Sexualities and HIV/AIDS vulnerability in China, an anthropological perspective = Sexualités et vulnérabilité au VIH en Chine, un regard anthropologique

Abstract : Using an anthropological approach, sexuality is studied as a social object, and this idea which is pluralist and wide-ranging, depending location, plays the role of a heuristic in ‘contextualised' studies on sexuality during a period when AIDS is spreading worldwide. The HIV/AIDS epidemic, which is recognised as one of the most pressing public health problems globally, and in particular in developing countries, and as a ‘social' disease because of the implications and representations associated with it, has stimulated, or caused to be developed, studies on sexuality despite the risk that these studies will be used as a mere tool for epidemiology – which should be assessed in each context - and despite the risk associated with implicit moralisation of sexuality in terms of attempts by the scientific community to establish standards and thresholds of legitimacy for sexuality. The way the epidemic is treated in society is closely linked with medical care for it, and has facilitated recognition of the diversity of ‘sexual cultures' which take shape in an open and dynamic context of affective, social, political and economic interactions and relationships. Following an introduction which provides pointers to the theory, methodology and Chinese context, the following are examined: 1) sexual transmission of HIV and the epidemic dynamic; 2) its situation within society and the position of sexual minorities; 3) the development of studies on sexuality. Discussion of such themes contributes to documentation, in a specific social context, the social phenomena of sexual commerce in the same way as emergence and recognition of groups of minority sexual orientation, and of their rights, although theserights are still timidly granted in a limited context, and the way in which these groups negotiate with other participants in traditional normative structures (the family) or official structures. Finally, we should note that, in the context of prevention and care of HIV/AIDS in China, the idea of ‘sexual health' acts as a heuristic for studies of sexuality, which recently have been produced in ever-greater numbers and on increasingly diverse subjects, and in defending social and individual rights.
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Evelyne Micollier. Sexualities and HIV/AIDS vulnerability in China, an anthropological perspective = Sexualités et vulnérabilité au VIH en Chine, un regard anthropologique. Sexologies, Elsevier, 2006, 15, pp.191-201. ⟨10.1016/j.sexol.2006.06.006⟩. ⟨ird-00195845⟩

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