Love, sex, and power. Considering women's realities in HIV prevention

Am Psychol. 1995 Jun;50(6):437-47. doi: 10.1037//0003-066x.50.6.437.


The rates of HIV infection and AIDS cases among women in the United States have increased significantly in the last decade. Thanks in large part to the work of advocacy groups and to action by the U.S. Congress, there has been some progress in making HIV/AIDS research and services more responsive to women's needs (e.g., including women in clinical drug trials and revising the Centers for Disease Control definition of AIDS to include infections typical in women). However, little progress has been made in addressing the need for prevention of HIV infection among women. This article examines how researchers using behavioral approaches to HIV prevention have largely ignored how gender, women's social status, and women's roles affect sexual risk behaviors and the ability to take steps to reduce risk of infection. Additional factors to be considered in theories that guide future HIV/AIDS prevention programs are examined.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • HIV Seropositivity / transmission*
  • Humans
  • Love*
  • Male
  • Power, Psychological*
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sex Education
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Social Class
  • Women / psychology*