The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty
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The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty

Concepts, Research, Policy

Edited by Sylvia Chant

In the interests of contextualising (and nuancing) the multiple interrelations between gender and poverty, Sylvia Chant has gathered writings on diverse aspects of the subject from a range of disciplinary and professional perspectives, achieving extensive thematic as well as geographical coverage. This benchmark volume presents women’s and men’s experiences of gendered poverty with respect to a vast spectrum of intersecting issues including local to global economic transformations, family, age, ‘race’, migration, assets, paid and unpaid work, health, sexuality, human rights, and conflict and violence.
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Chapter 49: New Labyrinths of Solitude: Lonesome Mexican Migrant Men and AIDS

Matthew Gutmann


Matthew Gutmann In contemporary Mexico, AIDS is a disease of migration and modernity. Worldwide AIDS is often argued to be a direct product of neoliberal policies that have prompted the decentralisation and privatisation of healthcare. At the same time, structural adjustments related to these changes in healthcare which have been imposed by international agencies like the World Bank have fostered conditions in which populations are forced to flee their homelands in search of better economic prospects in other countries. This is clearly the case in Mexico, where local impoverished circumstances lead millions to try their luck on the other side of the border in the United States (US). In the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, for instance, where detailed ethnographic fieldwork over several years provides the basis of this chapter, to be a migrant means that you are poor and likely to be from one of the area’s many indigenous groups.1 Extrapolating from notoriously unreliable government statistics, by 2000 there were probably over 100 000 men and women from Oaxaca working as migrants in northern parts of Mexico and the United States. It was also estimated by this time that 60 per cent of Oaxaca’s municipios (municipalities) had experienced significant emigration. Leading on from the above, the political economy of AIDS in Oaxaca involves several features which are also global in scope, with transnational migration being key: the largest demographic group in the state who are HIV-positive are poor Indian men who have worked in the United States and returned...

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