The Meaning of HIV-Prevention in the Context of Heterosexual Relationships: What are Women Protecting Themselves from?

Helfferich, Cornelia (2000): In: Rosenbrock, Rolf / Wright, Michael (Hg.): Partnership and Pragmatism: Germany Response to AIDS Prevention and Care. London: Francis&Taylor, 171-181

Introduction: HIV prevention as a behaviour on context

The research project ‘HIV Prevention as a Behaviour in the Context of Women`s Sexual Relationships’ , commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Research and Technology, brought two new aspects to the discussion concerning the development of appropriate prevention concepts. The first aspect was a gender – specific perspective in light of the increasing number of women becoming infected with HIV through heterosexual intercourse. The second aspect was the obersavation that even the most successful campaigns providing information about HIV risk had their limits; the frequency with which higher risk sexual behaviour occurs in spite of partners ‘knowing better’ is a sign of resistance regarding these campaigns and the need to provide new ways of conducting prevention. The questions underlying the study were: what is the function, meaning and usefulness of risk behaviour? In what context is this behaviour so integrated as to be maintained in spite of knowing the inherent danger involved?