AIDS, sociological studies of
Sociology has contributed in various ways to the understanding and control of AIDS/HIV infection. Studies of sexual networks of transmission were crucial for identifying the virus in 1982. Sociology has also informed national and large-scale studies of sexual and drug-taking behaviour, both KABP (Knowledge, Attitudes, Behaviour and Practices), and the more innovative and qualitative research that is necessary to monitor the prevalence and incidence of high-risk behaviour and risk-taking activity. Theories of risk-taking have also developed from early reliance on the Health Belief Model to contextual and strategic aspects and the study of collective and community response.
Because the activities implicated in the transmission of AIDS are in many societies either illegal or tend to involve already marginalized groups, sociological studies of gender, deviance, and sexual identity have been used to focus research studies. Techniques have been devised to identify and sample hard-to-reach and ‘hidden populations’, such as intravenous drug-users and non-gay-identified men who have sex with men, by extending existing sociological and anthropological methodologies. Methods such as sexual diaries have been employed to elicit intrusive information as non-reactively as possible.
The main resources for the study of sociological features of AIDS include the annual Social Aspects of Aids conference and volume, and the biennial WHO/UNAIDS publication edited by J. Mann et al. , Aids in the World
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