The Consequences of Violence: An Analysis of the Structural Forces Behind the Spread of HIV and AIDS in Thailand and China
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Since the mid-1800s, developments in biotechnology and biomedicine has caused a change in the focus of disease research. This research has attempted to discover what causes the spread of diseases through human populations. Normally the researcher takes a biological approach, focusing on the characteristics of the disease which allow it to spread. However, many social factors contribute to the spread of diseases as well, often causing larger outbreaks to occur. HIV/AIDS, a virus, is one such disease where the social factors, more so than the biological factors, have caused it to spread to pandemic proportions. In this paper, I will discuss how structural violence accounts for the social factors that allowed HIV/AIDS to spread. Specifically I will provide an account of how structural violence is a leading cause of HIV and AIDS in the sex worker population of Thailand and the blood donor population of China. The analysis provides information on how the systems within the structure were conducive to structural violence and how each country addressed the epidemic. It is concluded that the impoverished state of the affected populations, the inability to make choices that would easily prevent HIV and AIDS, and the individual characteristics of the structures of each country created the perfect conditions for structural violence. The consequences of these actions lead to the spread of AIDS.