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Treating AIDS

Politics of Difference, Paradox of Prevention

Thurka Sangaramoorthy

Publication Year: 2014

 There is an inherently powerful and complex paradox underlying HIV/AIDS prevention—between the focus on collective advocacy mobilized to combat global HIV/AIDS and the staggeringly disproportionate rates of HIV/AIDS in many places. In Treating AIDS, Thurka Sangaramoorthy examines the everyday practices of HIV/AIDS prevention in the United States from the perspective of AIDS experts and Haitian immigrants in South Florida. Although there is worldwide emphasis on the universality of HIV/AIDS as a social, political, economic, and biomedical problem, developments in HIV/AIDS prevention are rooted in and focused exclusively on disparities in HIV/AIDS morbidity and mortality framed through the rubric of race, ethnicity, and nationality. Everyone is at equal risk for contracting HIV/AIDS, Sangaramoorthy notes, but the ways in which people experience and manage that risk—and the disease itself—is highly dependent on race, ethnic identity, sexuality, gender, immigration status, and other notions of “difference.”

Sangaramoorthy documents in detail the work of AIDS prevention programs and their effect on the health and well-being of Haitians, a transnational community long plagued by the stigma of being stereotyped in public discourse as disease carriers. By tracing the ways in which public knowledge of AIDS prevention science circulates from sites of surveillance and regulation, to various clinics and hospitals, to the social worlds embraced by this immigrant community, she ultimately demonstrates the ways in which AIDS prevention programs help to reinforce categories of individual and collective difference, and how they continue to sustain the persistent and pernicious idea of race and ethnicity as risk factors for the disease.

Published by: Rutgers University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

List of Figures and Tables

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xviii

The process of completing this book was a long labor of love, hard work, and personal sacrifice. Although at times it was an intensely lonely and isolating practice, it could not have been completed without the love and support of many people. I wish to convey my enormous gratitude to those who have played an important role in the formulation and completion of this journey....

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1. Treating Us, Treating Them

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pp. 1-21

Standing on the outdoor platform of the Metrorail stop at the University of Miami on a blisteringly hot day, I was struck by a large black, white, and red poster (see figure 1.1). The poster depicted numerous celebrities, scientists, political leaders, and social activists standing and walking barefoot in graduated rows of concrete blocks. Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Alicia...

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2. Treating the Numbers: HIV/AIDS Surveillance, Subjectivity, and Risk

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pp. 22-55

On a hot and humid day in Miami, about twenty-five people trickled into a Miami General Hospital classroom for a lecture by Dr. Cruz, an HIV/AIDS specialist. Most members of the audience were African American clients enrolled in HIV/AIDS prevention classes; a few were Kreyòl-and Spanish-speaking clients. Two women led the class in an impromptu discussion of a book on...

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3. Treating Culture: The Making of Experts and Communities

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pp. 56-81

One day in late December, I made my way to the last HIV/AIDS prevention class of the year at Miami General Hospital. Ricardo Garcia, the education coordinator, introduced the keynote speaker, Steve Taylor, as an HIV/AIDS advocate. The first thing that Steve did was to direct the clients, a majority of whom were African American, to move their chairs to make a circle so that they could talk ...

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4. Treating Citizens: The Promise of Positive Living

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pp. 82-106

I met Jacques Chantal through his social worker, Miriam Spencer, at Miami General Hospital. Miriam characterized Jacques as a “successful” patient and an “ideal” person to answer questions about HIV/AIDS in the Haitian community. When we first met, Jacques—openly and without hesitation—told me that he was gay, in his late twenties, and in the country illegally, and that he had been...

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5. Treating the Nation: Health Disparities and the Politics of Difference

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pp. 107-130

During my time in Miami, I worked with a variety of public health professionals who advocated for better health outcomes for Haitians. A majority of these providers supported and diligently championed increasingly compartmentalized programming initiatives that sought to personalize prevention messages according to various social categories of difference such as race, gender, and...

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6. Treating the West: Afterthoughts on Future Directions

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pp. 131-144

Conceived by the Global Programme on AIDS at the World Health Organization (now called the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, or UNAIDS), World AIDS Day—December 1—was first observed in 1998. It is celebrated annually to remember those who have died, to show support for those living with HIV/AIDS, and to encourage unity in the fight against HIV/AIDS. In...


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pp. 145-152


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pp. 153-168


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pp. 169-178

About the Author

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pp. 179-180

E-ISBN-13: 9780813563749
E-ISBN-10: 0813563747
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813563732
Print-ISBN-10: 0813563739

Page Count: 192
Illustrations: 5 illustrations, 2 tables
Publication Year: 2014

OCLC Number: 878405901
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Treating AIDS

Research Areas


Subject Headings

  • AIDS (Disease) -- Social aspects.
  • Health services accessibility -- United States.
  • Social status -- Health aspects -- United States.
  • Haitians -- United States -- Social conditions.
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