has been cited as one of the root causes for the persistent spread of HIV and AIDS.
Culture has remained a key determinant of the gender power relationships and a vehicle through which gender inequalities and the subordination of women are perpetuated and justified.
Every human being is at risk of contracting HIV and AIDS.
However, men’s vulnerability is increased by their patterns of behaviour, modes of socialisation, peer pressure and to an extent cultural practices.
The urgent need for solutions to the problem of gender inequality has seen a local organisation the Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAFAIDS) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Child Care and UNAIDS engaging scholars, researchers, development practitioners, health experts, boys and men on a search for answers to stop new HIV infections.
Male adolescents who are exposed to HIV and AIDS campaigns are beginning to appreciate that men have a role to play in the fight against HIV.
The threat posed by the HIV and AIDS pandemic has added to the urgency of addressing gender relations from a perspective that had not in the past been given as much attention, noted SAFAIDS executive director Mrs Loise Chingandu and South African based UNAIDS regional senior fast track advisor, Dr Peirre Somse.
Even the Health and Child Care Minister, Dr David Parirenyatwa acknowledged male domination over women in matters of sexuality and the abuse of such power is a primary factor behind the HIV and AIDS pandemic.
A number of issues relating to how boys and men can be involved in the fight against HIV and AIDS took centre stage at the regional symposium dubbed “Changing the Rivers Flow – A Gender Norms Transformative Program for Young People”.
However, observers have noted HIV and AIDS concerns have continued to dominate the health sector since the 1980’s when the first AIDS cases were recorded at the expense of other diseases like cancer and kidney ailments that are now killing more people than AIDS.