This forum on the challenges of preventing STD/AIDS in Portuguese-speaking African countries contains three articles and a postscript. The first paper reviews academic production on the topic from the fields of the social sciences and of health, with special attention on how local cultural and socioeconomic factors impact the dynamics of the epidemic. Based on an ethnographic study of a region in southern Mozambique, the second paper analyzes the notion of 'tradition' within the context of Mozambique and how it affects perceptions of the local population's vulnerability to STD/AIDS. The third and final article discusses common ground and differences between government and civil society in gender approaches by community HIV/AIDS projects in Mozambique. Their observations suggest that important mistakes have been made in STD/AIDS prevention discourse and initiatives in African countries because the unique features of local development models and cultural systems have not been taken into account.