Fatherhood, marriage and HIV risk among young men in rural Uganda

Type Journal Article - Culture, health & sexuality
Title Fatherhood, marriage and HIV risk among young men in rural Uganda
Volume 18
Issue 5
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Page numbers 538-552
URL http://www.popline.org/node/639886
Compared to a large body of work on how gender may affect young
women’s vulnerability to HIV, we know little about how masculine
ideals and practices relating to marriage and fertility desires shape
young men’s HIV risk. Using life-history interview data with 30 HIVpositive
and HIV-negative young men aged 15–24 years, this analysis
offers an in-depth perspective on young men’s transition through
adolescence, the desire for fatherhood and experience of sexual
partnerships in rural Uganda. Young men consistently reported the
desire for fatherhood as a cornerstone of masculinity and transition
to adulthood. Ideally young men wanted children within socially
sanctioned unions. Yet, most young men were unable to realise
their marital intentions. Gendered expectations to be economic
providers combined with structural constraints, such as limited
access to educational and income-generating opportunities, led
some young men to engage in a variety of HIV-risk behaviours.
Multiple partnerships and limited condom use were at times an
attempt by some young men to attain some part of their aspirations
related to fatherhood and marriage. Our findings suggest that young
men possess relationship and parenthood aspirations that – in an
environment of economic scarcity – may influence HIV-related risk.

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