This paper attempts to explore the relationship between HIV/AIDS knowledge, risk factors perception and the risk of HIV infection in Ethiopia. The study used a comparative approach and both primary (quantitative and qualitative) and secondary data were used. The data show social and economic factors (income, education, gender inequality and inadequate health infrastructures) are important variables influencing people’s vulnerability to HIV infection; and poor women are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviour despite awareness about the risk of HIV infection. The poor neighbourhood provides the “path of least resistance” (Lindegger and Wood 1995,7). The paper argues that awareness alone is not sufficient in bringing about sexual behaviour change, since change/engaging in risky behaviours are essentially social behaviours occurring within specific social, cultural and economic settings. [The paper is] a modest contribution to the ‘structural violence approach’ (Farmer 1997; 2005) that emphasizes broader cultural, socio-economic and political factors in HIV/AIDS research and intervention programmes.


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pp. 73-95
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