Callie Long

Thesis:HIV-related stigma and its trauma

Abstract: Sweeping global efforts to eradicate the disease – from policy to praxis – have mobilised a diverse group of stakeholders whose re/actions have in many ways shaped the discourses of contemporary society. Yet, after some 30 years of responses, stigma associated with HIV continues to be pervasive and persistent, and a recognised main barrier to managing the disease. My research approaches the HIV pandemic by focusing on the traumatic effects of stigma. I draw on the literature of trauma studies, witnessing and testimony to examine textual representations of AIDS as a socio-cultural, political and economic crisis, rather than simply a biomedical one, and focus on testimonial literature to interpret, through a trauma lens, literature’s attention to silences and differences, and why sympathy is withheld or granted. Stigma is an act of violence that denies people not only access to prevention, treatment and care, but to living fully within society. In this way, stigma can kill. This research works towards mustering all our resources to break through this pernicious barrier as we work towards an end of AIDS.

Keywords: HIV; AIDS; stigma; trauma; witnessing; testimonial literature

Supervisor: Dr. Susan Spearey

Find information on Callie’s research here.