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A discourse that developed initially around identity rather than sexual practices separated ‘risk’ groups from the general population. That the ‘risk’ groups in northern developed countries might be different from those in the south is obscured by the fact that most medical and academic research is carried out in the north, and those discourses hold a privileged place in the production of knowledge. Risk, as a theoretical concept, has become increasingly important in studies of HIV/AIDS because of the difficulties associated with the continued adoption of ‘safer sex’ techniques in relation to a perceived risk of infection. Sociologists and anthropologists have argued that epidemiologists and public health educators should look to social theory, where risk has been analysed as a culturally constructed concept, for answers to the questions about the difficulties associated with behaviour change.