The Society for Social Work and Research

2013 Annual Conference

January 16-20, 2013 I Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina I San Diego, CA

The Social-Structural Production of HIV Risk: Making Visible the Stakes and Stakeholders

Friday, January 18, 2013: 2:30 PM-4:15 PM
Executive Center 4 (Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina)
Cluster: Health and Disability
Symposium Organizer:
Peter A. Newman, PhD, University of Toronto
Peter A. Newman, PhD, University of Toronto
HIV travels along the fault lines of poverty and disenfranchisement. Globally, an estimated 34 million people are living with HIV, with over two million new infections occurring annually (UNAIDS, 2011). Biomedical advances in the past 15 years have revolutionized prevention and care for persons at risk for and living with HIV, particularly in the Global North; this has concurrently resulted in a return to the earlier medicalization of the epidemic. Biomedical factors and interventions are seen as the pivotal mechanisms for understanding and controlling HIV; social and structural factors—the underlying drivers of the epidemic—are relegated to the background (Rhodes et al., 2005; Riley et al., 2012; Wolffers, 2000).

The social work profession has unique analyses and contributions to offer, and important responsibilities, in addressing global HIV. These include making visible and engaging with stakeholders and populations often marginalized in the epidemic; making visible the ubiquitous social and structural determinants of HIV risk; and building evidence to support effective social-structural interventions. Absent a social-structural analysis and related multi-level interventions, biomedical innovations are unlikely to be effective in ending the epidemic.

This symposium features research projects with ethno-racially, sexually and nationally diverse populations (and investigators) that are often invisible stakeholders in the epidemic: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people living with HIV (PLHIV) in Haiti; immigrant Black women in Canada; and lesbian, bisexual and queer women in Canada. These projects also share in common community-based approaches, a focus on making visible the social-structural mechanisms that produce risk, and the development of evidence informed by community strengths to support meaningful, socio-culturally informed preventive interventions.

After the individual presentations we will provide an overview and facilitate audience discussion of cross-cutting as well as population-specific themes, discuss research questions and methods that characterize a social-structural approach to HIV, and critically evaluate potential pathways for further research and intervention.

* noted as presenting author
Sexual Stigma and Safer Sex Practices Among Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Women in Toronto, Canada
Carmen Logie, MSW, PhD, University of Calgary; Marie Jolie Rwigema, MSW, University of Toronto
Uninformed, Misinformed, Mistreated: Unraveling the Social, Historical and Political Roots of Canadian Black Women's Disengagement From HIV Prevention
Charmaine C. Williams, PhD, University of Toronto; Peter A. Newman, PhD, University of Toronto; Notisha Massaquoi, MSW, Women's Health in Women's Hands Community Health Centre; Marie Jolie Rwigema, MSW, University of Toronto
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