This study examines whether children in rural Zimbabwe have differing representations of their HIV/AIDS-affected peers based on the gender of those peers. A group of 128 children (58 boys, 70 girls) aged 10 - 14 participated in a draw-and-write exercise, in which they were asked to tell the story of either an HIV/AIDS-affected girl child, or an HIV/AIDS-affected boy child. Stories were inductively thematically coded, and then a post hoc statistical analysis was conducted to see if there were differences in the themes that emerged in stories about girls versus stories about boys. The results showed that boys were more often depicted as materially deprived, without adult and teacher support, and heavily burdened with household duties. Further research is needed to determine whether the perceptions of the children in this study point to a series of overlooked challenges facing HIV/AIDS-affected boys, or to a culture of gender inequality facing HIV/AIDS-affected girls - which pays more attention to male suffering than to female suffering.
LeRoux-Rutledge, E.; Guerlain, M.A.; Andersen, L.; Madanhire, C.; Mutsikiwa, A.; Nyamukapa, C.; Skovdal, M.; Gregson, S.; Campbell, C. It’s harder for boys? Children’s representations of their HIV/AIDS-affected peers in Zimbabwe. AIDS Care (2015) 27 (11) 1367-1374. [DOI: 10.1080/09540121.2015.1093592]