“Remember To Be Faithful”: Discussions of Fidelity with Young Men and Women in the Mtoni Ward of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Megan Klein Hattori, University of Massachusetts at Boston
Research on fidelity has been limited until the recent interest in concurrency as a driver of the epidemic. As such little is known about how young adults in regions with HIV epidemics understand fidelity. Data from in-depth interviews with 48 participants aged 15-24 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania show that participants hold fidelity as the ideal in relationships, yet many struggled achieving this ideal. Young adults often discussed mutual expectations of fidelity. However, constructions of masculinity that emphasize men’s sexuality were the main reason participants felt young men struggled with fidelity. Young women’s structural disadvantages and need to rely on their sexual resources were seen as barriers to their fidelity. Both sexes struggled with fidelity when their emotional and sexual needs were not met. Fidelity as a method of AIDS prevention permeates discussions between couples, yet these social and structural factors remain important barriers to promoting fidelity for HIV prevention.