, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 135-136

Pushing the Syndemic Research Agenda Forward: a Comment on Pitpitan et al

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Dr. Merril Singer, a medical anthropologist, first introduced the concept of a syndemic in the mid-1990s to describe the co-occurrence and interactions between two or more diseases to disproportionately impact the health and well-being of marginalized communities [1, 2]. Unlike the traditional medical model that attempts to isolate the causes of diseases by controlling for potential confounders such as poverty, the syndemic approach considers the important role that social determinants of health play in not only contributing to the emergence of diseases, but also exacerbating the effects of these diseases on the health and well-being of vulnerable communities [3, 4]. This approach therefore appears to be especially promising in retooling our public health efforts to address health disparities both within a national and global context.

In their study entitled, “Co-Occurring Psychosocial Problems and HIV Risk Among Women Attending Drinking Venues in a South African Township: a Syndemic Ap