A social-ecological perspective on power and HIV/AIDS with a sample of men who have sex with men of colour.

Published: February 5, 2014


This paper applies a social-ecological theory of power to posit that individual HIV-related vulnerability stems from how power is leveraged across situations over time. The current study identified six power domains and explored how the interchangeability of power shapes HIV-related vulnerability among men who have sex with men of colour. Data were collected as part of a mixed-methods study on the social networks and experiences of racial/ethnic and sexual minority status. A total of 35 Asian/Pacific Islander, Black and Latino men who have sex with men were recruited and individual in-depth interviews were conducted. Results showed that men who have sex with men of colour actively traded upon various domains to alter their relative power within a given situation. Results suggest that power interchangeability, or the degree to which power from one domain can be leveraged to gain power in another, may shape HIV-related vulnerability. Findings offer a dynamic understanding of the nature of HIV risk as derived from everyday power exchanges and provide theoretical foundation for future work on individual resilience against HIV-related risks over time. 
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