Forum recommends male-only clinic, The Herald

Date: January 1, 1970
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This story is about the growing need for male-only clinics to provide comfortable settings for men to access reproductive and sexual health care.

This article can be used to:
1. Show how media can help in dispelling myths around HIV and AIDS, and helping to promote positive living.
2. Show how media presents certain perspectives, and how diversity can enhance a story, as well as how those most affected i.e. men who want to access services, are not heard.
3. Raise discussion on the gender aspects of HIV/AIDS and testing.
4. Raise discussions on how cultural expectations affect men.
Trainer’s Notes
Strength: The gender dimensions of HIV/AIDS – this story begins to challenge the conventional notion of what it means to be a “man” and shows the link between this and men being at risk of HIV. It also illustrates through the voices and perspective of one of the sources, how men, because of socialisation, go into denial when they learn of their HIV status and do not seek out health care.
Weakness: The need for a variety and balance of sources – The story is potential good but falls short because it has only two sources, both of whom are men.
Sources: This story is told only through the voices and perspectives of men. Although the story is written by a female journalist, because the central focus of the story is on the reproductive and sexual health of men, only men are accessed. Ironically, this is not the same in stories written about the reproductive and sexual health of women. In these stories, men are also accessed as sources, especially as “experts” (male doctors, researchers and spokespersons in the area of reproductive health, among others). Both men also are “experts” – the head of an NGO advocating for the male-only clinics and a medical laboratory scientist based at an infectious disease hospital. No ordinary men, who are the most affected by the issues raised in the article are accessed, and the voices of women are silent in a story, which alludes to how the reproductive and sexual health of men does impact on women. Two sources only in a feature story which gives the journalist more time to do research and interviews is inadequate and limits the depth and perspective that can be brought to this issue. Ordinary women and men, as well as nurses, women doctors and health care providers, are potential sources that have been missed in this story.
Perspective: Only a male perspective is presented in this article which does provide an analysis of the need to challenge the conventional stereotypes and definition of masculinity, and how this makes men vulnerable to HIV. This story, through the voice of the director of the NGO Padare, a male forum for men, does begin to challenge the status quo of what it means to be a man, but it does not go further to gather a variety of views and perspectives from other men and women to see how far within society the notion of masculinity is being challenged.
Angle: The angle of men’s reproductive and sexual health and the need for male-only clinics is a good angle for covering the HIV/AIDS pandemic from a gender perspective. A strength in the story is the link it makes between men’s understanding of masculinity and their vulnerability to HIV, as well as why they put women at risk.  This angle also begins to challenge, as stated above, the norms and values of what it means to be a ‘man’. The weakness in sources however detracts from the potential of this story being stronger in analysing the gendered dimensions of HIV/AIDS and gender.

Discussion Questions
1. Discuss with students/participants the links between reproductive and sexual rights and HIV/AIDS.
2. How could be strengthened with more information on the links between reproductive and sexual rights and HIV/AIDS.
3. How is the shaping of masculinity changing ? What is the role of media, how do they portray men?

Training exercises:
1. Give students/participants a copy of the story to read. Send them out on an assignment to expand the number of sources in the story, including the voices and perspectives of both women and men. When the students/participants return, make a list of all the different sources that have been accessed. Determine if there is a predominance of one type of source (eg. women and men “experts”), and discuss with the students/participants various ways to break this pattern in their reporting. Issues to be dealt with include:
– Why are the voices and perspectives of ordinary women and men missing in coverage?
– What techniques can journalists use to make ordinary women and men comfortable to talk to the media and share their views?
2. Seek out positive images/ stories/ role models of men. Interview and write stories, produce a photo-story, or assist these men to write first hand accounts that explore what it is to "be a man." 

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