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Revista de Saúde Pública

versão impressa ISSN 0034-8910versão On-line ISSN 1518-8787


MAGNO, Laio  e  CASTELLANOS, Marcelo Eduardo Pfeiffer. Meanings and vulnerability to HIV/AIDS among long-distance truck drivers in Brazil. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2016, vol.50, 76.  Epub 22-Dez-2016. ISSN 1518-8787.


To understand the meanings assigned by long-distance truck drivers to HIV/AIDS and its transmission and prevention, bearing in mind different contexts of vulnerability.


Qualitative research with 22 truck drivers. Semi-structured interviews and participant observation were conducted in highways of the state of Bahia in 2013. We selected male truck drivers, with one year or more of work experience in long-distance routes. We carried out the thematic analysis of the interviews, to identify different contexts of vulnerability.


The results showed that the insertion of truck drivers in contexts of high social vulnerability (poor working conditions, violence on the roads, and use of alcohol and other drugs) along with the advances in access and effectiveness of treatment for AIDS promote a reduced perception of the risk and severity of this disease. In addition, the notion of “risk group” and the symbolic division between “home space” (protected) and “street space” (unprotected) intensified a restricted and specific use of condoms, guided by the opposition between “woman of the street” (unknown women, prostitutes, among others) and “woman of the house” (wives, girlfriends).


The meanings assigned by truckers to AIDS incorporated elements of recent transformations of the expanded social context, such as the development of health technologies (especially anti-retroviral drugs) and the guarantee of free access to treatment in the Brazilian public health system; but also incorporated old elements of social vulnerability context – such as the poor working conditions on Brazilian highways.

Palavras-chave : Transportation, manpower; Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, ethnology; Anthropology; Health Vulnerability; Gender and Health; Interpersonal Relations; Man’s Health.

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