Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name



Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

First Advisor

Maticka-Tyndale, E.


Social sciences, Health and environmental sciences, Hiv, Prevention practices, Case study, Professional women, Entrepreneurial women, Tanzania



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


The dominant HIV discourse has identified poverty, lack of education and lack of gender power as primary sites for women's vulnerability. This presents women as a homogenous population. This study focuses on Professional and Entrepreneurial Women (PEW) who have at least a post-secondary education and are professionally employed and/or engaged in medium skilled entrepreneurial activities. The study suggests that PEW are women who have an education, well-paying jobs by local standards, and power. Yet their rates of HIV infection are higher than women who are uneducated and poor. An intersectional postcolonial feminist approach is employed to examine: (a) the dominant discourse on women's vulnerability, and how PEW view this discourse; (b) the discourse about PEW's vulnerability to HIV that is articulated by PEW themselves; and (c) the place of PEW in the dominant HIV discourse and prevention practices as articulated by participants. Qualitative research methods were used, which comprised the analysis of 5 government documents, 5 interviews with officials from TACAIDS and TAMWA, and 37 interviews with PEW. The results of this study demonstrates that the dominant framing of individuals in relation to HIV vulnerability fails to take into account the new positions resulting from socio-economic changes, the resulting identities of both men and women, and how these intersect with cultural norms to influence new avenues and forms of HIV vulnerability. The vulnerability of PEW is associated with the intersection of their positionalities and identities and those of their partners with socio-cultural norms and socio-economic changes. Suggestions are made for transformative changes (i.e., change in the premises of our understanding of HIV vulnerability, risks, and individual identities) for effective HIV prevention interventions.