Home Institution

Tufts University

Publication Date

Fall 2012

Program Name

Argentina: Public Health in Urban Environments


The focus of my research is the implementation and continued efforts of HIV-prevention plans that are provided in primary care public health centers in the city of Buenos Aires. Much of the outline for these programs has been created and maintained by la Coordinación SIDA, a government-based AIDS group that works to organize and moderate public sector prevention efforts in the city. Public health centers are an effective channel through which HIV-prevention can be provided, due to the fact that they are often very integrated in their communities and tend to have a good sense of the social context that they work in.

Historically, HIV rates have always been higher in Buenos Aires than any other part of the country. With an estimated 50% of the HIV-positive population ignorant of their status, providing key information, promoting safe sex practices, and encouraging testing all plays a huge role in controlling the epidemic (UNAIDS, 2011). To investigate what the health center prevention programs provide and how they do so, I interviewed three groups of involved actors: program coordinators and investigators, program providers, and women living with HIV/AIDS--people for whom the prevention efforts were intended to target.

My research included primary and secondary sources including: books, journal articles, newspaper articles, internet sites, pamphlets, personal interviews and observation.

I found that the key factors of a functioning prevention program were not necessarily indicative of success due to larger social and cultural factors that influenced the way the health center efforts were received by the community. The stigma of HIV/AIDS and discrimination of people living with the disease that are clearly present in society were also present within the health centers and the HIV-prevention programs. The following occurrences were indicative of this stigma and discrimination: the division of the HIV-prevention efforts; the individuality and isolating qualities of how information is shared and providers interact with patients; the false values regarding the rights of HIV-positive patients; and the fact that often patients prefer to receive care at a health center that is not in their own neighborhood for fear of being identified as a person living with HIV/AIDS.


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Health Services Research | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion


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