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AIDS Care. 2012;24(10):1197-203. doi: 10.1080/09540121.2012.661834. Epub 2012 Mar 5.

Men and women have specific needs that facilitate enrollment in HIV-prevention counseling.

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  • 1Department of Social Work, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL, USA.


Although reducing HIV risk is a primary motive for the design of HIV prevention interventions, the goals of the clients may be very different. Social theories of gender suggest that women, who often seek to resolve social and relational problems, may see HIV-prevention counseling as a mean of resolving partner violence. In contrast, men, who often worry about their physical strength, may seek to enroll in HIV-prevention programs when they experience physical symptoms unrelated to HIV. An unobtrusive study was conducted to observe enrollment in HIV risk-reduction counseling after measuring partner-violence complaints (e.g., feeling threatened or being hit), emotional complaints (e.g., fatigue or anxiety), and physical complaints (e.g., cardiovascular or digestive symptoms). The sample was a group of 350 participants, 70% clients from a state-health department in North Central Florida and 30% community members. Consistent with predictions, complaints of partner violence had a positive association with enrollment in women but not in men, whereas complaints about physical health had a positive association with enrollment in men, but not in women. Emotional complaints did not predict enrollment in either gender group. This study suggests that broad, gender-specific population needs must be competently addressed within HIV-prevention programs and may be strategically used to increase program enrollment.

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