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Revista Portuguesa de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0870-9025


PATRAO, Ana Luísa; MCINTYRE, Teresa  and  COSTA, Eleonora. Psycosocial and sociocognitive risk factors for the human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) in African woman. Rev. Port. Sau. Pub. [online]. 2015, vol.33, n.2, pp.222-234. ISSN 0870-9025.

HIV/AIDS is a major threat to human life and the vulnerability of women is undeniable, especially in disadvantaged settings. In sub‐Saharan Africa, women are the most affected by HIV/AIDS, in a proportion of infection four times higher than men. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to increase knowledge of which psychosocial and socio‐cognitive factors may be related to gender, culture and biology thus placing women at greater risk for HIV/AIDS. The literature suggests that factors such as victimization, characteristics of the relationship, mental health problems, history of prison and prostitution; knowledge about HIV, beliefs and skills related to safe sex practices, and self‐efficacy influence sexual risk behaviors linked to HIV infection. Examining these factors is essential to plan more realistic intervention strategies. This paper presents a literature review on the psychosocial and socio‐cognitive factors that contribute to women's vulnerability to HIV/AIDS, particularly African women. The paper also addresses research questions that stem from the review of the literature in this field.

Keywords : Human immunodeficiency virus infection/acquired immune deficiency syndrome; Africa; Women's vulnerability; Psychosocial factors; Socio‐cognitive factors.

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