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Living with HIV : men, masculinities and health in Portugal

Baptista-Goncalves, Rui; (2013) Living with HIV : men, masculinities and health in Portugal. Doctoral thesis , Institute of Education, University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

Portugal has traditionally had the highest HIV incidence in Western Europe, currently standing at 0.6% (UNAIDS, 2011). In addition, men in Portugal are disproportionately infected with HIV. Portuguese men are traditionally expected to initiate sexual activity earlier than women and not to worry about safer sex. However, little is known about how prevailing norms of masculinity may influence their experiences of living with HIV. Informed by an interpretivist epistemology and utilising multiple methods, data were gathered from in-depth interviews with 20 men living with HIV and 10 professionals involved in their care, as well as observation of clinical and social support spaces. A number of structural issues impact on men's experiences of living with HIV. In particular, for some men there was a sense of social death, one that drew on the apparent invisibility of HIV, overall ignorance regarding the virus and its effects, reduced government HIV prevention efforts, and feelings of rejection towards people living with HIV. Despite an apparent move from HIV being a fatal disease to a chronic illness globally, participants indicated that HIV in Portugal is still regarded as a dangerous disease at both social and institutional levels. Concomitantly, some men successfully adapted to living with HIV in positive and meaningful ways. Adaptation was facilitated if there had been previous experience of biographical disruption: in particular among gay men or men from ethnic minorities. The close focus, qualitative methods employed allowed for deeper insights into the complexities of structural factors associated with men's experiences of living with HIV. In particular, this study captured some of the struggles, tensions and challenges inherent to living with HIV in a developed country today.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Living with HIV : men, masculinities and health in Portugal
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos...
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis: (PhD) University of London Institute of Education, 2013.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10020753
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