The paper focuses on key issues in research and control of infectious diseases and demonstrates the utility of combining a gender perspective with anthropological investigation both for understanding disease and for designing and evaluating interventions for its control. Based on a definition of gender as opposed to sex, it illustrates, with the help of a gender framework for tropical diseases, how this concept is applied. It argues that gender-sensitive research is essential to the understanding of the nature of the disease, its prevalence, distribution, determinants and consequences. Examples are taken from anthropological studies on infectious diseases, including research on urinary schistosomiasis, malaria, leprosy, leishmaniasis and onchocerciasis. How gender-sensitive qualitative research can guide the design and evaluation of appropriate interventions for the prevention and control of infectious diseases is also discussed.