Hutch in South Africa

Men's evolving roles crucial to stopping HIV

Mzamo Sidelo and Malawande Luzipho

Mzamo Sidelo, left, and Malawande Luzipho are trainers at the Sonke Gender Justice Network.

Photo by Robert Hood

Mzamo Sidelo is trying to stop AIDS by changing the family culture in South Africa.

"In the townships, there are a lot of kids who grew up without fathers," said Sidelo, a senior trainer with the Sonke Gender Justice Network, which offers programs aimed at helping men not only take financial responsibility for their children, but to also deepen the bonds with their partners.

He believes more family involvement will drive down HIV rates since men will be more emotionally invested in their children and their children's mothers.

Jim Maynard, director of communications and community engagement for the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, this week stopped by the center to talk to the men about the HVTN research programs during a clinic visit.

At the network, located in Gugulethu township, South Africa, the men talk about their transforming roles.

"The social norms have binded us too much. We follow what was practiced by our fathers and our grandfathers," said Sidelo. "Here, we want to close the issue of absent fathers for children."

South African's men's group.

HVTN's Jim Maynard, wearing a blue shirt, speaks with a group of men at the Sonke Gender Justice Network on Oct. 23, 2013.

Photo by Robert Hood

Fred Hutch’s HIV Vaccine Trials Network opened a lab in Cape Town as we continue our quest to find a vaccine and end the march of AIDS.  Follow our stories and photographs at