This paper reports on an ethnographic study in Cartagena, Colombia. Over a seven-month fieldwork period, 35 men and 35 women between 15 and 60 years of age discussed the social context of HIV/AIDS through in-depth interviews, life histories and drawing. Participants considered the transgression of traditional gender roles as prescribed by machismo a major risk factor for HIV infection. In addition, they integrated public-health concepts of risk groups with these long-standing constructions of gender roles and sexuality-related stigma to create the notion of 'AIDS carriers'. The bricolage between machismo, public health and sexuality-related stigma that participants created and consequent preventive measures (based on an avoidance of sex with people identified as 'AIDS carriers') was a dynamic process in which participants were aware that changes in this particular interpretation of risk were necessary to confront the local epidemic.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health