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It is now clear that gender is an essential factor shaping the narratives of men as well as women. However, there have been few studies of the daily lives or sexual activities of heterosexual men. Hence, strategies developed to prevent the spread of the HIV virus are rarely based on detailed knowledge of the men whose behaviours they are intended to change; this is especially evident in the developing world where the epidemic is most severe. Nor do we know very much about those men who have already been diagnosed as HIV positive. Around 13 million men are now living with HIV of whom around 96% are in low or middle income countries. Migrants from developing countries also make up the majority of positive people in a number of developed countries. In the UK, for example, heterosexual activity is now responsible for about half of all new HIV diagnoses with the majority of those involved being of African origin. But almost nothing is known about the ways in which different constructions of masculinity affect their experiences of illness. This study used qualitative methods to explore the experiences of a sample of black African men who defined themselves as heterosexual and were receiving treatment for HIV and/or AIDS in London. It explored their feelings, their needs, their hopes and their desires as they negotiated their lives in the diaspora. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original publication




Journal article


Social Science and Medicine

Publication Date





1901 - 1907