Sample Research Paper on Sociology: Debunking Prevailing Misconceptions of HIV and AIDS

Research PaperSociology

A research paper is written coursework that advances a specific thesis statement. This paper relies on credible information from reputable sources to support its message. This sample research paper on sociology discusses some of the prevailing stereotypes regarding HIV/AIDS and calls for action regarding the need for more education.

Since the emergence of the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV in the early 1980s, it has gone on to become one of the more serious health crises in the last century. According to the World Health Organization or WHO, there have been around 79 million cases of HIV. It has caused an estimated 36.3 million deaths while current estimates put the number of people living with HIV at 37.7 million (WHO, 2022). But while the first few decades of the HIV epidemic were characterized by fear, uncertainty, and tension, much progress has been achieved in how the condition is addressed. The advent of increasingly advanced knowledge has enabled the medical community to better understand, prevent, and treat HIV, thereby lowering not only the rate of transmission of the virus but also the rate of mortality. However, the misconceptions about HIV including stereotypes have not completely disappeared. Many of these misconceptions prevalent in society have serious consequences such as homophobia, increased risk of getting infected, and in some cases even violence. These consequences, in turn, underscore the need to address these misconceptions through education.

Furthering education on HIV/AIDS is essential to address homophobia caused by the prevalence of misconceptions. HIV has often been branded as a “gay” sexually transmitted disease. In other words, many people are under the notion that people who identify as gay, along with people who identify as transgender, are primarily responsible for the spread of HIV (, 2019). This misconception stems from the fact that HIV was first verified among gay men in the early 1980s (Browne & Browne, 2016). This perception is far from the truth. While it is true that the prevalence of HIV is higher among men who have sex with men, HIV can affect people of any sexual orientation including heterosexual males and females (Brown & Browne, 2016). Furthermore, HIV transmission does not occur through homosexual sex alone but rather can occur among heterosexual couples. HIV can also be transmitted through other ways including sharing of needles among people with substance abuse conditions. The persistence of this perception, however, has resulted in widespread homophobia not only against gays, transgender people, and MSMs but LGBT+ individuals in general. Multiple studies have shown that people who identify as gay or transgender have been subjected to rampant marginalization, persecution, and discrimination. These occur on both individual and institutional levels. For example, one study found that many who identify as gay or transgender experience mistreatment from their families due to the stigma surrounding HIV. Manifestations include verbal abuse, physical abuse, and domestic displacement (Jeffries et al., 2021). Meanwhile, on the institutional level, LGBT+ people face higher risks of being discriminated against by employers and members of the public (Human Rights Commission, 2017). The amount of abuse and violence experienced by LGBT+ people due to the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS is more than a clear indication of the need to debunk misconceptions.

Apart from the need to curb the effects of stigma-based homophobia, education should also be strengthened to address the crisis itself. For instance, the pervading belief that HIV is primarily a gay disease has resulted in policies that underfund organizations and programs that seek to address this crisis. The lack of funding, in turn, has prevented these organizations and programs from addressing the health needs of the communities they serve, let alone spending on the education of vulnerable populations and the public in general. Ultimately, this translates to higher rates of infection (Human Rights Commission, 2017). Infection rates are also higher among people who identify as LGBT+ and MSMs as a result of the stigma embedded in the healthcare system. Studies show that many MSMs, gays, and transgender people experience homophobia from healthcare workers themselves. The poor treatment and harassment these individuals receive from medical professionals eventually discourage them from having health-seeking behavior. In other words, these individuals become reluctant to approach healthcare workers and health facilities due to fear of being maltreated, which consequently results in them not receiving essential services that could help them avoid contracting HIV. These services include counseling, regular testing, medications, and protective material (Halkitis, 2012). In a way, this situation contributes to what can be considered a vicious circle. The more vulnerable populations experience maltreatment due to pervasive misconceptions, the more that they become at risk of getting infected by HIV. And the higher the infection rates go, the more that misconceptions and accompanying stigma get cemented in the public’s consciousness. This problem warrants the expansion of education that targets misconceptions about HIV/AIDS.

Since its emergence four decades ago, HIV has been a major health concern for the global population. But great strides have been made to combat the disease. Today, HIV is no longer considered a death sentence, and with adequate medical attention and adherence to treatment people who have been diagnosed with HIV can live long, productive, healthy, and fulfilling lifespans. What has lagged, however, is the education that can be used in addressing misconceptions. A lot of unfounded beliefs about HIV/AIDS still abound, and these are causing grave consequences for those affected including abuse, disenfranchisement, and violence. The stigma is also contributing to the rise in cases. For this reason, there is a clear need for further education in order to combat misconceptions. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

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References (2019, October 10). Homophobia and HIV. Avert.

Browne, G. & Browne, K. (2016). The Routledge research companion to geographies of sex and sexualities. Routledge.

Halkitis, P. N. (2012). Discrimination and homophobia fuel the HIV epidemic in gay and bisexual men. American Psychological Association.

Human Rights Commission. (2017, February). How HIV impacts LGBTQ people. HRC.

Jeffries IV, W. L., Flores, S. A., Rooks-Peck, C. R., Gerlaude, D. J., Belcher, L., Ricks, P. M., and Millett, G. A. (2021). HIV infection risk among U.S. gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men: A meta-analysis. LGBT Health, 8(1).

World Health Organization. (2022). HIV/AIDS. WHO.

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