Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 33–54 | Cite as

Gender, Violence and HIV: Women's Survival in the Streets

  • María Esther Epele
Article

Abstract

In this article I propose that genderinequality promotes – directly or indirectly –vulnerability to HIV as a consequence of amultidimensional violence (structural, symbolicand physical) experienced by injection drugusing (IDU) women in The Mission District (SanFrancisco). Given the female subordinated positionstipulated by the street ideology, I analyzehow drug dependence afforded by precariousstrategies of subsistence places IDU womenunder multiple dangers and threats. In thissetting, unequal gender relations are part of acomplex system of transactions in the streeteconomy and a way to reduce or increase theeveryday violence. Facing multiple dangers andrisks, some women adopt a subordinatedposition, some try to negotiate the conditionsof the exchanges and the others resist theexploitation. Finally, everyday violence under conditions ofgender inequality and scarcity of resourcesimposes a logic defined by the challenge ofsurvival under the threat of immediate dangers,which transform HIV into a secondary risk.

gender inequality HIV risk IDU women violence 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Auerbach, J., C. Wypijewska, and H. Broodie, eds. 1994 AIDS and Behavior: An Integrated Approach. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  2. Booth, R., S. Koester, and F. Pinto 1995 Gender Differences in Sex-Risk Behaviors, Economic Livelihood, and Self-Concept among Drug Injectors and Crack Smokers. The American Journal on Addiction 4: 313–322.Google Scholar
  3. Bourgois, P. 1995 In Search of Respect. Selling Crack in El Barrio. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. 1998 The Moral Economies of Homeless Heroin Addicts: Confronting Ethnography, HIV Risk, and Everyday Violence in San Francisco Shooting Encampments. Substance Abuse and Misuse 33(11): 2323–2351.Google Scholar
  5. Bourgois, P., M. Lettiere, and J. Quesada 1997 Social Misery and the Sanctions of Substance Abuse: Confronting HIV Risk among Homeless Heroin Addicts in San Francisco. Social Problems 44(2): 155–173.Google Scholar
  6. Carlson, R., H. Siegal, and R. Falck 1994 Ethnography, Epidemiology, and Public Policy: Needle-Use Practices and HIV-1 Risk Reduction among Injecting Drug Users in the Midwest. In Global AIDS Policy. D. Feldman, ed., pp. 185–214). Westport: Bergin & Garvey.Google Scholar
  7. Connors, M. 1992 Risk Perception, Risk Taking and Risk Management among Intravenous Drug Users: Implications for AIDS Prevention. Social Science and Medicine 34(6): 451–601.Google Scholar
  8. 1994 Stories of Pain and the Problem of AIDS Prevention: Injection Drug Withdrawal Its Effect on Risk Behavior. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 8(1): 47–68.Google Scholar
  9. 1996 Sex, Drugs, and Structural Violence. In Women, Poverty and AIDS. P. Farmer, M. Connors, and J. Simmons, eds, pp. 91–123. Monroe: Common Courage Press.Google Scholar
  10. Crawford, R. 1994 The Boundaries of the Self and the Unhealthy Other: Reflection on Health, Culture and AIDS. Social Science and Medicine 10: 1347–1365.Google Scholar
  11. DesJarlais, D., E. Wish, S. Friedman et al. 1987 Intravenous Drug Use and the Heterosexual Transmission of the Human Immunodeficiency virus. New York State Journal of Medicine, 87(5): 283–286.Google Scholar
  12. Farmer, P. 1993 Women, Poverty and AIDS: An Introduction. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 17(4): 387–397.Google Scholar
  13. 1997 On Suffering and Structural Violence: A View from Below. In Social Suffering. A. Kleinman, V. Daas, and M. Lock, eds, pp. 261–283. University of California Press.Google Scholar
  14. Farmer, P., M. Connors, K. Fox, and J. Furin 1996 Rereading Social Science. In Women, Poverty and AIDS. P. Farmer, M. Connors, and J. Simmons, eds, pp. 91–123. Monroe: Common Courage Press.Google Scholar
  15. Fee, E. and N. Krieger 1993 Understanding AIDS: Historical Interpretations and The Limits of Biomedical Individualism. American Journal of Public Health,83(10): 1477–1485.Google Scholar
  16. Frankenberg R. 1992 What's Identity at Risk? Anthropology and AIDS. Anthropology in Action 12: 6–9.Google Scholar
  17. 1993 Risk: Anthropological and Epidemiological Narratives of Prevention. In Knowledge, Power and Practice. The Anthropology of Medicine and Everyday Life. S. Lindenbaum and M. Lock, eds. University of California Press: Berkeley.Google Scholar
  18. Friedman, S. 1996 AIDS as a Sociohistorical Phenomenon. Advances in Medical Sociology 3: 19–36.Google Scholar
  19. Goodaman, L. 1961 Snowball Sampling. Annals of Mathematical Statistics 32: 148–170.Google Scholar
  20. Goldstein, N. 1998 Introduction. In The Gender Politics of HIV/AIDS in Women. Perspectives on the Pandemic in the United States. N. Goldstein and J. Marlowe, eds. New York University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Haiou, H., V. McCoy, S. Stevens, and M. Stark 1998 Violence and HIV Sexual Risk Behaviors Among Female Sex Partners of Male Drug Users. Women and Health 27(1/2): 161–175.Google Scholar
  22. Klein, H. and B. Chao 1995 Sexual Abuse during Childhood and Adolescence as Predictors of HIV-related Sexual Risk during Adulthood among Female Sexual Partners of Injection Drug Users. Violence Against Women 1(1): 55–77.Google Scholar
  23. Koester, S. 1994 Copping, Running, and Paraphernalia Laws: Contextual Variables and Needle Risk Behavior among Injection Drug Users in Denver. Human Organization 53(3): 287–295.Google Scholar
  24. Lambert, E., ed. 1990 The Collection of Data from Hidden Populations. Washington DC, NIDA Research Monograph Series 98.Google Scholar
  25. Lambert, E., R. Ashery, and R. Needle, eds. 1995 Qualitative Methods in Drug Abuse and HIV Research. Washington D.C. NIDA Research Monograph 157: 117–135.Google Scholar
  26. Lawless S., J. Kippax and J. Crawford 1996 Dirty, Diseased and Undeserving: The Positioning of HIV PositiveWomen. Social Science and Medicine: 1371–1377.Google Scholar
  27. Levy, D. 2000 Writing on the Wall: Mission Fears Dot-Com Tide as Threat to Neighborhood of Murals, Latin Culture. San Francisco Chronicle, June 15.Google Scholar
  28. Meter, R. 1990 Methodological Design Issues: Techniques for Assessing the Representation of Snowball Samples. In The Collection of Data from Hidden Populations. E. Lambert, ed., pp. 31–46. NIDA Research Monograph Series 98.Google Scholar
  29. Metsch, L., C. McCoy, V. McCoy et al. 1998 Social Influences: Living Arrangements of Drug Using Women at Risk for HIV Infection. Women and Health 27(1/2): 123–136.Google Scholar
  30. Ramos, R., I. Aguilar, M. Anderson, and I. Caudillo 1999 Tecatas: An Ethnotheoretical Look at Mexican American Female Injecting Drug Users. Substance Abuse and Misuse 34(14): 2015–2055.Google Scholar
  31. Riches, D. 1986 The Phenomenon of Violence. In Anthropology of Violence. D. Riches, ed. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  32. Rodriguez, B. 1993 Women, Poverty and AIDS. An Introduction. In Critical Perspectives in Health and Social Justice, pp. 3–21. Cambridge, MA: Institute for Health and Social Justice.Google Scholar
  33. Schiller, N. 1992 What's Wrong with This Picture? The Hegemonic Construction of Culture in AIDS Research in the United States. Medical Anthropology Quaterly 6(3): 237–254.Google Scholar
  34. Singer, M., C. Flores, L. Davison et al. 1990 SIDA: The Economic, Social and Cultural Context of AIDS among Latinos. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 4(1): 72–114.Google Scholar
  35. Singer, M. 1992 AIDS and Ethnic Minorities: The Crisis and Alternative Anthropological Responses. Human Organization 51(1): 89–95.Google Scholar
  36. 1993 AIDS and Health Crisis of the U.S. Urban Poor: The Perspective of Critical Medical Anthropology. Social Science and Medicine 39(7): 931–948.Google Scholar
  37. Taussig, M. 1987 Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man: A Study in Terror and Healing. Chicago: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  38. Tortu, S., M. Beardsley, S. Deren, and W. Davis 1994 The Risk of HIV Infection in a National Sample of Women with Injection Drug Using Partners. American Journal of Public health, 84(8): 1243–1249.Google Scholar
  39. Tortu, S., H.V. McCoy, M. Beardsley et al. 1998 Predictors of HIV infection among Women Drug Users in New York and Miami. Women and Health 27(1/2): 191–204.Google Scholar
  40. Ward, M. 1993 A Different Disease: HIV-AIDS and Health Care for Women in Poverty. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 17(4): 413–430.Google Scholar
  41. Waterston, A. 1993 Street Addicts in the Political Economy. New York: Lexington BooksGoogle Scholar
  42. 1997 Anthropological Research and the Politics of HIV Prevention: Towards a Critique of Policy and Priorities in the age of AIDS. Social Science and Medicine 44(7): 1381–1390.Google Scholar
  43. Weeks, M., M. Grier, N. Romero-Daza et al. 1998 Streets, Drugs, and the Economy of Sex in the Age of AIDS. Women and Health 27(1/2): 205–229.Google Scholar
  44. Wood, M., S. Tortu, F. Rhodes, and S. Deren 1998 Differences in Condom Behaviors and Beliefs among Female Drug Users Recruited from Two Cities. Women and Health 27(1/2): 137–160.Google Scholar
  45. Worth, D., E. Drucker, and E. Eric 1990 Sexual and Physical Abuse as Factors in Continued Risk Behavior of Women IV Drug Users in a South Bronx Clinic. International Conference on AIDS 6(1): 322.Google Scholar
  46. Worth, D. 1988 Sexual Decision Making and AIDS: Why Condom Promotion among Vulnerable Women Is Likely to Fail. Studies in Family Planning, 20(6): 297–307.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • María Esther Epele
    • 1
  1. 1.Universidad Nacional de La PlataBuenos AiresArgentina

Personalised recommendations