Cultural values and the spreading of AIDS in Africa
Christian Science Monitor
Awareness levels around the world are higher than they've ever been, but so is the pace at which the virus spread, according to the report. The real hurdle, say observers, is translating awareness into behavior change, and the effort often runs up against longstanding and strongly held cultural values.
African men who have become disempowered through a history of colonialism, racism, and poor economic prospects are unwilling to give up the power they hold over women, says Suzanne Leclerc-Madlala, head of anthropology at South Africa's University of KwaZulu-Natal.
"I don't think we're putting enough emphasis on changing men's behavior," says Ms. Leclerc-Madlala. She says a key solution is for male African leaders - whether politicians, sports figures, or traditional rulers - to take a stand, admit publicly that men's behavior is a problem, and urge men to change. >> continue
AIDS and Anthropology Research Group