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Risk and HIV/AIDS for women toward the year 2000.


Int Conf AIDS. 1998;12:437 (abstract no. 23476). Unique Identifier :

ISSUE: Research and anecdotal evidence indicates that strategies such as social marketing are not always appropriate in meeting the needs of women who are "at risk" of HIV/AIDS. Many women who are currently living with HIV/AIDS had little or no perception that they were in fact at risk of infection despite being exposed to prevention campaigns and education. PROJECT: This paper is based on data gathered as part of an ongoing research project which aims to document the lives and experiences of women living with HIV/AIDS and information which is gathered as a service provider. Many of the women interviewed and those accessing HIV/AIDS services had little or no perception that they were "at risk" of HIV/AIDS infection. This situation is more complex than the women being irresponsible, careless, involved in risk taking behaviours or being promiscuous. Data gathered indicates that while most of the women had knowledge of HIV/AIDS education and prevention they felt the messages were not relevant to their lives and were unrealistic as the emphasis was placed on the women to negotiate "safe sex" and no recognition was given to issues such as power differences between partners. RESULTS: The paper uses in depth interview material provided by HIV positive women to illustrate some of the short falling's and assumptions made in the education and prevention campaigns that they were exposed to. It highlights that the terms such as "safe" and "risk" have different meanings for different populations and that personal safety is more complex than some education and prevention messages acknowledge. LESSON LEARNED: It is worth taking into consideration and listening to the experiences and opinions of women living with HIV/AIDS when targeting education and prevention messages at women, particularly women "at risk". Rather than positioning HIV positive women as a potential source of infection to the general population it may be more productive to consider how women are positioned in relation to notions of risk and risk behaviours.

MEETING ABSTRACTS Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome/*EPIDEMIOLOGY/PREVENTION & CONTROL/TRANSMISSION Australia Female Forecasting Health Education/TRENDS Human HIV Infections/*EPIDEMIOLOGY/PREVENTION & CONTROL/TRANSMISSION HIV Seroprevalence/*TRENDS Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice Risk Factors Sex Behavior


Information in this article was accurate in December 30, 1998. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.