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Things less spoken – HIVb research with adolescent boys and young men

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Publication Details

Subtitle: Implications for theory, policy and practice

Author list: Gittings L, Hodes R, Colvin CJ, Zungu N.

Editor list: Govender K, Poku NK.

Edition name or number: 1st Edition

Publisher: London: Routledge

Place: London

Publication year: 2020

Total number of pages: 340

ISBN: 9780429462818

eISBN: 9780429462818



There is increasing acknowledgement that men and boys must be better engaged in HIV prevention and treatment initiatives. The recently published UNAIDS report ‘Addressing a Blind Spot in the Response to HIV’ argues that improving men’s access to prevention and treatment services would result in a ‘triple dividend’, benefitting boys and men themselves as well as their sexual partners and families.

A growing literature explores masculinities in relation to HIV risk and HIV-related health outcomes. However, work with men and boys is often formulaic or does not adequately acknowledge multiple and complex masculinities and the experiences and conditions that shape them. Approaches and strategies are needed that dynamically and effectively engage adolescent boys and young men (ABYM) in research, policy and programming.

This chapter presents methodological and ethical considerations for working with this group. The authors draw on their experiences conducting qualitative research with ABYM. While this chapter focuses on research, our findings are relevant to those working with ABYM in policy, programming and advocacy.

The findings comprise three main components. They recount experiences and learnings from a research study with adolescent boys living with HIV, and are framed in relation to their wider implications for research and programming with boys and men. The first section asks, ‘Who is best placed to work with adolescent boys and young men?’ It highlights the significance of positionality and intersubjectivity. The second section uses the lens of hegemonic masculinity to explore the strategies for engagement used by young men working with adolescent boys. It focuses on how particular performances of masculinity may allow boys to move beyond dominant masculine scripts, allowing for the expression of alternative gender norms. The final section considers the potential opportunities as well as shortfalls and challenges of research and interventions focusing specifically on ABYM.

Acknowledging the intimate link between HIV prevention and treatment, this chapter focuses on ABYM living with HIV.


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Adolescents, health behavior

Last updated on 2021-23-02 at 21:08