The meaning of fidelity and Aids prevention strategies among married men

Cristiane Gonçalves Meireles da Silva About the author

OBJECTIVE: To describe the meaning of fidelity and condom use among married men and to suggest HIV risk reduction and Aids prevention strategies. METHODS: Ten men residing in Americanópolis, a neighborhood in the city of São Paulo, Americanópolis, were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. The sample was drawn through contacts established in a preliminary research among married women. Interview analyses focused on the social build up of masculinity and its meanings. RESULTS: As to fidelity, the study group perceives as natural for a man not to have his wife as his only sex partner. Fidelity is understood as respecting their wives, which is translated into the use of condoms in extra-marital relationships that are seen as associated with disease risk and vulnerability. Sexual intercourse with their wives is perceived as risky because it is based on love and companionship, and the use of condoms is only for contraception especially when other birth control methods cannot be used. CONCLUSIONS: In the study, men revealed a very limited perception of their vulnerability to Aids. Promoting the use of condoms in extra-marital relationships meets this society's definitions of masculinity. There is a need of a more efficient strategy in the short run for risk reduction among men and their wives, and the development of other strategies that incorporate structural changes of genre relations. Condom use should be promoted among married men as a contraceptive method, as well as a form of fidelity and family protection.

Men; Knowledge, attitudes, practice; Condoms; Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; Marriage; Sex behavior; Vulnerability; Heterosexuality; Fidelity; Masculinity; Gender

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