• Presentation

Role of Ethnicity, Gender, and Development in Drug Use, Violence, and HIV Risk


Wechsberg, W. M. (2005, December). Role of Ethnicity, Gender, and Development in Drug Use, Violence, and HIV Risk. Presented at American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA.


With HIV becoming feminized worldwide, disempowerment of women makes them vulnerable to heterosexual transmission, male domination, and violence. This symposium identifies the role of alcohol and other drug abuse among women as a risk factor that exposes them to sex trading lifestyles; substance-using men who abuse them physically and sexually; and having unprotected sex that increases their susceptibility to HIV. Gender roles and social norms across cultures also affect risk behavior during adolescence, increasing vulnerabilities to HIV and substance use in later life. As women progress in their own addictions, they lose even more power and contextual resources which further impedes healthy lifestyles. Women's risky behaviors and contexts, in turn, create compromised family caregiving contexts that jeopardize the well-being of their children, supporting intergenerational transmission of risk and health disparities. Despite differences across cultures and ethnicities, these cycles seem to be common among women worldwide. Contextual barriers such as unemployment, limited education and skills, housing, and violence must be considered when studying HIV with disempowered populations to develop appropriate interventions. Constituent presentations (15 minutes each) will include "La Droga No Tiene Fin": Increasing Crack use Among Female Sex Workers (116311); Relationship Between Perpetration of Intimate Partner Violence and Substance Abuse Among Men on Methadone (116371); Challenges of Sustaining Long-Term Behavior Change in Crack Use and Sexual Risk Among Southern African-American Women (116793); Adolescent Children of African-American Crack-using Mothers: Gender Differences in Youth Risk and Maternal-Child Communications (116461); and Gender Differences in Social Norms among Latino Adolescents At-Risk for HIV (116716).