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AIDS, Culture, and Gay Men

Edited by Douglas A. Feldman

Publication Year: 2010

There are approximately seven million adult gay and bisexual men in the United States and 120 million adult gay and bisexual men globally. This highly readable volume of original essays explores the cultural dimensions of AIDS among men who have sex with men (MSM).

The traditional emphasis in HIV/AIDS research within gay communities has focused on sexual behavior and psychological issues. Yet to better understand the social and cultural dimensions of the disease, and to halt the spread of HIV, it is essential to recognize and understand the culture of MSM. Cultural anthropologists, unquestionably, are in a unique position to achieve this understanding. Douglas Feldman has gathered a diverse group of experts to contribute to this collection, and the volume features a wealth of scholarly data unavailable elsewhere.

Published by: University Press of Florida

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix

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1. AIDS, Culture, and Gay Men: An Introduction

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pp. 1-20

It is unclear if Cole Porter, the composer of numerous Broadway musicals, purposely used these lyrics as a double entendre in referring to “the top” as the male partner who engages in insertive anal sex, and “the bottom” as the male partner who engages in receptive anal sex. Certainly, as a gay man ...

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2. Gay Men, Syphilis, and HIV: The Biological Impact of Social Stress

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pp. 21-40

Responses to sexually transmitted disease (STD) epidemics have included considerable efforts by governments, communities, individuals, health-care advocates, and public health systems. In the past twenty years, this included the notable example of HIV prevention, but it also includes prevention of ...

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3. Treatment, Adherence, and Self-Preservation

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pp. 41-59

Imperfect adherence to using HIV medications can decrease treatment efficacy and limit treatment options. Given the well-known importance of adherence in slowing viral replication and disease progression, many HIV care and treatment professionals are understandably frustrated when their ...

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4. Gay Men, Language, and AIDS

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pp. 60-79

Studies of AIDS, culture, and gay men have not paid much attention to how gay men talk about AIDS, nor have they given much priority to language-centered research when trying to document the effects of the AIDS pandemic on gay men’s lives.1 Granted, Caron (2001), Farmer (1990), Patton (1991), Sontag (1988), Treichler (1988), and others have shown ...

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5. Diffusion of Effective Behavioral Interventions for HIV Prevention for Men Who Have Sex with Men: From Academia to the Gay Community

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pp. 80-102

Several researchers have identified an increase in risk-taking behaviors by men who have sex with men (MSM) and rates of HIV infection that continue to be unacceptably high.1 Valleroy and colleagues (2001) demonstrated alarming rates of HIV infection among young MSM in seven cities. Rates were as high as 15 percent for Latinos and 30 percent for young African ...

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6. “Not One Inch”: The Ruthless Politics of Developing an AIDS Community-Based Organization

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pp. 103-117

Looking back now, I should have known better at the time. When I accidentally found out back in early 1987 that Mary Ann Carey, the district manager of Community Planning Board 9 in Queens, one of New York City’s five boroughs, was in the hospital for serious heart problems, she pleaded with me that I not let her ...

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7. The Varieties of Recovery Experience: HIV Risk and Crystal Meth Anonymous

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pp. 118-136

The early part of recovery for those dependent on alcohol and drugs is a formidable challenge, since the newly sober person must change his or her habits, friends, and life. As part of the recovery process, many people in the United States are exposed to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), or other twelve-step programs ...

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8. HIV Status, Risk, and Prevention Needs among Latino and Non-Latino Men Who Have Sex with Men in Connecticut

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pp. 137-154

Earlier in the HIV epidemic, Singer and Marxuach-Rodriguez (1996) called attention to the need for a culturally appropriate HIV prevention intervention for Latino men who have sex with men (MSM). Part of their rationale was based on epidemiologic data showing that Latino MSM were at higher risk of HIV than ...

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9. Ethnographic Fieldwork on Sexual Behavior: Developing Ethical Guidelines for Native Researchers

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pp. 155-166

In conducting ethnographic research, it is important that fieldworkers have ethical guidelines to provide direction concerning ethical standards, professional conduct, and methods of obtaining high-quality data. This chapter addresses issues that we faced in developing guidelines for ethnographic fieldwork on sexual ...

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10. Bisexualities, Sexual Cultures, and HIV Prevention Programs for Latino Men in New York City

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pp. 167-183

Bisexually active Latino men are typically lumped together with “homosexually” active men under the umbrella of HIV/STI (sexually transmitted infections) prevention for men who have sex with men (MSM).1 Labeling individuals under one category leads to the misrepresentation of MSM as a homogeneous

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11. Developing HIV Behavioral Interventions for Men Who Have Sex with Men: Comparing Experiences from the United States and Australia

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pp. 184-212

The histories of the AIDS epidemic in the United States and Australia started similarly, with HIV infections concentrated among men who have sex with men (MSM). Gay communities in both countries reacted by mounting their own “grassroots” education, service, and advocacy programs, and both countries’ governments reacted by funding ...

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12. Substance, Kinship, and the Meaning of Unprotected Sex among Gay Men in Australia

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pp. 213-230

That some gay men continue to have unprotected anal sex in the context of the HIV epidemic represents on ongoing challenge for HIV prevention efforts. In recent years, explanations have been more keenly sought than ever. In Australia, North America, and Europe, various studies have monitored increases in both ...

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13. The Movement That Was Not?: Gay Men and AIDS in Urban Greece, 1950–1993

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pp. 231-249

On March 19, 2003, around 180 activists and other individuals interested in the rights of sexual minorities gathered in an auditorium of the Polytechnic University in Athens, Greece. It was the third in a series of meetings initiated in response to a police raid on a ...

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14. Gay Men, Sex, and HIV/AIDS in Belgium

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pp. 250-268

Gay life in Belgium is vibrant and dynamic. Major cities throughout the country offer a rich diversity of venues for public socializing. Although not as renowned in gay tourist circles as Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Brussels, a highly cosmopolitan city with a large foreign population of European civil servants, and Antwerp, the largest ...

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15. Postscript

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pp. 269-271

So, where do we go from here? By the late 1980s and early 1990s, in the United States, most sexually active men who have sex with men (MSM) involved in relationships outside their regular partner were routinely practicing safer sex most of the time. Gay men had learned to use condoms correctly, had reduced their number of partners, and were engaging in less risky ...


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pp. 273-279


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pp. 281-285

E-ISBN-13: 9780813045108
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813034317
Print-ISBN-10: 0813034310

Page Count: 296
Illustrations: 2 line art, 7 tables
Publication Year: 2010

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • AIDS (Disease).
  • Gay men -- Sexual behavior.
  • Gay men -- Social conditions.
  • Safe sex in AIDS prevention.
  • HIV infections.
  • Medical anthropology.
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