This article examines the development of anthropological research in response to AIDS. During the first decade of the epidemic, most social science research focused on the behavioral correlates of HIV infection among individuals and failed to examine broader social and cultural factors. By the late 1980s, however, pioneering work by anthropologists began to raise the importance of cultural systems in shaping sexual practices relevant to HIV transmission and prevention. Since the start of the 1990s, this emphasis on cultural analysis has taken shape alongside a growing anthropological research focus on structural factors shaping vulnerability to HIV infection. Work on social inequality and the political economy of HIV and AIDS has been especially important. Much current research seeks to integrate both cultural and structural concerns in providing an alternative to more individualistic behavioral research paradigms.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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