PlusNews Profiles Kenya NGO That Seeks to Involve Men in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS

PlusNews on Monday profiled the Kisumu chapter of the Movement of Men Against AIDS in Kenya, a nongovernmental organization with a national membership of more than 6,000 mostly HIV-positive men that seeks to "challenge social and cultural stereotypes [that] hinder progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS." The 69-member Kisumu chapter is located in the country's Nyanza province and convenes weekly to provide support for HIV-positive members and to discuss new ways to involve men in the fight against HIV/AIDS. According to PlusNews, the group has "come as a welcome relief" in the "old-school part of the country [where] men are expected to bottle up their problems, grit their teeth and get on with it." The group and its members work to reduce the stigma of HIV/AIDS by creating programs that break with traditional views that sexual and reproductive health issues are solely women's issues. "[W]e advocate for greater involvement of men in care and support of HIV-positive people," Elijah Oyola, the group's Kisumu site coordinator, said, adding, "We want men to own the process of fighting AIDS, since it affects them so much." According to Kenneth Otieno, a group member who recently completed a UNICEF course on how to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, "It is important for men to join their spouses when they go to [pre]natal clinic. They are part of the family and [vertical transmission of HIV] is not just a women's issue, it is a family issue" (PlusNews, 7/31).

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