HIV, Science, and the Social

A collaborative forum for critical enquiry on HIV/AIDS and global health: experiment, ethics, and practice
In the Journals

Transcriptions – In the Journals – May 2012


In the interests of bringing together critical social science perspectives with clinical and epidemiological insights, we’ll cover a range of disciplines whose journals address HIV. Unfortunately only some of these journals are open-access, and we applaud and support those that are. The coverage is not exhaustive but is intended to connect and stimulate thought and conversation around critical issues. Comments, suggestions and feedback are welcome.

May journals round-up

As blogged recently on Somatosphere’s Journals page, there are a number of articles in the most recent edition of Cultural Anthropology on the body, humanitarianism and sovereignty (variously conceived) in the context of either religion or medicine.  McKay explores how humanitarian governmentality shapes lives, health, care, and social networks in Mozambique. Focusing on people’s memories and experiences of humanitarian projects, McKay argues that they evoke a “nostalgic humanitarian lexicon,” which articulates “ambiguous political subjectivities” that “give rise to new possibilities of claims-making and critique in the present” (289). Analyzing pharmaceutical company-sponsored drug donation programs in Tanzania, Samsky develops the notion of “scientific sovereignty” and examines its impact on local care and theories of global health. Caduff attends to the politics of life and security in the U.S. through her study of infectious disease researchers. Focusing on human mobility in the case of Médecins Sans Frontiéres, Redfield examines the double binds that this organization confronts and the “micropolitics of national origin amid global circulation” (359).

Vol. 74(9) of Social Science & Medicine have a number of articles on how SES and cultural practices affect health. Hilber et al discuss a “meta-ethnographic” review of the literature that shows how vaginal practices are being “continuously being reinvented in time and place”, and how some vaginal practices might increase women’s susceptibility to HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa. Wang et al. examine mental health issues among AIDS orphans in China. Vol. 74(10) includes several HIV/AIDS-related articles on prevention, screening, intervention, orphan programs, and stigma in the U.S., South Africa, Rwanda, Tanzania, Haiti, and Zambia. Hunsman discusses policy hurdles to structural HIV prevention in Zambia. White et al discuss women’s perceptions of cervical cancer in Zambia and its relationship to HIV. Smith Fazwi et al examine the feasibility and assess the preliminary effectiveness of a psychosocial support group intervention for HIV-affected youth and their caregivers in central Haiti. Daftary discusses the “double stigma” of HIV and TB in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, interogating the subjective meanings of illness-experience. Bluthenthal et al describe attitudes and beliefs related to HIV/AIDS in urban religious congregations in the United States.

The May edition of AIDS Patient Care and STDs has a number of articles on “behavioral and psychosocial research”: on anti-retroviral and anti-depressant adherence; on adherence among injection drug users, on experiences of Newly Diagnosed Latino Youth Living with HIV; and on suicidality and anxiety sensitivity in adults with HIV.

The Journal of HIV/AIDS and Social Sciences (now merged with HIV/AIDS Prevention in Children and Youth) has a focus on living with HIV and care and support: coping strategies and challenges for long term HIV/AIDS survivors; medical outcomes of psychiatric treatment services; and the impact of traditional burial societies on care for vulnerable children in Ethiopia.

The journal Sexually Transmitted Infections has several articles on sexual minorities: Gebrekristos discusses the need for school environments to be sensitive to health inequalities among sexual minority youth in the USA; Lyons et al discuss age at first anal sex and HIV/STI vulnerability among gay men in Australia; Holt et al describe the association between the willingness to use PreP, unprotected anal intercourse and the perceived likelihood of becoming HIV positive among Australian gay and bisexual men. Decker et al  discuss injection drug use, sexual risk, violence and STI/HIV among Moscow female sex workers; Vuylsteke et al analyse the high prevalence of HIV and sexually transmitted infections among male sex workers in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.  There is also another article on the origins of AIDS, this time on whether HIV-1 was driven by STDs or STD control in colonial Leopoldville.

The Journal of Infectious Diseases has several articles on HIV: on CD28-Negative CD4+ and CD8+ T Cells in Antiretroviral Therapy–Naive HIV-Infected Adults Enrolled in Adult Clinical Trials Group Studies; on the success of second-line antiretroviral treatment in sub-Saharan Africa; and on the use of dried blood spot analysis for monitoring of TB drugs.

In HIV/AIDS – Research and Palliative Care, Rice et al discuss acceptability of vaginal microbicides; Miller reviews once-daily, fixed dose combination treatment for HIV-1; adaptation of a self-reporting questionnaire in a rural ART program in southern Uganda. Also, the use of text messaging to assist adherence to ART in Cameroon; male circumcision in rural Kenya; reproductive health for HIV-infected persons in Nigeria; and, relating to an issue that is fast growing as a global debate, the use of PreP for HIV prophylaxis.

The journal AIDS has a number of interesting pieces: novel clinical trial designs for the development of new antiretroviral agents; a systematic review and meta-analysis of treatment outcomes of patients on second-line antiretroviral therapy in resource-limited settings; measuring concurrency: an empirical study of different methods in a large population-based survey and evaluation of the UNAIDS guidelines; and a very interesting letter on the “recommended indicator” for research on concurrent sexual partnerships.

HIV/AIDS Clinical Care has an article on premature aging with HIV infection;  a discussion of state-level HIV funding; the use of PreP amongst men who have sex with men; a caution about undetectable viral load not being a guarantee against transmitting HIV; and a report on a Phase IIa trial for a recombinant vaccine for TB.

AIDS and Behavior has an article by Holtgrave et al on the “critical roles that HIV-related risk behavior plays in determining the unmet needs, optimal targeting, and ultimate impact of treatment as prevention” – part of a growing debate we will be tracking with interest.

An article in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene has been garnering much attention recently for showing that funding directed towards HIV in Rwanda has had a generally positive impact on non-HIV services.

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