Sex Roles, Vol. 42, Nos. 7/8, 2000
Women, Ethnicity, and AIDS: What’s Love Got to
Do with It?
Pamela Trotman Reid
University of Michigan
This paper examines the usefulness of relationships as the critical factor in
preventing AIDS for women of color. An analysis is offered of the conceptu-
alization of issues, as well as the prevention measures and safe-sex strategies
developed for gay men versus women’s HIV/AIDS incidence rates. The
discussion of similarities demonstrates that gender and culture play a role
in the disproportionate negative impact affecting the health status of women
of color. The compounding factor of poverty is considered essential to the
complex situation in the ethnic minority community, resulting in a lack of
public concern and a lack of community responsiveness to these women.
Finally, several challenges for health researchers are presented including the
need to adopt cultural sensitivity in research efforts, include researchers with
an understanding of the ethnic community’s perspective, and develop clearer
guidelines for risk assessment.
Women’s stereotypical responses have often been examined as the key to
their behavior. They have been described as more caring and concerned for
others, more easily inﬂuenced and suggestible, and less aggressive in social
interactions than men (Eagly, 1987; Williams & Best, 1986). In spite of meta-
analyses that refute much of the evidence for the claims of gender differences
(Hyde & Linn, 1986), the belief in these stereotypes remains widely held.
Among the strongest is an image of women perpetuated in ﬁlm and ﬁction
(e.g., Indecent Proposal and Waiting to Exhale are ﬁlms about women) who
will do anything for love, even sacriﬁce their own well-being.
Psychologists have turned to focus on relationships as a critical feature
for impacting women’s health-related behavior in general, and for affecting
To whom correspondence should be addressed at the Institute for Research on Women and
Gender, 1136 Lane Hall, 204 South State Street, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
0360-0025/00/0400-0709$18.00/0 2000 Plenum Publishing Corporation