These Reviews are regarded as some of the most critical and interesting writing about HIV and AIDS in South Africa. They are widely prescribed as core reading in university courses in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, India, Brazil and South Africa.
This Review is a collaboration between HAICU, based at the University of Cape Town, and the CSA, based at the University of Pretoria. These two organisations are committed to finding ways to understand and explain the HIV and AIDS epidemics, and to determining how tertiary institutions and the wider society may come to address and act on the many complex and fascinating social, moral, political, economic and educational issues that the epidemics raise.
Extraordinary AIDS Review- Buckling: The impact of AIDS in South Africa 2005 by Hein Marais, takes a critical look at how we should be measuring the impact of HIV and AIDS on South Africa. What have we learned from our past, from the ways in which we have described and understood the epidemic and from the ways in which we have chosen to analyze and interpret its impact? Can a society such as South Africa come to terms with the impact of AIDS and generate a brave, vibrant and robust response? Can we understand the lessons of the past and create a future that protects and supports us all as we negotiate our way through this most fascinating of all epidemics and the many social, political, economic and personal ramifications it will produce?
This AIDS Review, Nostalgia (by Relebohile Moletsani), is concerned with precisely those representations with which we are confronted in our work in HIV and AIDS, in development studies, in the reports of donors and of those who have undertaken research, and by people who have responded to being the subjects of research. This Review is about nostalgia, but it is also about representations.
Who is represented, and how, and by whom, and to what end? How do those who are represented respond? Do they accept these images, and how do they respond? This Review is also about representations and silences.
This Review confronts the uneasy relationship between the North and the South, between those who conceive of our problems, who find the funds to conduct research on and explain us, and who write us up, and those whose lives and experiences are expropriated in this way. How do we find the language for the cultural and imagined past, the power of tradition and memory, and the ways in which belief and belonging shaped who we are today, without the legitimacy of this being called into question or studied? How do we write about and protect indigenous knowledge, beliefs in the mysterious powers of ancestors and witchcraft, and merge this with a new and vibrant society?
In this Review – Off Label by Jonathan Stadler and Eirik Saethre – the experience of participants in a microcode trial is analysed, operating from the idea that “as condoms and gels are employed (or not employed) in people’s everyday lives, these technologies acquire their own unique signification. These meanings and explanations are ‘off label’ in that while the health care professionals believe that the ways in which a trial will unfold and be experienced is based on how well the professionals understand the trial and the participants, it is the participants who take the intervention, interpret it, transform it, accept or reject it. Participants use trials to re-define themselves as knowledgeable participants, and to assert their individuality and choice.
(B)order(s) by Vasu Reddy, reflects on the borders that have been placed around sexual identity, sexual behaviour and sexuality. It also reflects on the need for sexual order in the dominant hetero-normative discourse of most societies, where heterosexuality is deemed to be the norm and all other sexual identities and practices the exception to this rule, to be tolerated, albeit in a strained and tense way.
Magic AIDS Review 2009 by Fraser G. McNeill & Isak Niehaus, challenges the all-too-easy assumption that testing and treatment ‘normalises’ the disease and reduces HIV- and AIDS-related stigma. Magic seeks to address the influences in people’s lives that affect their response to antiretroviral treatments, i.e. what drives adherence or treatment failure? What are the factors that come into play in the complex lives of individuals and families, and how do these influences find a place in the multiple community networks that people inhabit?
Balancing Acts AIDS Review 2008, by Carmel Rickard. How do we best understand what works, how do we estimate and measure the social cost, quite apart from the economic and political costs, and how do we strike the balance between the imperatives of public health on the one hand and the imperatives of human rights on the other?
Stigma[ta] AIDS Review 2007 by Patrick Eba offers a comprehensive overview of HIV and AIDS-related stigma and why it remains so pervasive in all societies. The strength of HIV and AIDS stigma challenges many of the beliefs people have held about AIDS and stigma. Except in a few individual cases, some communities and a couple of countries, these beliefs have not been borne out.
Bodies count AIDS Review 2006 by Jonathan Jansen discusses the role of education and the response of the educational system to HIV and AIDS. It has long been believed that schools were one of the most effective places to address HIV and AIDS. Indeed AIDS education in schools has often been referred to as a ‘social vaccine’ equipping young people with a lifetime protection against infection and giving them the means to develop and sustain sexual behaviour that will not carry the risk of infection.
What's Cooking: AIDS Review 2005 by Jimmy Pieterse and Barry van Wyk, focuses on the impact of HIV and AIDS on agriculture and the politics of food access and production. The Review employs an historical perspective in grappling with these issues, and argues that the effects of HIV/AIDS and those of food insecurity are best understood when one takes into account the specifics of the historical development of South Africa’s political economy and especially the development of the agricultural sector.
(Un)Real AIDS Review 2004, by Kgamadi Kometsi addresses the ways in which this epidemic has positioned men and the crucial roles that men can play in the social and political responses to HIV and AIDS. We address the construction of male identities and ‘maleness’ and the ways in which masculinities and male sexuality has been understood. For too long ‘gender’ has looked mainly at the position of women in society, addressing women and young girls in ways that position them negatively in relation to the rest of society through descriptions of vulnerability, of powerlessness and of being oppressed by men who have been placed centrally as the major problem in HIV and AIDS.
AIDS Review 2003: (Over) extended by Vanessa Barolsky. This Review asks the question: how does the epidemic impact on families and the personal relationships between family members – between partners, between husbands and wives, between parents and their children and between siblings? We ask the question as to how the (over)extended family will cope with this epidemic and how social and community structures might be able to find creative new ways to look after families living with HIV and AIDS, as well as people living with HIV and AIDS, and how social and community support can be developed in innovative and creative ways.
Whose Right? AIDS Review 2002, by Chantal Kisoon, Mary Caeser and Tashia Jithoo, situates HIV/AIDS within the broad field of human rights and of stigma, prejudice and discrimination. Its focus is broadly the Southern African region and looks at the complex relationship between HIV/AIDS and human rights and the implications this has for an effective AIDS response.
Who Cares? AIDS Review 2001, by Tim Trengove Jones looks at the levels of commitment and care – in the international community, in Africa and in South Africa.We have asked the question "Who cares?" both in the sense of how we should think about care and commitment,and whether – beyond the rhetoric – we care at all.
To the edge: AIDS Review 2000 by Hein Marais, tries to answer the complex question as to why, despite the comprehensive National AIDS Plan adopted in 1994, South Africa has what has been described as the fastest growing HIV epidemic in the world. It tries to discover what forces shaped the response to the epidemic and how these have operated over time.