Research Areas

Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS

Columbia University is a national leader in research on the social and behavioral dimensions of health, including HIV/AIDS as well as other vital health outcomes. Our work is notable for the degree to which it is theoretically driven, for its unusually strong emphasis on social structural dimensions of health risk, for the critical mass of researchers drawing on social scientific approaches to gender and sexuality as determinants of population-level health inequalities, and for its concern with health policy as itself the outcome of researchable social processes.

Integrating research from faculty in the Mailman School of Public Health, the School of Social Work, and the School of Arts and Sciences, the work of the Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS group covers a wide range of topics, including:

  • the country’s longest running cohort study of HIV-infected people (Peter Messeri)
  • pioneering work on intimate partner violence in relation to HIV risk (Nabila El-Bassel)
  • the structure of adolescent sexual and romantic networks, same-sex preference, the impact of virginity pledges, and STD risk (Peter Bearman)
  • the effects of school, neighborhood, and country-level behavioral norms on youth sexual and fertility behaviors (Julien Teitler)
  • a multi-site study of religious responses to AIDS in Brazil (Richard Parker)
  • comparative ethnographic research on the social factors that shape married women’s risk of HIV/AIDS (Jennifer Hirsch)
  • community-based research on social factors relevant to uptake of and adherence to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis by Black MSM (Jennifer Hirsch and Richard Parker)
  • how women and men live with HIV as a chronic illness (Karolynn Siegel)
  • the effect of state and federal policies, including sex education and access to health care, on trends in adolescent sexual behavior and fertility (John Santelli)
  • population-based research on the pattern and determinants of minority men’s use of sexual health services (Debra Kalmuss)
  • the social organization of sexual risk-taking among minority men who have sex with men in New York City (Patrick Wilson)
  • the intertwining of the continuing European fertility decline, the lack of adequate work-family reconciliation policies, and rising rates of assisted reproductive technology use (Wendy Chavkin)

This represents only a selection of the faculty whose collaborations are enhanced through their participation in the Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS group.


Lisa M. Bates, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the Columbia University Medical Center

John Santelli, Professor of Population and Family Health and Pediatrics

Brooke S. West, Assistant Professor of Social Work