Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 413–430 | Cite as

A different disease: HIV/AIDS and health care for women in poverty

  • Martha C. Ward


The goal of this paper is to demonstrate that HIV/AIDS for poor women is a qualitatively different disease than the one first defined in the United States in the 1980s. HIV/AIDS for poor women is not a new disease; it is only another life-threatening condition which parallels serious health problems already experienced by these populations. A time-honored and broad continuum of disease and death for poor women is linked to such factors as poverty, self-medication, infant morbidity, infant mortality and cervical cancer. The programmatic responses to HIV/AIDS in poor women have been grafted onto existing services established by and for homosexual men or onto the obstetrical-gynecological and prenatal systems already in place. Furthermore, the primary socio-psychological mechanisms of denial and dependency that characterize poor women are far more salient than notions of risk-taking or sexual lifestyles. These conclusions lead to somber predictions for the course of the epidemic and the prognosis for treatment and care for poor women with HIV.


Health Care Health Problem Cervical Cancer Infant Mortality Poor Woman 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martha C. Ward
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of New OrleansNew Orleans

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