Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950565 | Print ISBN: 9780761928201 | Online ISBN: 9781412950565| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Aids, Women, and Poverty
AIDS disproportionately affects poor women, worldwide. 1 Ironically, its identification in 1981 in both men and women in the United States did not preclude it from being initially understood as a “gay disease.” As a result, poor women were dying in many parts of the world long before their deaths were officially recognized as AIDS related. Between 1987 and 1991, heterosexual transmission of the disease became better understood in the United States, but the case definition for AIDS was still male-specific. This meant that afflicted women in the United States who otherwise would have been entitled to life-sustaining resources and benefits could not access them. In 1991, after intense activism, the case definition was rewritten to specifically identify AIDS-related opportunistic infections common to women. The AIDS case rate among women in the United States tripled as a result. The invisibility of women was soon replaced, however, with cultural constructions that ...