Syndemic approach

Publishing Month: 
November, 2017

The idea of syndemics was first introduced in the 1990s by the medical anthropologist Merrill Singer to explain the entwined and cumulative effects of the interactions among substance abuse, violence, and AIDS (SAVA) which had resulted in a major health crisis in Hartford, USA. As the researchers were investigating HIV prevention among drug users, they understood that a multitude of factors worked closely and interconnectedly to constitute the risk in the population. They also identified that most of these factors were either structural - lack of housing and poverty or social- stigma and lack of social support. The identification of the framework of syndemics also offered an entry point to plan appropriate interventions addressing the comprehensive array of factors contributing to and reinforcing many such disease conditions. Subsequently, more syndemics have been identified and are being researched like the HIV-malnutrition-food insecurity syndemic in sub- Saharan Africa and the VIDDA (violence, immigration, depression, type 2 diabetes, and abuse) among Mexican immigrant women residing in the US. Context is the crux and syndemics underlines that. Considering the enormous potential of Syndemic approach in looking at synergistic epidemics and the similar forces and an array of underlying social and structural factors that perpetuate and accelerate them, it is being discussed and worked upon worldwide as a promising concept that can address the complex nature of many public health conditions. 

The whole of this month we discuss the concept of Syndemics and we will be uploading resources related to it. We welcome your blogs and writings on the topic!