HIV/AIDS in Tanzania: Gender Based Structural Interventions
Susan Mlangwa, University of Minnesota
Ann Meier, University of Minnesota
Current research on AIDS in Africa seeks to integrate both cultural and structural explanations as an alternative to research paradigms that focus on individual behavior (Parker 2001). Heavily influenced by developments within interactionist sociology, cultural anthropology, women’s studies, and gay and lesbian studies, AIDS research now considers the broader set of social representations and cultural meanings that shape sexual experiences in different contexts. It is unclear, however, if this shift in theory has translated to interventions. With a focus on gender, our project explores how and the degree to which AIDS prevention programs in Tanzania adopt structural strategies. Through document collection and interviews with program staff, we have created an inventory of AIDS prevention programs. Results indicate existing programs largely do not focus on changing gender norms but instead focus on changing individual behavior (e.g. condom use). These findings contribute to the discussion over the link between HIV/AIDS interventions and broader societal transformations.