Objective: Heterosexual adult men continue to be a neglected population that is at risk for HIV infection. Worldwide, cultural, and behavioral concepts continue to play a role in the spread of the infection. Likewise, across the Caribbean region, many heterosexual men acknowledge feeling social pressure in relationships to engage in behaviors that are perceived to be masculine (i.e. no condom use). However, the relationship between safer sex practices and masculine ideology has been more often presumed than examined and the relationship remains relatively obscure.
Methods: A descriptive correlational design was used to (a) examine the relationships among select demographics, masculine ideology, and safer sex behaviors; and (b) identify select predictors of safer sex practices among Bahamian men. Data were collected from a convenience sample of 185 men, 18 years and older, using the Male Role Norms Scale and Safe Sex Behavior Questionnaire.
Results: Using multivariate analysis, masculine ideology was negatively associated with safer sex behaviors (r = -.252, p < .01), important in explaining 28% variance and a significant contributor (p = .001, 95% CI: -.547-.153) in safer sex behaviors. Income (β = -.15, p < .01) and masculine ideology (β = -.24, p < .01) were significantly associated with safer sex behaviors.
Conclusion: Bahamian masculine ideology plays a key role in safer sex practices. This new knowledge directs HIV prevention programs to focus on cultural dynamics that may challenge men. Implications for future research and socially sensitive HIV prevention efforts targeting heterosexual men are discussed.
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