Machismo, public health and sexuality-related stigma in Cartagena

Maria Cristina Quevedo-Gomez*, Anja Krumeich, Cesar Ernesto Abadia-Barrero, Eduardo Pastrana-Salcedo, Hubertus van den Borne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Web of Science)


This paper reports on an ethnographic study in Cartagena, Colombia. Over a seven-month fieldwork period, 35 men and 35 women between 15 and 60 years of age discussed the social context of HIV/AIDS through in-depth interviews, life histories and drawing. Participants considered the transgression of traditional gender roles as prescribed by machismo a major risk factor for HIV infection. In addition, they integrated public-health concepts of risk groups with these long-standing constructions of gender roles and sexuality-related stigma to create the notion of 'AIDS carriers'. The bricolage between machismo, public health and sexuality-related stigma that participants created and consequent preventive measures (based on an avoidance of sex with people identified as 'AIDS carriers') was a dynamic process in which participants were aware that changes in this particular interpretation of risk were necessary to confront the local epidemic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-235
JournalCulture Health & Sexuality
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • machismo
  • gender roles
  • Colombia

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