News

HIV/AIDS fight is meaningless without men – lobby groups

Written by Health-e News

Despite attempts by both the government and other sectors to encourage testing for HIV, most South African men are still not willing to get tested. We spoke to some of the nation’€™s men’€™s organizations to get more insight on this.

The audio is in isiZulu. See the English summary below.

MABUTHO: Iningi lezinhlangano ezisebenza ngezokwexwayisa nokweluleka abesilisa ngezindaba zeHIV kanye namalungelo nokuhlukunyezwa kwabesifazane, zithi amadoda isikhathi esiningi ancamela ukuhlala engazazi ukuthi analo noma kawanalo yini igciwane le HIV. Ngokwalezinhlangano enye yezimbangela zalokhu ukuthi izindaba eziphathele ne HIV isikhathi esiningi ziphethwe ngabantu besifazane kuleli. Lokhu, ngokusho kuka Bafana Khumalo ongumqondisi wenye yalezinhlangano zamadoda, iSonke Gender Justice Network, egqugquzela ukulingana ngokobulili phambi komthetho, kuthanda ukungehli kahle kumadoda amaningi njengoba esakholelwa ukuthi ayikho into angayitshelwa ngomama okanye abantu besifazane.

BAFANA KHUMALO: Umsebenzi omningi we HIV awareness wenziwa ngabantu besifazane ngoba abantu besifazane izinto ezifana nalezi bayazisukumela phezulu’€¦. Ngakho ke uma eya eworkshop ubaba ethola ukuthi umuntu ofundisa ngaleligciwane ngumuntu wesifazane, ngoba sisesimweni lapho umphakathi wakithi usabhekela phansi abantu besifazane, kungena ngapha kuphume ngalena enye indlebe.   Ngakho lomyalezo awufinyeleli kahle kahle lapho kumele ufinyelele khona.

MABUTHO: UMbuyiselo Botha ungunobhala jikelele wenye inhlangano egqugquzela amadoda ukuba abambe iqhaza ezinhlelweni zokulwisana nokuhlukumeza ngokobulili, iSouth African Men’€™s Forum. Naye uyafakaza ukuthi ukungabibikho kwabesilisa ezinhlakeni zobuholi kwizinhlelo zokulwisana negciwane le HIV kanye nokwesabela ukucwaseka kunomthelela omkhulu ekuthenini amadoda angafuni ukuzibandakanya nezinhlelo zokulwisana negciwane le HIV ngokuthi ahambe aye kozihlolela igciwane.

MBUYISELO BOTHA: Thina singamadoda asiyi for iHIV test ngoba sesaba ukuthi bazongibona ukuthi ngilala nobani nobani. Siya ku doctor uma sesiyofa. Senzani? Sithumela imindeni yethu, abafazi bethu sithi ‘€˜iya ke wena for itesting ngoba mina ngiyasaba ukuthi uma ngiya khona bazothi awu lomuntu lo akaziphathanga kahle’€™. Sesaba istigma. ‘€¦ Uthola amadoda ethi ‘€˜kahleni mina angisoze ngiye laphaya ngoba kugcwele abantu besifazane. And uma ngifika khona bazofika bangihleke. Uma bengangihleki bazokwazi isimo sami’€™.    

MABUTHO: Nsuku zonke uSister Nokulunga Willie uhlangabezana nayo lenkinga. uWillie uphethe uphiko oluphathelene nokuzihlolela igciwane le HIV, iVoluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT), eMadwaleni Hospital, eMbashe budebuduze naseMthatha, esifundazweni saseMpumalanga Kapa. Uthi nakuba loluhlelo lokuhlola abantu igciwane le HIV luhamba kahle kuleyondawo kodwa banenkinga yokungafiki kwamadoda azozihlolela igciwane.

SISTER NOKULUNGA WILLIE: Beza kancinci abafani nabantu abangomama. Ngamanye amaxesha umuntu uya athumele inkosikazi yakhe, omunye ngamanye amaxesha athumele igirlfriend yakhe athi ‘€˜uma ngaba upositive ithetha uba nami ndi positive’€™. Ayiyo given point leyo intobana uba elinye iqabana lakho uba li positive nawe upositive. Yizoo testa nawe indawo engangeyakho ngoba ngamanye amaxesha amadoda awasuleleki ngokukhawuleza njengomama.

MABUTHO: UKhumalo we Sonke Gender Justice Network uthi inhlangano yakhe ibona ukuthi isixazululo kulenkinga ukuthi kwandiswe isibalo samadoda abamba iqhaza ezinhlelweni zokulwisana negciwane le HIV ngoba indoda uma izwa into ngenye indoda izwa kangcono.

BAFANA KHUMALO: Sibona ukuthi kufanele sigqugquzele abantu besilisa bathathe indima kulesisigaba sokukhuluma ngeze HIV/AIDS ngoba uma kusuka enye indoda iyokhuluma namanye amadoda ngaloludaba  amadoda ayalalela. Sithola ukuthi iresponse iyehluka kakhulu kunanoma befundiswa ngabantu besifazane. Ngakho ke sibona ukuthi uma kukhona abantu besilisa abaziyo ngaloludaba abazimesele ukubamba indima kulomsebenzi kuba nemiphumela emihle kakhulu ngoba bayakwazi ukufinyelela kubantu besilisa abaningi bakhulume nabo ngolimi abantu besilisa bazoluqondisisa kahle… Ngakho sibona lokho kubaluleke kakhulu.

MABUTHO: Ucwaningo olusanda kwenziwa abacwaningi bezempilo, bakwa Reproductive Health & HIV Research Unit (RHRU), enyuvesi yase Witwatersrand lubonisa ukuthi oyedwa kwabesifazane abathathu ngesikhathi eqala ukwenza ucansi wayephoqwe ngowesilisa. Lolucwaningo luphinde luveza ukuthi oyedwa kwabane kwabesifazane abaseminyakeni engu 20 kuya ku 24 unegciwane le HIV, ekubeni uma kuqhathaniswa nabesilisa abakuleminyaka uyedwa kuphela onegciwane le HIV. Ngale nje kwalolucwaningo ngokujwayelekile amadoda athathwa njengezinhloko zamakhaya, okwenza ukuthi abe namandla okuthatha izinqumo eziphathelene nezindaba zocansi. Lokhu kuba namandla kwamadoda ezindabeni zocansi kuyizinkomba zokuthi uma izinhlelo zokulwisana negciwane le HIV uma zingezukuwafaka amadoda mancane amathuba okuthi ziphumelele ekuguquleni ukucabanga kanye nokwenza kwabantu besilisa.

See the English summary below.

HIV/AIDS fight is meaningless without men ‘€“ lobby groups

Despite attempts by both the government and other sectors to encourage testing for HIV, most South African men are still not willing to get tested. We spoke to some of the nation’€™s men’€™s organizations to get more insight on this.

Bafana Khumalo, the founding co-ordinator of the Sonke Gender Justice Network, a non governmental organization (NGO) that works to promote gender equality, says the major cause of the problem is the failure of most men to accept women as equals.

‘€œUnfortunately most HIV awareness programs are done by women, because women are very active in these things. Now, when a man goes to a workshop and finds a woman talking about HIV, because we’€™re still living in a patriarchal society, they don’€™t take those women seriously,’€ he said.

Mbuyiselo Botha, General-Secretary of the South African Men’€™s Forum, added that the absence of men in most HIV/AIDS awareness programs and the stigma still attached to the condition are also major contributing factors.

‘€œWe, as men, do not check our HIV status because we fear the stigma. What we do (is) we only go to see a doctor when we are about to die. In most cases we send our wives to test on our behalf. Instead of doing it ourselves we keep on saying, ‘€˜I will not go there because they will laugh at me’€™,’€ said the outspoken Botha.

On daily basis Sister Nokulunga Willie is faced with this problem. Willie is the head of the Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) program at Madwaleni Hospital at Mbashe near Mthatha in the Eastern Cape province. She says although the HIV testing program is going well in the area, men are still reluctant to go for an HIV test.  

‘€œThey do not come in their numbers as women do. Sometimes you find out that a man would send his wife or sometimes his girlfriend for the HIV test and tells her, ‘€˜if you’€™re positive that would mean I am also positive as well’€™. That is not true. If your wife is positive, it does not mean that you’€™re also positive because we know that men, sometimes, are not easily infected like women. So, you need to test yourself to find out about your HIV status,’€ she advised.

In order to solve the problem, more men should be involved in leading HIV awareness campaigns, suggests Bafana Khumalo of the Sonke Gender Justice Network.

‘€œWe think it is important for us to encourage men to take part in HIV/AIDS awareness programs. We are saying that because we know that most men are likely to listen to other men than women. Therefore, we urge all men who are well-versed on HIV/AIDS issues to come forward and speak to other men in a language that they would understand better because we as men we have our own way of talking that cannot be understood by women,’€ he said.

A recent survey by the Reproductive Health & HIV Research Unit (RHRU) of the University of the Witwatersrand, shows that one-third of sexually experienced women reported that they did not want to have their first sexual encounter.   It further says that nearly one in four women aged between 20 and 24 is HIV-positive compared to one in 14 men of the same age. Men are also known to be decision makers in sexual relationships. This indicates that if HIV programs fail to include men there are less chances that they will succeed in changing the way men think and behave.

 

About the author

Health-e News

Health-e News is South Africa's dedicated health news service and home to OurHealth citizen journalism. Follow us on Twitter @HealtheNews