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Since its early beginnings in the 1890s, our Department has an esteemed history of providing outstanding service

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Before there was a UIC College of Medicine, there was the College of Physicians and Surgeons, known colloquially as

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Kosovar Attitudes on Drugs and HIV/AIDS (KADAH)

To specify the sociocultural issues impacting HIV prevention, our team conducted a multi-sited ethnography of illegal drugs and HIV/AIDS in Kosovo that included participant-observation in schools, community and service sites, households, and in-depth interviews with Kosovar adolescents and families (Weine et al, 2004). This study specified the opportunities and obstacles for addressing HIV risk behavior associated with families’ “practical knowledge”(Scott, 1998). Several forms of families’ practical knowledgeamongst parents and youth were identified, labeled and defined through analysis of field notes and interview transcripts. For example, for Kosovar youth and parents, HIV/AIDS was “not a big problem” compared with the political, economic, social, and cultural crises. Kosovar youth saw HIV/AIDS risks from the vantage-point of the “new reality” and its problems of “boredom” and the “cooler” lifestyle. Kosovar parents regarded HIV/AIDS as a “contemporary disease” that “assaults Kosovar tradition”. They feared “losing the youth”. Other selected sociocultural variables and their impact on key intervention realms were specified. For example, in showing how HIV is being storied by youth and families, it raised the question of how should an intervention script frame HIV/AIDS as a moral discourse? This study identified multiple key sociocultural variables that impacted youth and family behaviors and HIV prevention. KADAH also established a functioning interdisciplinary research team that demonstrated the feasibility of conducting ethnographic research concerning HIV/AIDS in Kosovo.

 

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