Online Program

Eliminating capitalist determinants of HIV inequalities

Monday, November 4, 2013

Karyn L. Pomerantz, MLS, MPH, School of Public Health and Health Services, GWU, Washington, DC
In the context of a collapsing world economy and continuing war, current US health policies cannot end the HIV epidemic. The National HIV Action Strategy calls for linkage to care, testing, and peer involvement, yet Congress is cutting resources to alleviate the poverty and discrimination that create inequality. Free-market socioeconomic factors create disproportionate rates of HIV among people oppressed by racism, low socioeconomic position, and marginalization. Poverty explains a significant portion of HIV rates among urban heterosexual people. In all of the transmission categories, African Americans bear the heaviest burden of HIV in the United States. Capitalist economies require racism to maximize profits: Black workers earn less than 75 percent of the median wages of White workers. Ideologically, racism divides and weakens the working class, e.g. blaming immigrant workers for stealing jobs or Black workers for criminal behavior. An egalitarian system that abolishes profit and a wage system can eliminate racist structures of opportunity and overcome the inequalities in the burden of HIV. This presentation will contrast HIV related capitalist structures with socialist and communist models of social organization and health strategies. Public health workers can build a social movement to prevent these fundamental causes of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related public policy
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe social movements that improved health outcomes in the US and other countries. Identify ways that public health workers can organize for revolutionary social change. Contrast capitalist and socialist/communist strategies to eliminate HIV and other infectious diseases.

Keyword(s): HIV Interventions, Social Inequalities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have participated in HIV prevention education and advocacy for the past 12 years and in anti-racist struggles affecting health since 1972. I am the principal investigator of an HIV health literacy project that unites people living with HIV and public health workers.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.