HIV/AIDS: sex, abstinence, and behaviour change.

Barnett, T; Parkhurst, J; (2005) HIV/AIDS: sex, abstinence, and behaviour change. The Lancet infectious diseases, 5 (9). pp. 590-3. ISSN 1473-3099 DOI:

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HIV prevention has focused on reducing the chances of transmission of the pathogen via sexual transmission. We argue that current pressures to persuade people that "abstinence" is a reasonable programme goal are based on misapprehension as to the balance between environmental and contextual factors and individual choices in determining why and how people have sex. Continuing insistence on the part of major prevention programme funders that changing behaviour alone--rather than changing its context--is the main problem will result in poor policy choices. It is particularly important to get these choices right at a time when increased amounts of money are becoming available for engagement with the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Failure to take account of this problem may have results beyond the field of HIV prevention.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Global Health and Development
Research Centre: Centre for Maternal, Reproductive and Child Health (MARCH)
PubMed ID: 16122682
Web of Science ID: 231563400021


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