Author(s): Zierler S, Krieger N
Social inequalities lie at the heart of risk of HIV infection among women in the United States. As of December, 1995, 71,818 US women had developed AIDS-defining diagnoses. These women have been disproportionately poor, African-American, and Latina. Their neighborhoods have been burdened by poverty, racism, crack cocaine, heroin, and violence. To explain which women are at risk and why, this article reviews the epidemiology of HIV and AIDS among women in light of four conceptual frameworks linking health and social justice: feminism, social production of disease/political economy of health, ecosocial, and human rights. The article applies these alternative theories to describe sociopolitical contexts for AIDS' emergence and spread in the United States, and reviews evidence linking inequalities of class, race/ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, as well as strategies of resistance to these inequalities, to the distribution of HIV among women.