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Contested knowledge, conflictive morality: HIV/AIDS, gender and sexuality in Puebla, Mexico

Corben de Romero, S; (1999) Contested knowledge, conflictive morality: HIV/AIDS, gender and sexuality in Puebla, Mexico. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

HIV/AIDS has highlighted the lack of understanding we have of cultural variations in ideas about sexual practice and identity. Whilst the South has been hit hard by the epidemic, the Mexican case is unique, and remains under-researched. Local ideas about sex, sexuality and gender, in conjunction with understandings and approaches to health affect perceptions of HIV and the risk of infection. However, health care policy evolves now in the context of an international medical community, and this thesis examines the problems these issues present. Anthropological research into transmission of HIV in Latin America has focussed almost exclusively on men, and in particular men who have sex with men. Implying that a bounded homosexual community exists, this does not account for the rapid spread of the virus in the heterosexual community. The problem of HIV/AIDS in Mexico is examined here as a shared one, and ethnographic data was gathered through informal interviewing with men and women in a self-help group, sex-workers, and low and middle income women. Public health policy normally side-steps the moral universe in the delivery of education/prevention programmes. Mexico has imported an international AIDS discourse produced in Anglo-Saxon cultures that privileges safe sex, monogamy and an idea of 'homosexual identity'. My argument that this policy cannot be applied indiscriminately iii the non-Anglo setting is borne out by the ideas people express about their sexual lives and practices. Recent theoretical work in the anthropology of gender theory has been used to explore the contradictions inherent in discussions of sexual identity, especially the differences that exist between ideological systems and practice, and some suggestions are also made for application of the research findings.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Contested knowledge, conflictive morality: HIV/AIDS, gender and sexuality in Puebla, Mexico
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10123960
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