The cultural challenge of HIV/AIDS

Pamela Das and Richard Horton The Lancet, 2012; Vol. 380, No. 9839 Download publication

The Lancet series on HIV and men who have sex with men (MSM) examines scientific advances alongside the cultural and political dimensions of HIV/AIDS.

The editorial by Pamela Das and Richard Horton argues that structural elements of the HIV epidemic, such as stigma and criminalisation, have been neglected in the pursuit of technical solutions.

The authors warn against an exclusively biomedical approach and a reliance on technical breakthroughs at the cost of a broader understanding of the diverse social and cultural relations that shape people’s vulnerability to HIV.

[I]n truth, the underlying challenge of HIV is only partly technical. A more important barrier is cultural: stigma and alienation apply not only to the HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men but also among heterosexuals.

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