Thursday, March 26, 2009

Social vulnerabilities and HIV prevention

I have been getting a lot of questions lately about who is responsible for addressing social vulnerabilities. This is a big question. My answer, in short, is everybody! Professionals, researchers, concerned citizens, advocates, and infected communities all have a stake to claim.

Poverty, homelessness, racism, sexism, violence and homophobia are all forms of social vulnerability that predispose communities to ill health. These problems are not specific to HIV prevention and are rooted in long histories of oppression. So then the question becomes, how do we get free? We start by not repeating mistakes from the past and focusing future efforts on collective emancipation. The operative word being collective. You don't need to be an expert to start addressing social vulnerabilities. In the words of Arthur Ashe: "Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can."

I touched on these issues while speaking on a CHAMP community forum panel last fall that was focused on HIV prevention. Check it out below. If you still have questions... you know where to find me.


Gedle Kirstos Asayehegn said...

"Our Lives Begin To End The Day We Become Silent About Things That Matter"- Martin Luther KIng Jr.

Everyone should feel obligated to do something in their capacity. Silence and doing nothing are worst of the worst disease.

Audria said...

This is groundbreaking work that you are doing to raise awareness about preventing HIV/AIDS in our communities. Congrats my sister!!