A syndemics model of health and illness focuses attention on the multiple interconnections that occur between copresent diseases and other health-related problems in a population as well as within individual sufferers at both the biological and social levels. This orientation, which developed initially within medical anthropology and diffused to epidemiology and public health, emerged in response to the dominant biomedical conceptualization of diseases as distinct entities in nature, separate from other diseases, and independent of the social contexts in which they are found. While isolating diseases, assigning them unique labels (e.g., AIDS, TB), and narrowly focusing on their immediate causes and expressions laid the foundation for the development of modern pharmaceutical and other biomedical approaches to sickness, it has become increasingly clear that diseases and ...

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