Chinese Civil Society-ENGOS

There’s no doubt that ENGOs located in China face serious restraints relative to those elsewhere. To say China’s authoritarian state is suspicious of civil society would be an understatement. Even registering  an ENGO in China requires government approval. Because of the governmental approval necessary to even register an organization, many ENGOs operate underground. Some estimates assess that nearly 90% of Chinese civil groups are underground. This proposes a new set of barriers and challenges to success. Unofficial or unregistered ENGOs do not receive the same financial benefits such as tax breaks or owning a bank account under there name. The lack of financial recognition, in turn, makes receiving donations more complicated, and makes hosting fundraisers or events more expensive. Similarly, one can imagine the difficulties in rallying support if the organization in question must hide from the government.


That being said, there are a number of ways that ENGOs operating in China can remain effective, regardless of their official status:


Journalism: Investigative journalism has long played a major role in Chinese environmental activism, and is very popular among ENGOs located here. Many of China’s current leading environmental activists began their careers through serious journalism. Some examples include petitioning and using consumer surveys. Petitioning to higher authorities has always been a popular method as well, likely due to China’s Confucian system. Consumer and citizen survey research has recently been used as a tactic to share and circulate more information, combining information politics with journalism. 


Naming and Shaming: Naming and Shaming is an old and trusted method for all ENGOs. Undercover investigations and international lab analyses offer Chinese ENGOs a solid footing to launch a naming and shaming campaign. These campaigns can be used against the government or multinational corporations.


Celebrity and CEO Activism: CEOs and celebrities are often attached to important charities or fundraising events used to gather and rally support around a cause.


Transparency Politics: Offering ordinary citizens have independent and non-governmental sources of information, they can make clearer and concise decisions. Similarly, they may feel more empowered to pressure the government/corporations to change behavior. Specifically in China, transparency politics is of the utmost importance to ENGOs. Accessible and honest data doesn’t exist as bountifully in China, due to the authoritarian nature of the state. However, in order to address China’s tragic pollution crisis, the public has to know who and what is poisoning their air and water.


Supply Chain Analysis: Increased access to data offers ENGOs the opportunity to hold corporations accountable. It is important to know where these raw materials are sources, and the environmental records of manufacturers that create consumer products. The path from raw materials to a consumer good is called a supply chain, and it is important to identify errors or flaws in the supply chain, so as to emphasize sustainable growth. Due to a lack or transparency in general, one can imagine how difficult it is to find this information. 


Use of Courts: In recent years, litigation has been a popular method for combatting environmental tragedies in China. In the documentary that we watched in class, we saw the challenges and weaknesses of the Chinese legal system. However, it remains a popular method, as faith in the legal system grows.

Final Paper: “First, she was sleeping around. Second, she was doing anal sex. Third, she was dirty”: Measuring HIV Risk Among Young Women in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

In this paper, I utilize bivariate statistical analysis with a small-N sample to investigate the experiences of 30 young women (aged 15-19 years old) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania,6 and answer the question: What explains variation in HIV-related risk behavior?

final paper

Writing Sample: Food Insecurity in South Africa

Food insecurity in South Africa

Food insecurity in South Africa has been an ongoing issue throughout the 21stcentury.[1]The Food and Agricultural Organization estimated in 2002 that South Africa had the highest prevalence of malnutrition.[2]South Africa is clearly the center of one of the great crises of our time. Food insecurity in South Africa is linked to socio-economic inequalities most prominently.[3]Inadequate food access was indirectly attributed to global financial stress and environmental stress.[4]

Firstly, I will discuss how the 2008 Food Price Crisis impacted South Africa’s food insecurity. Many scholars have asserted that this event had a definitive impact of South African’s access to affordable food.[5]Food prices are rather volatile. Meaning, they are very reactive to economic shocks (natural disasters, energy prices, trade policy, etc.). Due to the financial crisis of 2007-’08, food prices shot upward, dramatically. According to the Oakland Institute, this resulted in “the total number of hungry people to over 1 billion.”[6]At the time, this was approximately 1/6thof the world’s population. South Africa in particular was impacted dramatically by the food prices crisis. Ever since the crisis, food prices have been steadily increasing.[7]However, this increase cannot be attributed to the economy “overheating” due to the fact that South Africa’s GDP growth was -1.5% in 2017.[8]This prolonged increase in food prices caused severe stress and struggle for low income South African households.[9]Lower income households were impacted most because those households usually spent the majority of their funds on food. So, the increase in food prices meant that they would have to buy less food and have the same amount of money saved or for other spending needs, or they would have to buy the same amount of food, but of less nutritious value. The result was a bit of mixed bag. However, both results are examples of food insecurity.

The second cause of food insecurity in South Africa is climate change. More generally, about 17% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP, is derived from agriculture.[10]Some studies have shown that “reductions in yield in some countries could be as much as 50% by 2020.”[11]These yield losses could be attributed to sever droughts that the region experienced more recently. Specifically, in 2017 and 2018 South Africa had a serious drought. According to the Ney York Times, Cape Town, South Africa was considering turning off taps in homes until it rained again, after a strenuous three-year drought.[12]On January 14, 2018 the Theewaterskloof Dam, which is the source of about half of Cape Town’s water supply, was at 13 percent capacity.[13]Unfortunately, this means that Cape Town, and surrounding towns, have almost no capacity to produce adequate amounts of food. Water supply has to be concentrated on drinking supplies, rather than agricultural growth. Therefore, fewer crops are being grown, and in turn the price of food increases. In effect, this leaves low income households most vulnerable to food insecurity. The less privileged families who cannot afford to pay exurbanite amounts of money for nutritious food. The result is similar to the last: families either end up with less food or less nutritious food.

Clearly, a new solution should be adapted to combat increasing food prices in South Africa, as well as the ongoing drought that have both left thousands of people hungry and nutrient deprived.

Previous Relief Efforts

In 2010, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations attempted to educate South Africans on nutrition.[1]The organization enlisted the help of teachers, and created a nutrition education program, that was implemented into universities’ curriculum. The organization offered a four-month course that, “mainly uses tutorial teaching method, which emphasizes practice and experience, focusing on students’ active participation by making them the main actors of their own learning process.”[2]The course helped university students understand “nutrition behavior change.”[3]The FAO cited that the feedback was generally positive from students, helping them understand the importance of nutrition in policy creation, and that the course made students feel prepared for intergovernmental work. The FAO called for a scale up in nutrition education in other universities.

I found a few major flaws with the FAO’s nutritional education course. Firstly, it was only offered to university students. However, those most impacted by malnutrition and food insecurity are low income individuals, who cannot afford to attend university. Therefore, the program proved to be directed at the incorrect individuals because those that would benefit most from the courses most do not have access to them. Similarly, I am unsure if nutritional education courses would be best suited to fight food insecurity in South Africa because people cannot benefit from nutritional education courses if they do not have access to nutritious food.

Another previously attempted solution to food insecurity in South Africa was adapted in 2002 by the South African government, and was called the Integrated Food Security Strategy for South Africa (IFSS).[4]The goal of the new program was to “attain universal, physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food by all South Africans at all times.”[5]Its objectives included increasing household food production and trading, improve income generation, provide capacity building, etc.. It mainly focused on a developmental approach.

Since the IFSS was implemented, about 22 percent of the South African population still experienced poor to severe access to food.[6]The IFSS failed in provide adequate food safety nets, providing nutritional education, and the poor use of land.[7]The program determined that the government should direct its attention to the poorer members of society. Overall, if the government were to implement a similar program, it should focus solely on poorer communities, as those are the households most dramatically impacted by food insecurity. Both of these campaigns failed in similar ways: they targeted the wrong individuals and were poorly directed.

[1]“FAO Promotes Healthy Diets Through Nutrition Education Training,” Food and Agriculture Organization, 2010,

[2]“FAO Promotes Healthy Diets Through Nutrition Education Training.”

[3]“FAO Promotes Healthy Diets Through Nutrition Education Training.”

[4]Department: Agriculture, “The Integrated Food Security Strategy for South Africa,” 2002, 383–93.


[6]Prof JF Kirsten and Prof M McClachlan Prof HC Schönfeldt, “Country Policy Analysis Nutrition Impact of Agriculture and Food Systems Thailand,” UN System Standing Committee on Nutrition Country Study for the Second International Conference on Nutrition, no. August (2013),

[7]Prof HC Schönfeldt.

[1]Alison A. Misselhorn, “What Drives Food Insecurity in Southern Africa? A Meta-Analysis of Household Economy Studies,” Global Environmental Change15, no. 1 (2005): 33–43,; Labadarios, June-rose Mchiza, and Patricia Steyn, “Food Security in South Africa- a Review of National Surveys.”

[2]FAO, “Food Insecurity in the World 2000,” 2000, 1–31.

[3]Misselhorn, “What Drives Food Insecurity in Southern Africa? A Meta-Analysis of Household Economy Studies.”


[5]Anuradha Mittal, “The 2008 Food Price Crisis: Rethinking Food Security Policies,” United Nations Discussion Papers, no. 56 (2009): 1–40,; Labadarios, June-rose Mchiza, and Patricia Steyn, “Food Security in South Africa- a Review of National Surveys”; Misselhorn, “What Drives Food Insecurity in Southern Africa? A Meta-Analysis of Household Economy Studies.”

[6]“High Food Price Crisis,” The Oakland Institute, 2018.

[7]Paul Adams and Edward Paice, “The ‘Silent Crisis’ of Food Price Inflation in Africa,” Africa Research Institute, 2017.

[8]Diana Liverman, “Assessing Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability: Reflections on the Working Group II Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,” Global Environmental Change18, no. 1 (2008): 4–7,

[9]Adams and Paice, “The ‘Silent Crisis’ of Food Price Inflation in Africa”; Misselhorn, “What Drives Food Insecurity in Southern Africa? A Meta-Analysis of Household Economy Studies.”

[10]Wolfram Schlenker and David B. Lobell, “Robust Negative Impacts of Climate Change on African Agriculture,” Environmental Research Letters5, no. 1 (2010),

[11]Liverman, “Assessing Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability: Reflections on the Working Group II Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

[12]Norimitsu Onishi and Somini Sengupta, “Dangerously Low on Water, Cape Town Now Faces Day Zero,” The New York Times, 2018.

[13]Onishi and Sengupta.

Writing Sample: Nonviolent Conflict Resolution

Final Nonviolent Recommendations to Resolve Gang Violence in Honduras

Honduras has been struggling to deal with gang violence for well over 30 years. The conflict began in the 1980s, when large-scale civil war broke out throughout Central America, leading to massive waves of immigration to the United States.[1]The majority of migrants landed and settled in the Los Angeles area. These immigrant youths who felt marginalized soon became invested in gang activity there, and were eventually deported due to a massive crack down on LA gangs in the 1990s. This, in turn, resulted in gangs to be spread to Central America. Today, gangs in Central American act as extremely powerful transnational criminal organizations that actively pose as the region’s most serious threat to peace since their civil wars.[2]Due to the urgency associated with gang violence in this region, now is the time to nonviolently solve the conflict. Previous government crackdowns on criminals have been tried in recent years, and have been proven to be unsuccessful.[3]Clearly, a new nonviolent strategy should be implemented.

First, I believe it is very important to investigate the pillars and roots of the gangs in Honduras. In other words, examine the structures that support them. One of the major supporting factors is drug use in surrounding countries that provides demand for transnational drug trade. Essentially, there’s an economic incentive to being a member of the gangs.[4]The gangs act as drug traffickers, bringing South American produced drugs up the North American continent. Due to raging political and economic instability in Honduras, the country has become host to the chosen drug traffickers for South American drug producers. The country’s prime location coupled with governmental instability made Honduran gangs the perfect fit for South American drug producers looking for traffickers. This gave Honduran gangs more power, and ultimately fueled their violent campaign. 2012 estimates stated that about 90 percent of cocaine headed to the United States, travels through Central America and/or Mexico first.[5]Clearly, drug trafficking is extremely lucrative, and provides an incentive for the members to keep the business running smoothly.

The second major pillar supporting gangs in Honduras is the normalization of violence in Honduran society. Through constant exposure, Hondurans have gone “numb” to violence, and no longer see it as an extraordinary event.[6]The normalization of violence also honors it as well. Often times in Honduran culture, there is a sense of prestige associated with violent acts.[7]Prestige has long been determined as a major contributor to the continuation of war. Gangs, like states, seek honor, prestige, and legitimacy.[8]The gang that can enact the most amount of violence often is seen as the most prestigious, influential, and legitimate. Similar to economic and financial incentives to the continual reinforcement of gang power, the competition for prestige and influence will continually re-institutionalize gang power in Honduras.

Therefore, the strategized nonviolent solution to gang violence in Honduras should be directed at finding alternatives to the lucrative drug trade and the prestige associated with violence. Similarly, it is important to remember that the potential strategy should be focused on long-lasting positive peace, rather than negative peace. Previously, the Honduran government worked to promote negative peace, that did not address the underlying needs of Hondurans.[9]My first proposal is to halt state-sponsored violence that is intended to “crackdown” on gangs. Combatting violence with violence can often inflate the conflict more, or have little impact except for possibly disturbing public life.[10]Instead, the government of Honduras should begin to re-conceptualize these gang members. Similar to the conflict in Colombia, I’d recommend a campaign that attempts to frame gang members as sons, brothers, nephews, etc. This re-conceptualization of gangs could possibly encourage them to return to their roots. Also, the mass campaign would reframe gang members in the public’s eye. Social exclusion and marginalization is a major cause of gang violence, and is often a major contributor to rising gang membership.[11]A mass campaign that emphasizes humanity and empathy for gangs could potentially prevent them from being further marginalized, or provide them with a welcoming community to return to.

[1]Ana Arana, “How Street Gangs Took Central America,” Foreign Policy, 2005.


[3]Gutierrez Rivera, “Security Policies from a Spatial Perspective: The Case of Honduras.”

[4]Ana-Constantina Kolb, “OUTGUNNED : THE HONDURAN FIGHT AGAINST TRANSNATIONAL COCAINE TRAFFICKERS AGAINST TRANSNATIONAL COCAINE,” Journal of International Affairs Editorial Board66, no. 1 (2018): 213–23.


[6]Pine, “Violence.”


[8]Youngho Kim, “Does Prestige Matter in International Politics?,” Journal of International and Area Studies11, no. 1 (2018): 39–55.

[9]Barbara Wien, “Major Concepts in the Field of Peace Research” (School of International Service, 2018).

[10]Gutierrez Rivera, “Security Policies from a Spatial Perspective: The Case of Honduras.”

[11]Jose Miguel Cruz, “Maras and the Politics of Violence in El Salvador,” in Global Gangs: Street Violence across the World, ed. Jennifer Hazen (University of Minnesita, 2014), 123–44,

Methodology I am grappling with

Research question: What explains variation in HIV-related risk among young women in Dar es Salaam?

Gendered variation of HIV infections in sub Saharan Africa (SSA) has puzzled researchers for many years.[1]In most other regions of the world, HIV is isolated to key populations (men who have sex with men, injection drug users, sex workers, etc.). However, in SSA HIV is a generalized epidemic, and therefore is predominantly spread through heterosexual sexual behavior. The assumption is therefore that men and women in SSA have relatively similar HIV prevalence rates. However, this is not the case; instead, young women are extremely more at risk for contracting HIV. Young women’s prevalence rates remain extremely higher than young men’s, and they remain the most vulnerable population in the region. This extreme vulnerability can only be explained by societal norms and behaviors that disadvantage young women. I hope that my work has the potential to speak to gender dynamics that leave young women extremely more at-risk. For this reason, it is my belief that my research interests remain reflexivist in nature. That being said, my research question is formulated in a neopositivist structure because I plan to utilize neopositivist tools to speak to reflexivist ideals.

I felt that it was extremely important for my data analysis to include neopositivist structures due to the nature of my project. HIV is an incredibly sensitive topic due to the stigma surrounding the disease, and therefore I felt it necessary to develop a systematic approach to grouping young women as being at “high risk” for contracting HIV. Similarly, it is my belief that the best approach to determining behavioral trends in the high-risk group was to perform a chi squares analysis. It was a relatively basic analysis, which I plan to discuss further below.

While my data analysis is naturally neopositivist, I also felt extremely difficult to separate myself from the research topic. As a young woman, I viewed my topic from their perspective. The majority of the women interviewed were actually the same age as me, so I felt it extremely difficult to completely separate myself from them. Reflexivists believe that knowledge directs action along pathways, that possibly leads to the overcoming of social or gender hierarchies.[2]. HIV is not an isolated phenomenon; it is impossible to isolate disease from social determinants of health. Reflexivists pride themselves on “identifying the function of a given intellectual articulation and clarifying its relationship to the dominant social order,” and this is exactly what I am attempting to do: identify why women are disproportionately more at risk, and then clarify its relationship to gendered social orders.[3]

Similarly, the data that I am analyzing consists of qualitative interviews, and seeks to “problem solve”. Researchers should learn from their mistakes and decide to re-evaluate and make changes and try again.[4]HIV is a product of and a contributing factor to intensely restrictive gender norms that ultimately leave young women in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania extremely at risk compared to men. Reflexive scholars take into account the gendered history of the sexual partnerships in Tanzania; they would problem solve and determine an all-encompassing solution, or display the hierarchies contributing to the societal ill.

[1]Simon Gregson, Heather Waddell, and Stephen Chandiwana,“School Education and HIV Control in Sub-Saharan Africa: From Discord to Harmony?,”Journal of International Development13, no. 4 (2001): 467–485; Shelley Lees et al., “Sexual Risk Behaviour for Women Working in Recreational Venues in Mwanza, Tanzania: Considerations for the Acceptability and Use of Vaginal Microbicide Gels,”Culture, Health and Sexuality11, no. 6 (2009): 581–595; Daniel T Halperin and Helen Epstein, “The Role of Multiple Concurrent Partnerships and Lack of Male Circumcision : Implications for AIDS Prevention,”The Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine, no. March (2007): 19–25; Connie L. Celum et al.,“Rethinking HIV Prevention to Prepare for Oral PrEP Implementation for Young African Women,”Journal of the International AIDS Society18, no. Suppl 3 (2015): 1–10; Rebecca Lewinsohn et al., ““This Baby Came up and Then He Said, ‘I Give up!’: The Interplay between Unintended Pregnancy, Sexual Partnership Dynamics and Social Support and the Impact on Women’s Well-Being in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa,”Midwifery62, no. August 2017 (2018): 29–35.

[2]Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations: Philosophy of Science and Its Implications for the Study of World Politics, 2nd ed. (Routledge, 2016).



Research Portfolio Post #6: Quantitative Data Sources


My research question for my large-n research sketch asks: what explains the gendered disproportionality of HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa. Because this question is so broad, I decided to meet with Dr. Robinson, my mentor, to dissect what I should be looking for. I had to narrow my scope greatly in order to ensure that I would be able to find adequate data for this topic. We agreed that I should likely focus on gender inequity in order to find sources that would positively contribute to my research.

That being said, I found a plethora of data to help me begin my large-n research design. The data I will be discussing is the Global AIDS Monitoring (GAM) from 2017, last updated on September 24, 2018.1 GAM essentially tracks global progress on ending the AIDS epidemic, regarding the United Nations Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS. This database contains country-reported GAM data.2 It includes 4666 geographical areas and 107 variables. The variables include: UNAIDS geographical region, Estimated HIV in new TB cases, Hepatitis B testing, knowledge about HIV prevention in young people, and condom use at last high-risk sex, just to name a few.3 It also separates the data collected by looking at female, male, and both sexes, as well as their age groups (i.e. 15-19, 20-24, 25-49).4 This is good for me, considering my research is particularly focused on young women. I am able to look at very specific data for the key group I am looking to investigate.

This data was collected from countries all over the world. Therefore, I will need to separate data collected regarding sub-Saharan Africa from the rest because that is what I am interested in most. My dependent variable is the number of HIV infections in young women (15-25). This will be broken down by country, where some countries may not exhibit a severely gendered gap in HIV infections. For the purpose of brevity and functionality, I will likely not include data regarding TB, HBV, HCV, or other infectious diseases, as this data set is about half related to those illnesses. 5 However, the remainder of the data is applicable to my research, so I will likely be using it in my research.


1 UNAIDS, Global AIDS Monitoring (GAM), distributed by AIDS info,

2 Ibid.

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid.


AIDS info. 2017. Global AIDS Monitoring (GAM) (2017 Release). Retrieved from

Research Portfolio Post #5: Research Topic Post

I am proposing to research the link between economic disparities in gender and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection rates in women because I want to find out why women are disproportionately more likely to be infected with HIV than any other population in sub Saharan Africa (SSA), in order to help my reader, understand how gender inequity in SSA may correlate to poor health for women.

In recent years, several countries in SSA have experienced an increase in HIV infection rates [1]. SSA accounts for 2% of the global population, but of that 2% 1/3 are infected with HIV. In other words, SSA is one of the few regions of the world where there is an increase in new infections of HIV. Unlike most other communities around the globe, HIV is a generalized epidemic in SSA. This mean as that the disease impacts more than the key populations (men who have sex with men MSM, injection drug users IDU, sex workers SW). However, due to concurrent relationships and complex sexual networks, women in SSA are significantly more likely to contract HIV in their lifetime compared to others in the region[2]. In SSA women are subordinate to men. This means that women have little negotiating power in sexual relationships, leaving them more at risk for HIV.

Economic disparities in gender facilitate the spread of HIV. This is largely due to the fact that risk for HIV is greatly increased by poverty. When a population doesn’t have money for food, clothing, etc. then they most likely will not prioritize sexual health. This may lead many women to become sex workers (SW) or behave in risky sexual behavior in exchange for gifts. Similarly, economic strife can increase intimate partner violence (IPV), which also puts women more at risk for contracting HIV[3]. Therefore, general economic health can influence a country’s HIV risk. However, I’m most interested in investigated how lack of economic opportunities for women increases their risk for contracting HIV. By economic opportunities I mean, access to education, healthcare, and business ventures. For example, because women are less likely to be educated in SSA, they’re also less likely to be formally employed, and therefore more likely to engage in risky behavior (i.e. sex work).

In recent years, Kenya’s economy has been struggling due to ongoing drought, weak credit growth, and security concerns[4]. This macro-level struggle leads to micro-level consequences. Meaning, fewer are employed and major industries such as agriculture are struggling, which lessens economic prosperity per capita. Similarly, economic struggle in the agricultural sector leads to food insecurity, which in turn leads to increased risk for HIV. A lack of access to food leaves women worrying about survival, rather than their sexual health. Economic strife leads to lack of economic opportunities which in turn leads to IPV and alternatives sex work. While there is a plethora of sources addressing HIV and IPV, there is a lack of literature addressing lack of economic opportunities, as I defined them, and a correlating increased risk for contracting HIV. Gender inequality in SSA is a serious socio-political issue today, and should be discussed in future research. If this issue is not researched further gender inequity will only increase, leading to a worsening epidemic in the region. Similarly, if economic disparities in gender is not addressed, then the economic prosperity of the region will worsen, possibly leading to political and social conflict as well. Researchers should be interested in what possible social intervention can be instituted in order to combat increasing infection rates in young women? What explains the current drought and struggling agriculture sector?

[1] Daniel T Halperin and Helen Epstein, “The Role of Multiple Concurrent Partnerships and Lack of Male Circumcision : Implications for AIDS Prevention,” The Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine, no. MArCH (2007): 19–25; Catherine MacPhail and Catherine Campbell, “‘I Think Condoms Are Good but, Aai, I Hate Those Things’:Condom Use among Adolescents and Young People in a Southern African Township,” Social Science & Medicine 52, no. 2001 (2001): 1613–1617.

[2] Kaymarlin Govender et al., “HIV Prevention in Adolescents and Young People in Eastern and Southern Africa Region: A Review of Key Challenges Impeding Actions for an Effectiv Response,” The Open AIDS Journal, no. 12 (2018): 53–67.

[3] Suzanne Maman et al., Leveraging Strong Social Ties among Young Men in Dar Es Salaam: A Pilot Intervention of Microfinance and Peer Leadership for HIV and Gender-Based Violence Prevention, n.d.

[4] The World Bank, The World Bank in Kenya, 2018; The National Treasury, Quarterly Economic and Budgetary Review, 2018. Continue reading

Research Portfolio Post #4: Article Comparison

I will be discussing two articles that investigate HIV prevalence in adolescents. The pieces are titled, HIV Prevention in Adolescents and Young People in the Eastern and Southern African Region: A Review of Key Challenges Impeding Actions for an Effective Response and HIV, Gender, Race, Sexual Orientation, and Sex Work: A Qualitative Study of Intersectional Stigma Experienced by HIV-Positive Women in Ontario, Canada. The first piece was published in “The Open AIDS Journal” and the second in “PLoS Medicine”. Both articles establish and reiterate that while HIV rates of infection of decreasing internationally, HIV infection rates in adolescents are increasing. However, the authors choice of methodology varies.

I’ll began by discussing the first article. This piece specifically looks at HIV in the Eastern and Southern African Region (ESAR). The author begins by talking about how much HIV has been declining and how far the world has come since HIV was discovered. However, then she contrasts that point by saying that “37% of all new HIV infections in 2017” were attributed to young people (Govender et al. 2018). Then, the author lists her main points of emphasis: epidemiological patterns of HIV, young populations that require targeted HIV preventions, challenges associated with HIV prevention programming and research, and mitigating vulnerability and sustaining the HIV prevention response(Govender et al. 2018). She investigates prevalence of HIV in men and women through graphs and analysis. And lastly, she calls for more effective research to be done in the region in order to meet the Millennium Development Goals framework (reduce number of HIV infections by 75% by 2030) (Govender et al. 2018).

In contrast, the second piece specifically looks at HIV in young adolescent girls in Ontario, Canada. This piece emphasizes how intersectionality plays a major role in HIV infection. The author discussed how minorities and poorer groups in Ontario are disproportionately impacted by the disease (Logie et al. 2011). Racism and stigma also play major roles in the HIV prevalence among these communities. The author furthers their point by creating a diagram to represent the multifaceted influences associated with HIV infection amongst minority women in Ontario. Similar to the previous piece, the author mentions and emphasizes that women are significantly more likely to get HIV in patriarchal societies because they have little negotiating power (negotiating condom use) (Govender et al. 2018; Logie et al. 2011).

The two pieces vary in their approach to the topic. The first investigates how research should be improved in order to learn more about HIV in this population, while the second discusses the political and social implications of HIV in these populations through group participants. I believe both pieces will help me in my own research, as they complement each other well and reiterate my main point as well: that young girls are disproportionately impacted by HIV because of existing patriarchal systems.



Govender, Kaymarlin et al. 2018. “HIV Prevention in Adolescents and Young People in Eastern and Southern Africa Region: A Review of Key Challenges Impeding Actions for an Effectiv Response.” The Open AIDS Journal (12): 53–67.

Logie, Carmen H., LLana James, Wangari Tharao, and Mona R. Loutfy. 2011. “HIV, Gender, Race, Sexual Orientation, and Sex Work: A Qualitative Study of Intersectional Stigma Experienced by HIV-Positive Women in Ontario, Canada.” PLoS Medicine 8(11).