The National – Monday, January 31, 2011
By ELIZABETH MIAE
MORE focus should be given to men when it comes to prevention of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STI), a study has suggested.
The report on the study highlighted that there was a need to focus on men as agents of change in relation to their own sexual health.
This would in turn increase support for women to gain more access to information on condoms, gender inequalities, sexual violence and increase the recognition and treatment for STI and HIV testing.
It was also highlighted that there was a need to begin prevention within the institution of initiation in the haus man to ensure that instruments being used were not shared and clean and created targeted information for men on safe cutting practices with men in more informal contexts.
The study was conducted in 2008 and 2009 by the National Research Institute, Department of Health surveillance unit, Asian Development Bank HIV prevention in rural economic enclaves project and the Australian Research Centre in sex, health and society, La Trobe University.
It was conducted in collaboration with the WR Carpenters (WRC) workforce of coffee and tea pickers in the Highlands region.
Researchers asked the workers if they knew about voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) for HIV to understand the health seeking behaviour of the workforce and to know their HIV status.
“When asked if they had ever heard of VCT, half had heard of it (49.6%) and the other half (50.4%) had never heard about VCT,” the report said.
“Of those who heard about it, men were more aware of VCT compared to the female workers.
“There is a statistically significant association between a person’s sex and whether they have heard of VCT.
“There were more males (74.4%) than females (25.6%) workers who have heard of VCT.”
During the collection of research data, it was highlighted by the workforce that conditions of life such as access to clean water and good sanitation needed consideration as policy issues at WRC.
They stated that lack of access to clean water and good sanitation for WRC workforce made them more vulnerable to water borne and hygiene related diseases.