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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
5013.0: Wednesday, December 14, 2005 - Board 7

Abstract #114279

Acculturation, monogamy, casual sex, and HIV risk in heterosexual populations of Mexican origin

Héctor Carrillo, DrPH, Jorge Fontdevila, PhD, and Victoria González-Rivera, PhD. Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, University of California, San Francisco, 4094 Fourth Avenue, Suite 202, San Diego, CA 92103, 619.220.7978, jfontdevila@sdtrayectos.org

Background: There is currently no consensus on the effects of acculturation on HIV risk in Latino heterosexual populations. For instance, among less acculturated Latinas, lower HIV risk has been associated with sexual modesty, while higher HIV risk has been associated with the negative effects of machismo. Similarly, among highly acculturated Latinas, lower HIV risk has been associated with self-determination and greater equality, and higher HIV risk has been associated with promiscuity and sexual permissiveness. In our research we have examined the premises behind such claims about the effects of acculturation on HIV risk in Latino populations.

Methods: Individual qualitative interviews with 41 heterosexual men and women of Mexican origin in San Diego, California. These interviews lasted 2 hours on average, were transcribed verbatim, and were analyzed using a qualitative interpretive method.

Results: We found complex meanings that participants attach to monogamy and to casual sex. We identified patterns of lived experience that question the validity of assumptions made in the literature about the cultural values that inform sexual decision making among different subgroups of Latinos(as) defined by acculturation levels.

Conclusions: We will discuss the meanings associated with true monogamy, unilateral monogamy, “threesome” monogamy, casual sex, sexual dating, and sex-money exchanges in our sample, and the implications of our findings for HIV prevention programs. We have concluded that dispelling widespread premises about “Latino traditional” and “American” values in research with Latino populations may help to better account for the role of cultural values and acculturation in the creation of HIV risk.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant in this session will be able to

Keywords: HIV Risk Behavior, Culture

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

Race and Gender: HIV/AIDS within Vulnerable Communities

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA