Course Number: 
43012

From it's first widespread appearance in the United States in 1981, vulnerability to HIV infection and governmental and public health responses to it have been deeply shaped by underlying social inequalities and the politics of race, gender, sexuality, and class. While it is true that much has changed since 1981 in the treatment and prevention of HIV, a surprising amount has not changed. Confidence in and optimism about biomedical treatments runs high and yet meaningful access and engagement in these intervention approaches continues to mirror the social inequalities that have existed since the beginning of the epidemic. As a consequence, the number of annual HIV infections in the United States remains stubbornly persistent and increasingly concentrated among historically marginalized populations, especially among persons with multiple marginalized identities. Despite these difficult trends, social workers possess the skill sets and perspective to craft and implement evidence-based interventions that bridge the worlds of structural inequality and biomedical intervention and therefore are integral to ending the domestic HIV epidemic. In this course, we will explore the types of interventions and approaches that social workers are using in the realms of primary HIV prevention and to improve access and retention in care for persons living with HIV. This class is as much a class about how social workers think and practice in the domain of public health as it is a class about HIV.