Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Race, Gender, & Sexuality in HIV Prevention Campaigns

via The Society Pages, by Christie Barcelos

Gay men and bisexual men still represent a disproportionate number of HIV cases in the United States (CDC). In addition, African-American and Latino men are significantly more likely than white men to be diagnosed with HIV and die from AIDS-related illnesses. Numerous HIV prevention campaigns are thus aimed at these populations.

It’s important to try to reduce the HIV among these populations, but we also need to think critically about how prevention strategies reinforce stigmatization.

For example, this ad from a western Massachusetts clinic uses the phrase “man up, get tested” — taking care of yourself by getting tested for HIV is linked to your masculinity. What’s interesting is that by including only men of color in the photo, the ad suggests that black and Latino men are particularly obsessed with their masculinity, more so, perhaps, than white men. It also potentially reinforces stereotypes about black men as hyper-sexualized and Latino men as machismo.

[If an item is not written by an IRMA member, it should not be construed that IRMA has taken a position on the article's content, whether in support or in opposition.]

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