The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3356.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - Board 8

Abstract #59711

Oppression, HIV risk, and Latino men who have sex with men: A proposed framework for social change

Gladys E. Ibañez, PhD, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 Corporate Square Blvd, Mailstop E-37, Atlanta, GA 30329-2013, 404-639-1901,

For Latino communities, oppression in the form of racism, homophobia, and poverty has been shown to be associated with psychological distress and risky sexual behaviors. Despite evidence suggesting that the social conditions experienced by Latinos may contribute their risk for HIV, theories to explain the role of oppression are lacking. This paper attempts to address this gap by offering a theoretical framework for future research on oppression and HIV based on the concept of liberation psychology and concientización.

According to liberation psychology, there are three urgent tasks that researchers need to understand in the study of oppression: the recovery of historical memory, de-ideologizing everyday experience, and utilizing the people’s virtue. Awareness of these three aspects of oppression leads to concientización, or critical consciousness. Concientización is the process that disenfranchised people have used in the past to change their social conditions.

Using liberation psychology and concientización, this paper will discuss the different forms of oppression facing Latino communities and their influence on HIV risk. Topics include beliefs about homosexuality in indigenous cultures (recovery of historical memory); challenging societal (e.g., heterosexism) and cultural (e.g., machismo) ideologies; and focusing on resiliency factors in Latino communities (e.g., family support, community involvement). Finally, this paper will suggest potential structural interventions that address the many forms of oppression that lead to increased HIV risk within Latino communities such as challenging internalized oppression, encouraging critical thinking about socialization agents, cognitive reframing of the problem, critical consciousness, and community activism.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: HIV Risk Behavior, Latinos

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Health Disparities as a Determinant of Latino Health

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA