Men are often expected to be ‘tough and strong’. To keep that image for the community, men may choose continue to pretend that ‘nothing is wrong’. One way of doing this is to take risks with your health. This can put you and your family or partner in an unnecessary vulnerable situation.
What are the risks when men try to be ‘tough and strong’?
When you feel ill you may ignore it
If you ignore your health, your illness may progress. It may be more difficult to make a full and speedy recovery. If your illness is HIV, you may not know and then pass it on to someone you care for or get sicker than you need to.
When you face problems you may stay silent
But you may struggle to solve the problem alone, leading to anger, violence, or possibly illegal behaviour. Not talking about it means you keep the hurt or pain inside, sometimes for a long time or resort to desperate acts.
Watch out for these risk-taking beliefs or behaviours:
- Abusing alcohol, drugs and other harmful substances
- An unwillingness to talk about sex openly with your partner
- Refusing to use a condom
- Giving into peer pressure to have many sexual partners
- Believing you have a high sex drive that needs many partners to satisfy
- Ignoring any known STI symptoms and hope they just go away without treating yourself and your partner(s).
It is good to tackle health and relationships in an honest and clear manner. Know your health status so you can protect those around you. This is what being tough and strong is really all about.
Credit: Extracted and adapted from SafAIDS ‘Men are Protectors’