Mobilizing for Global AIDS Treatment - Clicking Compassion and Shopping Salvation


  • Lisa Ann Richey Roskilde University


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.