"As a man this is how you should behave" - Developing 'men' as a method of HIV/AIDS prevention

Louise Nygaard Rasmussen

Studenteropgave: Speciale


This thesis is a study of two HIV/AIDS prevention practices in Uganda that aim to ‘develop men’ as a means of HIV/AIDS prevention. The ‘Be a Man’ campaign is a national communication campaign in Uganda. Through media campaigns and training of partner organisations, the campaign aims to redefine what it means to be a man in Uganda. One of these partner organisations is the community- and faith-based organisation, Reach Out Mbuya Parish HIV/AIDS Initiative. This organisation has a programme, which specifically targets men. This programme is called Operation Gideon. The education of men from the community Mbuya on HIV/AIDS issues takes places in small drinking places during the weekend. In Operation Gideon and the ‘Be a Man’ campaign, Ugandan men’s conduct is problematised for being risky to themselves and their partners, and at the same time a central assumption is that Ugandan men hold a privileged position in their families. Consequently, men must be targeted to take a key responsibility for preventing HIV/AIDS. In this thesis, I demonstrate that the fact that men are considered (part of) the solution in these projects, because of their privileged position, seems to entail that men’s privileged position cannot ultimately be challenged. Consequently, the task for the two practices becomes to encourage men in Uganda to practice their authority as men properly. In the ‘Be a Man’ campaign, men are to be enlightened to see how ‘traditional’ notions of masculinity affect their behaviour and attitudes negatively in relation to HIV/AIDS, and subsequently, they are to adopt a new alternative form of masculinity, which is defined by the campaign. In Operation Gideon, men are offered knowledge on how ‘negative’ cultural practices affect their behaviour, and in turn they are offered the word of God as the proper way to conduct themselves. According to the ‘Be a Man’ campaign, men have to be Gender Equitable Men, and in Operation Gideon they have to turn to God. I argue that both projects aim to produce self-responsible male subjects, and that they do so by making men reflect on how culture/masculinity constructions/traditions ‘programme(s)’ their conduct in ways that inhibit them from managing their own and their family’s risk of HIV infection.

UddannelserOffentlig Administration, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) KandidatInternationale Udviklingsstudier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato1 jun. 2007
VejledereLisa Ann Richey & Kaare Bjørn Thomsen


  • Uganda
  • Men & masculinities
  • Foucault
  • Faith-based approahces to HIV/AIDS