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Social geography of risk: The role of time, place and antiretroviral therapy in conceptions about the sexual risk of HIV in Kahe, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

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The epidemiological pattern of HIV/AIDS in Africa and Tanzania is characterized by geographical variations in HIV prevalence. Despite the geographical variations, heterosexual contact remains the predominant mode of HIV transmission. The article examines the interrelationships of social, spatial and temporal issues in explaining the sexual risk of HIV/AIDS amongst youths in rural Tanzania. Drawing on discussions with young people, the authors employ a comparative approach to establish categories of social practices that explain HIV risk. HIV risk is largely influenced by social interaction as youths engage in routine day-to-day activities in different geographical locales. The availability of antiretroviral treatment ushered in new dynamics in locally available strategies to manage the risk of HIV infection. Gender relations appear to have an underlining influence in determining the timing and place of risk as well as ways of controlling risk. The study participants emphasized both social and biomedical interventions to manage and control sexual activity and risk. Youth-focused and community-wide interventions addressing HIV prevention, care and treatment need to recognize the fact that the HIV epidemic in Tanzania is increasingly becoming a rural phenomenon structured by a wide range of local, national and global processes.
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Keywords: HIV/AIDS; risk management; rural Tanzania; young people

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-03-01

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