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Gagnon John H.
Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: December 1988
Original Article: PDF Only

Summary:The onset of the AIDS epidemic has made evident how scanty our knowledge is about sexuality, not only in the developing world where behavioral science resources are limited, but in the developed world as well. That the findings of the Kinsey group of nearly half a century ago remain relevant to current scientific discussion is an important measure of the lack of a well-developed and active research tradition in the area of sexuality. As a result of a lack of support for sex research, except in a number of very limited areas, when the epidemic began, there was a lack of baseline data, accessible and tested research techniques, and trained personnel. There is evidence that some of these problems are being addressed as new research initiatives are being undertaken both nationally and internationally that are relevant to both AIDS and sexuality. At the same time, a majority of this research has been driven by a concern for the disease and has not taken into account the larger role of sexuality in the life of individuals in specific cultures and societies. Much of the research that has been undertaken is examining sexuality from the perspective of AIDS rather than AIDS in the perspective of sexuality. Perhaps it is well to understand that long after the AIDS epidemic is history, sexuality will remain with us as a source of pleasure and difficulty.

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