Structural and Social Contexts of HIV Risk Among African Americans

Friedman, Samuel R.; Cooper, Hannah L.F.; Osborne, Andrew H.
June 2009
American Journal of Public Health;Jun2009, Vol. 99 Issue 6, p1002
Academic Journal
HIV continues to be transmitted at unacceptably high rates among African Americans, and most HIV-prevention interventions have focused on behavioral change. To theorize additional approaches to HIV prevention among African Americans, we discuss how sexual networks and drug-injection networks are as important as behavior for HIV transmission. We also describe how higher-order social structures and processes, such as residential racial segregation and racialized policing, may help shape risk networks and behaviors. We then discuss 3 themes in African American culture — survival, propriety, and struggle — that also help shape networks and behaviors. Finally, we conclude with a discussion of how these perspectives might help reduce HIV transmission among African Americans.


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