Women, the dominant subjects of AIDS discourses, are placed at risk by common systems of oppression such as gender, race, class, and social and spatial location. Through the health campaigns which are disseminated and reproduced through television, radio, newspapers, and more recently the internet, women are uniquely constructed by privileged “experts” from the West as consumable subjects. In the case of women in Sub- Sahara Africa, we found that health campaigns which feminize AIDS are rooted in largely hegemonic cultural images which portray women as vulnerable subjects under siege. Through our analysis, we problematize the ABC health campaign and its appropriateness for women in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Afropessimism: An unremittingly bleak view of Africa. The persistence of the menacing image of Africa in the West is highlighted at the present time by the AIDS pandemic.
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS): AIDS is a human disease characterized by progressive destruction of the body’s immune system. It is widely accepted that AIDS results from infection with HIV. Although treatments for both AIDS and HIV exist, there is no known cure.
Sub-Saharan Africa: The region of Africa south of the Sahara desert. Sub-SaharanAfrica, one of the poorest regions in the world, still suffering from the legacies of colonial conquest and occupation, neocolonialism, and internal conflict. The region is comprised of 48 nations, many of which are among the least developed countries in the world.
ABC Health Campaign: The centerpiece of the prevention component of President Bush’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Abstinence should take precedence for people who are not in a relationship. Those who are in a relationship should remain faithful to their partners. And if the first two strategies fail for any reason, condoms should be used to prevent the transmission of HIV.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV): Immunodeficiency means having a faulty immune system so that a person can become very ill or die from a disease that others can fight off. Acquired means that HIV is passed from person to person through blood or other bodily fluids, through a transfusion of infected blood, to a baby from its mother, through use of contaminated hypodermic needles, or through sexual contact with a person who has the disease.