Identifying “What Matters Most” to Men in Botswana to Promote Resistance to HIV-Related Stigma

Supriya Misra, Haitisha T. Mehta, Evan L. Eschliman, Shathani Rampa, Ohemaa B. Poku, Wei Qian Wang, Ari R. Ho-Foster, Mosepele Mosepele, Timothy D. Becker, Patlo Entaile, Tonya Arscott-Mills, Phillip R. Opondo, Michael B. Blank, Lawrence H. Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite a comprehensive national program of free HIV services, men living with HIV in Botswana participate at lower rates and have worse outcomes than women. Directed content analysis of five focus groups (n = 38) and 50 in-depth interviews with men and women with known and unknown HIV status in Gaborone, Botswana in 2017 used the “what matters most” (WMM) and “structural vulnerability” frameworks to examine how the most valued cultural aspects of manhood interact with HIV-related stigma. WMM for manhood in Botswana included fulfilling male responsibilities by being a capable provider and maintaining social status. Being identified with HIV threatened WMM, which fear of employment discrimination could further exacerbate. Our findings indicate how cultural and structural forces interact to worsen or mitigate HIV-related stigma for urban men in Botswana. These threats to manhood deter HIV testing and treatment, but interventions could capitalize on cultural capabilities for manhood to promote stigma resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1680-1696
Number of pages17
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • AIDS
  • Botswana
  • HIV
  • culture
  • directed content analysis
  • masculinity
  • men
  • qualitative
  • stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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