Male Youth and Voluntary Counseling and HIV-Testing (VCT): The Case of Uganda and Malawi

Chimaraoke 0 Izugbara, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)

Research addressing the complexities of young people’s beliefs about VCT is scarce. Focusing on Uganda and Malawi, we analyze qualitative data elicited from young males in group interviews on VCT. Participants in the study were vastly cognizant of the mainstream public health rhetoric on VCT. However, much of their narratives framed VCT uptake in terms of danger, as a sign of lack of self-confidence, and as an acknowledgment of vulnerability: A tendency, which we argue, is not unrelated to male youth’s inclination to perform their masculinity in gestures of self-efficacy, imperviousness, invulnerability, and invincibility. The idea of ‘not wanting to die alone’ from AIDS also featured prominently in the narratives, with several respondents declaring that they themselves would spread the disease further should they test positive. Comprehensive HIV education and communication is key to disrupting dangerous and unscientific beliefs about HIV/AIDS circulating among young people and freeing them from the shackles of consternation over VCT and HIV

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Presented in Poster Session 3