Sex Roles

, Volume 42, Issue 7–8, pp 723–749 | Cite as

On the Margin: Power and Women's HIV Risk Reduction Strategies

  • Hortensia Amaro
  • Anita Raj


HIV risk and prevention research has failed to investigate adequately the effects of gender-related factors such as relationship power, sexual communication, abuse, and gender roles on women's abilities to engage in protective actions. We propose that women's HIV risk from heterosexual transmission is embedded in the context of gender, race/ethnicity, and class oppression. This context has central implications for interpersonal relationship factors relevant to women's HIV risk. We suggest a framework for understanding women's HIV risk within the context of oppression and the role of power in intimate sexual relationships. Three common dynamics of oppression are considered: (1) Silencing, (2) Violence and Fear of Violence, and (3) Internalized Oppression. These dynamics are based on characteristics of oppression discussed in the work of Jean Baker Miller on gender, Hussain Bulhan on race, and Paulo Freire on class. These dynamics are discussed in the context of findings reported in this journal issue and those of other authors. Finally, the discussion identifies common patterns across studies, as well as areas of disagreement and directions for future research and public health prevention efforts.


Gender Role Sexual Relationship Prevention Research Sexual Communication Risk Reduction Strategy 
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

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hortensia Amaro
    • 1
  • Anita Raj
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Public HealthBoston UniversityUSA

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