Disrupting the Systems: Opportunities to Enhance Methodological Approaches to Address Socio-Structural Determinants of HIV and End the Epidemic Through Effective Community Engagement

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



AIDS and Behavior






HIV; Methodologies; Social determinants of health


A world without HIV is only possible by addressing the socio-structural determinants of health. Our understanding of socio-structural determinants is constantly changing, and parallel changes must occur with the methodologies used to explain the drivers of the HIV epidemic. We argue for the need to engage communities in the planning, implementation, and dissemination of research on the socio-structural determinants of HIV. Community engagement should cross-cut various types of research including rigorous measurement development of socio-structural determinants and novel analytic techniques to model their role in the trajectory of the epidemic and the impact of interventions. Considering the role of place, we recommend collaboration between scientists and communities in the interpretation of results from studies that map HIV-related behaviors and movement. As we collectively delve into historically oppressive systems with colonial antecedents, we must be ready to challenge these systems and replace them with collaborative models. The success of research-driven HIV policy and programming will best be evaluated with methodologies derived from the insights of the very individuals that these policies and programs aim to serve.