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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Discourse of exclusion: AIDS education for women in Metro-Vancouver Williams, Cherie

Abstract

This thesis examines the evolution of HIV/ AIDS education for women in metro- Vancouver. The research focuses on two questions, "What AIDS education programs for women currently exist in Vancouver?" and "How effective has AIDS prevention education for women been?" Since the reported incidence of HIV/ AIDS continues to rise, the latter question leads to a further issue, "Why have some women been excluded from the HIV/ AIDS discourse? I chose to investigate these issues from a socialist feminist perspective. This perspective, which focuses on women's position within the economy, society, and family, guided my analysis of information I gathered from a variety of sources. These included both primary and secondary sources, namely: brochures; magazines; newspapers; television reports; journals; books; presentations; and interviews. The findings of the research reveal that, at the onset, preventative educational strategies did not exist for metro-Vancouver women because the gendering of the AIDS epidemic rendered women invisible. Since subsequent AIDS education focussed on "risk groups" rather than risk behaviors, many women who do not belong to a "risk group" still believe that they are not at risk. Consequently, gender appropriate strategies for AIDS prevention education need to be further developed. As well, these strategies are only one part of the solution. Belief systems, social scripting, and perceptions of one's self and others are the more challenging and difficult pieces to change, as are the underlying root causes of drug addiction and promiscuity.

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