Changing attitudes towards HIV testing and treatment among three generations of men in Cameroon: a qualitative analysis using the Fogg Behavior Model

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



BMC public health








Antiretroviral treatment; Cameroon; HIV; Masculinity; Men living with HIV; Social norms


INTRODUCTION: Men are less likely than women to test for HIV and promptly initiate antiretroviral treatment, resulting in advanced HIV disease and increased mortality rates among them. METHODS: In-depth interviews were conducted with men and leaders in the west and central regions of Cameroon. Men were recruited from existing community groups and stratified by age: 21-30 years, 31-40 years, and 41 years and older. Community leaders were recommended by the community dialogue structure chairman. Interviews were conducted using a semi-structured guide in English or French, depending on the participant's preference. Transcripts were coded in the MAXQDA v.12 software and analyzed using thematic analysis and by age group. The Fogg Behavior Model was used to gain a deeper understanding of the different perceptions across all age groups. RESULTS: Younger men (21-30 years) were generally more accepting of HIV testing, as it had become normative behavior. Although financial barriers could limit access, free testing was mentioned as a prompt to initiate HIV testing. The middle age men (31-40 years) had the most concerns about HIV testing interrupting their work day and recommended increasing testing locations and hours. The older men (41 + years) were the least motivated to get tested, citing worries about the impact on their social standing within the community. All age groups reported being motivated to begin treatment if they were found to be HIV-positive. Participants also provided insights regarding community HIV testing and treatment messaging. Younger and older men preferred to hear directly from qualified health professionals, but younger men noted that social media, radio, and TV could be utilized. Middle age men also identified TV and radio as effective mediums, if door-to-door messaging was not an option. CONCLUSIONS: The study highlights important considerations when planning future information-sharing activities for HIV testing and treatment. Since lived experiences differ across generations and societal roles continue to change, not only should the content of messages differ among the generations, but the means of communication must also be considered to ensure the messages are conveyed through a trusted source.


Prevention and Community Health