This paper raises the question of how knowledge creation is organized in the area of HIV prevention and how this concatenation of expertise, resources, at-risk people and viruses shapes the knowledge used to impede the epidemic. It also seeks to trouble the discourses of biomedical pre-eminence in the field of HIV prevention by examining the claim for treatment as prevention, looking at evidence constructed through the biomedical frame and through the lens of the sociology of science.
These questions lie within a larger socio-historical context of lagging worldwide attention and funding to prevention in the HIV area and, in particular, neglect of populations at greatest risk. Much contemporary HIV prevention research relies on a population science divided over an epistemic fault line from the communities and individuals who must make sense of the intrusion of a life-threatening disease into their pursuit of pleasure and intimacy.
There are, nevertheless, lessons to be learned from prevention success stories among sex workers, injection drug users, and gay and bisexual men. The success stories point to a need for a robust social science agenda that examines: the ways that people are socially organized and networked; the popular strategies and folk wisdoms developed in the face of HIV risk; socio-historical movement of sexual and drug cultures; the dynamics of popular mobilization to advance health; the institutional sources of HIV discourses; and popular understandings of HIV technologies and messages.
HIV prevention Barry D Adam