Tuesday 10 July, 12-1pm
Social Drivers or Social Enablers?
Emeritus Professor Susan Kippax
Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW
Professor Kippax has been a leading international scholar in the social and behavioural aspects of HIV infection for the past 25 years. Until 2007, Professor Kippax was the Director of the National Centre in HIV Social Research, UNSW.
My talk addresses ‘social drivers’ by asking what they are and how we might intervene to change them. Are social drivers the same as ‘social determinants’? Do social drivers such as income or gender inequality render populations and individuals vulnerable to HIV? How are social drivers related to ‘social practices’ such as concurrency or sex work that place populations at risk of HIV? In either case, how do we intervene to reduce the risk of HIV transmission? I argue that if we understand social drivers as ‘social
determinants’ or distal/macro structures, we run the risk of evacuating the terrain of HIV prevention and avoid the challenge of intervening effectively to reduce the risk of transmission. If, on the other hand, we understand social drivers in terms of social norms and the social practices that are enabled (and regulated) by them, we stand a better chance of enabling change at the level of community and in this way reduce HIV. We need to address critical social enablers for HIV prevention by mobilising and supporting communities. Effective HIV prevention depends on moving beyond a
reliance on changing individual behaviours or social structures or drivers as separate entities, rather it needs to recognise that individual capacities are tied to the enabling (or disabling) character of social norms, practices and institutions, which are in turn understood to be transformed by community mobilisation and social movements.