Addressing social drivers of HIV/AIDS: Some conceptual, methodological, and evidentiary considerations

Judith D. Auerbach, Justin O. Parkhurst, Carlos F. Cáceres, Kimberly E. Keller aids 2031, 2009; Social Drivers Working Group, Working Paper 24 Download publication

The patterns of behaviour that shape vulnerability to HIV arise from combinations of structural drivers.

Social science approaches must be more fully incorporated into the global response to HIV - this is now widely recognised. In this paper, the aids2031 Social Drivers Working Group draws attention to the intersection of specific social, economic and political contexts that combine to shape the structural drivers of HIV.

The paper includes recommendations on the design of rigorous and scientific programmes to address social-structural factors. Inter alia, researchers are advised to:

  • assess the social and structural factors that may be shaping patterns of risk behaviour in targeted populations and settings
  • identify sociologically plausible causal chains between distal structural factors and specific individual or group practices
  • identify levels of possible influence, in line with the HIV prevention programme’s or intervention’s scope and aim
  • make explicit any assumptions about such influences and aims, including potential expected and unexpected consequences of the programme or intervention
  • build in evaluation mechanisms appropriate to the aim, level, scope, and method of the programme or intervention as a way to enable validation of assumptions, investigation of the mechanisms by which structures affect risk and vulnerability, and appropriate assessment of outcomes and impact

Filter by