AIDS, sociological studies of

The Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a complex of symptoms and ultimately deadly infections caused by the Human Immuno-deficiency Viruses (HIV). An initial period of high infectivity is followed after some three months by the appearance of HIV antibodies, which signal a reaction to the HIV infection, and on which the main tests for the condition are based. Following what are often years of symptom-free living, the body finally succumbs to normally rare and unusual diseases, especially PCP (Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia) and KS (Karposi's Sarcoma). The main vehicles of transmission are the bodily fluids, especially blood (blood transfusion, intravenous drug use, and vertical transmission from mother to child) and semen, chiefly by means of penetrative sexual intercourse (homosexual or heterosexual). The World Health Organization distinguishes three zones and patterns of infection: Asia, which is now the principal growth area of infection; the African continent (site of the initial discovery, and where transmission is primarily heterosexual in form); and industrialized Western nations (where an epidemic started in the 1980s, with infection primarily transmitted by homosexual intercourse, and intravenous drug needle-sharing). In 1996 it was estimated that 30 million people were infected by HIV and 10 million living with AIDS.
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, Aids in the World.

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Stigma (sociological theory) — In sociological theory, a stigma is an attribute, behavior, or reputation which is socially discrediting in a particular way: it causes an individual to be mentally classified by others in an undesirable, rejected stereotype rather than in an… …   Wikipedia

  • Cultural studies — is an academic field grounded in critical theory and literary criticism. It generally concerns the political nature of contemporary culture, as well as its historical foundations, conflicts, and defining traits. It is, to this extent, largely… …   Wikipedia

  • SOCIOLOGY — as a field of intellectual endeavor is much older than sociology as an academic discipline. Modern sociology can be traced to the Scottish moralists such as Adam Ferguson, David Hume, Adam Smith, and possibly to Thomas Hobbes. The word sociology… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Poverty — Street children sleeping in Mulberry Street – Jacob Riis photo New York, United States (1890) Poverty is the state of one who lacks a certain amount of material possessions or money.[1] Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford …   Wikipedia

  • KABBALAH — This entry is arranged according to the following outline: introduction general notes terms used for kabbalah the historical development of the kabbalah the early beginnings of mysticism and esotericism apocalyptic esotericism and merkabah… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • political system — Introduction       the set of formal legal institutions that constitute a “government” or a “ state.” This is the definition adopted by many studies of the legal or constitutional arrangements of advanced political orders. More broadly defined,… …   Universalium

  • Israel — /iz ree euhl, ray /, n. 1. a republic in SW Asia, on the Mediterranean: formed as a Jewish state May 1948. 5,534,672; 7984 sq. mi. (20,679 sq. km). Cap.: Jerusalem. 2. the people traditionally descended from Jacob; the Hebrew or Jewish people. 3 …   Universalium

  • Levittown, Pennsylvania — Geobox Settlement name = Levittown native name = other name = other name1 = category = Census designated place image size = image caption = Aerial view of Levittown, Pennsylvania circa 1959 flag size = symbol = symbol size = nickname = motto =… …   Wikipedia

  • John Berger — John Peter Berger (born November 5, 1926) is an English art critic, novelist, painter and author. His novel G. won the 1972 Booker Prize, and his essay on art criticism Ways of Seeing , written as an accompaniment to a BBC series, is often used… …   Wikipedia

  • Institutional racism — (or structural racism or systemic racism) refers to a form of racism which occurs specifically in institutions such as public bodies, corporations, and universities. The term was coined by black nationalist, pan Africanist and honorary prime… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.