Mobilizing for Global AIDS Treatment

Clicking Compassion and Shopping Salvation

Open access


Global communication about HIV/AIDS requires the creation of new communities that can bridge distances and distinctions of nationality, language, class, race, gendered-identities and other forms of local identification on a disease that is associated with the realm usually understood as private (sexuality). Global AIDS, characterized as ‘the disease of our time’, is responsible for spawning an entire industry devoted to the prevention, detection, treatment, and potential cure of HIV/AIDS. In terms of scale, this industry works primarily cross-nationally, with donors from the North funding programs for AIDS prevention and care in the South. Anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs), typically produced as generics by manufacturers in India or South Africa and purchased by aid funding, are central to global AIDS programs. Yet, mobilizing for global AIDS treatment embodies the logic of marketing, in which Africans with AIDS are sold as lives to be saved. This article will draw from international relations theory, sociology and anthropology to offer an interdisciplinary perspective on mobilizing communication globally.

Albert, M., O. Kessler, and S. Stetter (2008) On Order and Conflict: International Relations and the ‘Communicative Turn’. Review of International Studies 34 (S1): 43-67.

Andreasson, S. (2005) Orientalism and African Development Studies: the “reductive repetition” motif in theories of African underdevelopment. Third World Quarterly 26(6): 971-986.

Beckmann, N. and J. Bujra (2010) ‘The “Politics of the Queue”: The Politicization of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Tanzania’, Development and Change 41(6): 1041-1064.

Biehl, J. (2007) Will to Live: AIDS Therapies and the Politics of Survival. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Bleiker, R. (2001) ‘The aesthetic turn in international political theory’, Millenium: Journal ofInternational Studies 30(3), pp. 509-533.

Butt, L. (2002) The Suffering Stranger Medical Anthropology and International Morality. Medical Anthropology 21(1): 1-24.

Cameron, J. and A. Haanstra (2008) Development Made Sexy: how it happened and what it means. ThirdWorld Quarterly 29 (8): 1475-1489.

Cassidy, R. and M. Leach (2009) ‘Science, Politics and the Presidential AIDS “Cure”’, African Affairs 108(433): 559-580.

Colvin, C.J. and S. Robins (2009) ‘Social Movements and HIV/AIDS in South Africa’ in HIV/AIDS in SouthAfrica 25 Years On: Psychosocial Perspectives. P. Rohleder, L. Swartz, S. C. Kalichman and L. C. Simbayi, eds. New York: Springer.

Fassin, D. (2007) When Bodies Remember: Experiences and Politics of AIDS in South Africa. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Ferguson, J. (2006) Global Shadows: Africa in the Neoliberal World Order. Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press.

Ferguson, J. (1999) Expectations of Modernity: Myths and Meanings of Urban Life on the Zambian Copperbelt. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Hintzen, P.C. (2008) Desire and the Enrapture of Capitalist Consumption: Product Red, Africa, and the Crisis of Sustainability. The Journal of Pan African Studies 2(6): 77-91.

Hood, J. (2011). HIV/AIDS, health and the media in China: imagined immunity through racialized disease. London and New York: Routledge.

Hubbard, L. and K. Mathers (2008) Surviving American empire in Africa: the Anthropology of Reality Television. International Journal of Cultural Studies 7(4): 441-459.

Jacobi, D. (2011) ‘On the “Construction” of Knowledge and the Knowledge of “Construction”’, InternationalPolitical Sociology, 1 (5): 87-105, IPS Forum on “To the Things Themselves”. . . and Back! International Political Sociology and the Challenge of Phenomenology.

Johnson, Karin E. (2002) AIDS as a US National Security Threat: Media Effects and Geographical Imaginations. Feminist Media Studies. 2 (1): 81-96.

King, S. (2007) Pink ribbons, Inc.: breast cancer and the politics of philanthropy. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Leahy, Stephen (2008) ‘Artists Desperately Needed to Inspire Change’,

Mbali, M. (2005) ‘TAC in the history of rights-based, patient-driven AIDS activism in South Africa’, In DemocratisingDevelopment: The politics of socio-economic rights in South Africa, eds. K. Stokke, and P. Jones. Martinus Nijhoff, Leiden: 213-44.

Mbembe, A. (2001). On the Postcolony. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Mbembe, A. and S. Nuttall. (2004). Writing the World from an African Metropolis. Public Culture 16(3): 347-372.

McClintock, A. (1994) Soft-Soaping Empire: Commodity Racism and Imperial Advertising. In Travellers’ tales: narratives of home and displacement. Ed. Robertson, G., M. Mash, L. Tickner, J. Bird, B. Curtis, T. Putnam. 1994. London: Routledge, 128-154.

Nguyen, V.K. (2010) Republic of Therapy:Triage and Sovereignty in West Africa’s Time of AIDS. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

Patton, C. (1992). From Nation to Family: Containing ‘African AIDS’ in A. Parker, M. Russo, D. Sommer, and P. Yaeger, eds. Nationalisms and Sexualities. New York: Routledge: 218-234.

Patton, C. (1996) Fatal Advice: How Safe-sex Education Went Wrong. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Patton, C. (2002) Globalizing AIDS. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.

Richey, L.A. (2011) Anti-Viral but Pro-Natal? ARVs and Reproductive Health: The View from a South African Township. In C. Browner, & C. Sargent, Reproduction, Globalization and the State. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Richey, L.A. and S. Ponte (2011) Brand Aid: Shopping Well to Save the World. Minneapolis and London: Univ. of Minnesota Press.

Robins, S. (2006) From ‘Rights’ to ‘Ritual’: AIDS Activism in South Africa. American Anthropologist, 108 (2): 312-323.

Seckinelgin, H. (2008) The International Politics of HIV/AIDS: Global Disease-local pain. London: Routledge.

Smith, D.J. and B.C. Mbakwem (2007) Life projects and therapeutic itineraries: marriage, fertility, and antiretroviral therapy in Nigeria. AIDS 21, Suppl 5: S37-41.

Sontag, S. (2003) Regarding the Pain of Others. New York: Farar, Straus, and Giroux.

Treichler, P.A. (1999) How to Have Theory in an Epidemic. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

UNAIDS (2011) How to Get to Zero: Faster, Smarter, Better. World AIDS Day Report 2011. Available online at

Vidali, D. (2010) “Millennial Encounters with Mainstream Television News: Excess, Void, and Points of Engagement,” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 20(2):372-388.

Watney, S. (1987) Policing Desire: Pornography, AIDS and the Media. London: Methuen.

Watney, S. (1990) Missionary Positions: AIDS, ‘Africa,’ and Race in R. Fertuson, M. Gever, T. Minh-ha, and C. West, eds. Out There: Marginalization and Contemporary Cultures. New York: New Museum of Contemporary Art: 89-106.

Nordicom Review

Journal from the Nordic Information Centre for Media and Communication Research (Nordicom)

Journal Information

CiteScore 2018: 0.54

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.223
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.270

Cited By


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 94 69 14
PDF Downloads 34 30 4