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Problematising the discourse of 'Post-AIDS'

Walker, Liz



This paper reflects on the meanings of ‘post-AIDS’ in the Global North and Global South. I bring together a range of contemporary arguments to suggest that the notion of ‘post-AIDS’ is, at best, misplaced, not least because its starting point remains a biotechnical one. Drawing on aspects of the sub-Saharan African experience, this essay suggests that, despite significant shifts in access to antiretroviral therapy (ART), HIV continues to be fundamentally shaped by economic determinants and social and cultural practices. In this essay, I question the certainty of the discourse of (Western biomedical) ‘positive progress’ (Johnson et al. 2015), which underpins the ‘post-AIDS’ narrative, and suggest that living with HIV and AIDS in our contemporary global context is a life lived with ongoing complexity, stigma and chronicity. I suggest that HIV in the Global North shares many characteristics with HIV in the Global South, yet differs in significant ways, not least in the fact that a resource-rich context generates an environment where health and social care support is possible, and, mostly, usual. In both contexts, however, the experience of living with a highly stigmatized illness with no cure in both the Global South and North suggests that this is a point of shared experience.


Walker, L. (in press). Problematising the discourse of 'Post-AIDS'. Journal of Medical Humanities,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 13, 2016
Online Publication Date Feb 1, 2017
Deposit Date Jul 18, 2016
Publicly Available Date Feb 1, 2017
Journal Journal of medical humanities
Print ISSN 1041-3545
Electronic ISSN 1573-3645
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Post-AIDS; Normalization; Stigmatization; Chronicity; Global North/South
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Copy of article first published in: Journal of medical humanities, 2017.


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