Uncovering HIV vulnerabilities beyond the usual layers: contemporary masculinities and heterosexuality of the Black Man in London Ontario, Canada

Authors: Roger Antabe*, University of Western Ontario
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Ethnicity and Race, Canada
Keywords: Heterosexual; African; Caribbean, Black; HIV; AIDS; Ontario; Canada
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 3:55 PM / 5:35 PM
Room: Tyler, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Despite Canada’s low HIV prevalence rates, heterosexual African Caribbean and Black (ACB) men are more likely to be infected. It has been suggested that traditional hegemonic masculinities normalise risky sexual practices which therefore heightens HIV risk among this group. Some studies have however highlighted complex pathways through which ACB men engage their masculinities to address their health-related challenges. In spite of this emerging evidence, our understanding of how contemporary constructions of masculinity among heterosexual ACB men may be useful in explaining and addressing their complex HIV vulnerabilities is limited. As part of a larger study ‘weSpeak’ focused on HIV vulnerability and resilience among heterosexual ACB men in London Ontario, we draw on analysis of interviews (n=13) and focus group discussions (n=4). The analysis revealed that masculinity among heterosexual ACB men is stereotypically constructed to reflect the racialized identity of the black man in Canada. We further found that heterosexual ACB men were reconstructing meanings of masculinity to address their vulnerabilities in the midst of increasing HIV risk. Based on these findings, it is crucial for health policy in Canada to leverage the emerging reconstruction of masculinity and engage ACB communities to reduce HIV risk among heterosexual ACB men.

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