What People Think Matters: The Relationship Between Perceptions and Epidemiology in the Japanese HIV Epidemic

By Pamela Runestad.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

While the HIV infection rate is leveling off in countries such as the United States, it continues to rise in Japan – despite relatively high levels of education and access to socialized medical care. Statistics from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare show that Japanese MSM (men who have sex with men) are the demographic most at risk for becoming infected with HIV. However, the public continues to focus on women as HIV vectors. Drawing from previous scholarship in anthropology, public health education and geography, I argue that the continued increase of HIV incidence in Japanese MSM is linked to perceptions about 1) sex education as a family building tool; 2) condoms as a method of birth control, rather than of disease prevention; and 3) the concept of women as “polluting.”

Keywords: HIV, AIDS, Japan, MSM, Sex Education, Disease Prevention, Women as Polluting, Prostitution, Condom Use, Epidemiology

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp.331-344. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 786.420KB).

Pamela Runestad

PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa, Honolulu, USA


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