Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in AIDS and Behavior 17 (2013), pp. 1915–1925. DOI: 10.1007/s10461-013-0475-3


Copyright © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York. Used by permission.


Economic and political instability and related “big events” are widespread throughout the globe. Although they sometimes lead to epidemic HIV outbreaks, sometimes they do not—and we do not understand why. Current behavioural theories do not adequately address these processes, and thus cannot provide optimal guidance for effective intervention. Based in part on a critique of our prior “pathways” model of big events, we suggest that cultural–historical activity theory (CHAT) may provide a useful framework for HIV research in this area. Using CHAT concepts, we also suggest a number of areas in which new measures should be developed to make such research possible.