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North Carolina and the Problem of AIDS

Advocacy, Politics, and Race in the South

Stephen J. Inrig

Publication Year: 2011

In this project, Stephen Inrig examines the factors leading to the rise of AIDS in the South, despite national numbers that have shown a decrease in general growth rate due in large part to public-health based outreach. What Inrig finds is that regional public health programs and policies tended to follow the early-action agendas set by gay activists and therefore unintentionally failed to address the different factors in reaching at-risk African American populations. In sifting through the complicated history, Inrig remains sensitive to not blaming the victim, since gay activists (led by the Lesbian and Gay Health Project in Durham) advocated strongly for non-discriminatory care within the N.C. public and private health-care system and made important strides in medical privacy issues during a critical time in the crisis. He accounts for dynamics related to collective identity formation that helped gays organize but discouraged blacks. Additionally, Inrig looks at structural issues (related to prisons, health-care access, etc.) that gradually accelerated the disease progression among African Americans in the South. He also brings in relevant contexts such as newly heightened skepticism among blacks toward health-care campaigns in the post-Tuskegee environment.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press

CONTENTS/Figures and Tables

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pp. vii-ix

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pp. xi-xiii

I have many people to thank for making this book possible. I owe intellectual and professional debts to several people. Margaret Humphreys, my key adviser during my time at Duke, patiently directed an often unconventional student as I navigated my graduate experience at Duke, and her support has continued to open doors of opportunity to me that would not...

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INTRODUCTION. In a Place So Ordinary: The Problem of AIDS in North Carolina and the American South

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pp. 1-12

In February 2003, North Carolina’s Screening and Tracing of Active Transmission (STAT) team learned of two black college men who tested positive for “acute” HIV infections. After an initial HIV infection, it can take several weeks for the body to make antibodies. During this “acute” phase of infection, individuals are at their most contagious owing to a high viral...

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ONE. AIDS and the Frightening Future: The Emergence of AIDS in North Carolina

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pp. 13-25

In March 1983, Glenn Rowand discovered a small, pimple-sized purple spot on his arm. Over the next month, the physician’s assistant watched the spot grow at an alarming rate. On May 9, physicians at Duke University Medical Center confi rmed Rowand’s fears: the unusual, purple spot on his arm was Kaposi’s sarcoma; forty-seven-year-old Glenn Rowand...

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TWO. Making Sure That This Tragedy Never Happens Again: AIDS Organizing and North Carolina’s Gay Community

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pp. 26-42

On a cold November day in Durham, North Carolina, a young Virginia man pulled into a parking space at Duke University Medical Center and made his way into the hospital. Months earlier, he had inexplicably started feeling tired and slightly depressed. Over the next months his...

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THREE. We Ain’t Going to Tell Nobody: AIDS Organizations and the Challenge of Diversity

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pp. 43-57

Louise Alston and her family shuffl ed into the elevator on an evening in late November 1986. No one spoke. Each family member weighed the tragic news they had just learned: Harold Burton, Louise’s brother, had AIDS. That morning, Harold had gone to the hospital to have his teeth...

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FOUR. Black Men Die a Thousand Different Ways: AIDS in African American Communities

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pp. 58-85

Sometime in the late 1980s, Garry Lipscomb of the Lesbian and Gay Health Project (LGHP) attended a meeting at Mt. Olive Baptist Church in northern Durham County. “They wanted to talk about the AIDS epidemic,” Lipscomb remembered, “and they had people, mostly drug users, who were talking about getting infected and turning around and how this...

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FIVE. The Future of a Futureless Future: AIDS and the Problem of Poverty in North Carolina

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pp. 86-107

Barbara’s life had already been hard.1 The single twenty-something already had three children and was living in a housing project near uptown Charlotte when she learned she was pregnant yet again. Over the course of her pregnancy, she came to learn two things: she was having a girl,...

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SIX. Get Real. Get Tested: AIDS as a Chronic Disease in the American South

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pp. 108-126

In 1996, over a decade had passed since David Jolly first heard of HIV/AIDS, but there he was, still trying to push North Carolinians to act against the disease. His context had changed considerably. He no longer struggled in isolation: he now served as vice chairman of a blue ribbon...

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CONCLUSION. Watson and the Shark: The Past and Future of AIDS in North Carolina and the American South

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pp. 127-137

At the end of a long hall in Washington D.C.’s National Gallery of Art hangs John Singleton Copley’s Watson and the Shark. The eighteenth- century painting depicts a young sailor being attacked by a shark while his crewmates strugg le mightily to beat back the shark and save him....


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pp. 139-172


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pp. 173-201


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pp. 203-208

E-ISBN-13: 9781469602509
E-ISBN-10: 1469602504
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807834985
Print-ISBN-10: 080783498X

Page Count: 232
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2011