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Annotated Bibliography #1

Posted OnOctober 20, 2017 10:35


This is my Annotated Bibliography #1. These six sources are mainly focused on the international reactions to AIDS. The first, second, and fourth sources were found through the EBSCO database search online, the third source was found through the citations of an online blog post, and the last two sources were found by browsing the websites of the WHO and UNAIDS. All the bibliographies were created using the Zotero software application.

AIDS As an International Political Issue : A Selection From AIDS Between Science and Politics

Piot, Peter. AIDS As an International Political Issue : A Selection From AIDS Between Science and Politics. Columbia University Press, 2014. EBSCOhost,


In this eBook, Peter Piot, the founding executive director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), describes and analyzes the reactions of international organizations and national governments to the AIDS public health crisis. He also explains the methods he used throughout the world to promote progressive political agendas that would fight AIDS.

According to Piot, many international organizations did not initially perceive AIDS as a serious issue. In 1985, the director general of the World Health Organization, Dr. Mahler, “declared that not too much attention should be paid to AIDS”. Even though the Denver Principles, which outlined the rights of people with AIDS, were declared in 1983, there was no “declaration at a top global political level to demand worldwide mobilization against AIDS” until the UN General Assembly in 1987. Africa, home of the people most affected by HIV, did not have associations and organizations representing the affected people until the 1990s. UNAIDS, officially the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, was not founded until 1995. According to the author, significant factors to the delays in international responses were ideological debates, conflicts within UN agencies, and uncoordinated support of local programs. He also points out the progress that has been made and the nations that were proactive in dealing with the crisis. He mentions the openness about sexuality in Brazil allowed it to directly address the issue of HIV. It became the first undeveloped nation to offer free antiretroviral treatment in 1996. In 1999 “President Fernando Henrique Cardoso did not bow to the demands of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to cut the public AIDS treatment program”. Piot later on discusses the “tipping point” in 2000/2001, where he recognizes “a turning point in the global fight against AIDS”, which saw the creation of many regional and global initiatives and serious discussions about the crisis in the UN.

Through first-hand experience, Piot details methods of influencing government policies. He claims that since the reactions to the AIDS crisis very by nation and culture, one must “analyze national policy development or advocacy in their historical and cultural contexts” to be able to influence the political stance towards AIDS of any nation. He presents China as an example, arguing that policy in that nation can mainly be influenced through “dialogue with the Communist Party” rather than “through civil society or the media as in many other countries”.

This source is useful because it exposes the reactions the international community had to AIDS as a whole, and details the intricacies of dealing with cultural predispositions and ideologies. It features a lot of detailed analysis correlating the cultures, trends, and political attitudes of regions and their responses to AIDS/HIV. It also provides an informative perspective from a scientist that is an expert in the field and involved in international health organizations. It is a very credible source since it was published by the Columbia University Press and was written by Peter Piot, a respected Belgian microbiologist researcher. There might be some bias since Piot is a scientist, which might cause him to devalue the human rights approach to the issue of AIDS policy, and the founding executive director of UNAIDS, which might cause him to prioritize discussing its accomplishments over the initiatives of other organizations.

Miss HIV: Overcoming AIDS in Africa

Miss HIV: Overcoming AIDS in Africa. [San Francisco, California, USA] : Kanopy Streaming, 2016. 2016. EBSCOhost,


This documentary explores the AIDS crisis in Africa and the stigma surrounding the topic in African cultures while following the event of the “Miss HIV Pageant”. Through narration, interviews, and clips of conferences the film exposes the danger that comes with making AIDS a taboo topic, by showing the deaths and negative cultural ideologies it creates.

The narrator in the film explains that the many years it took for the African population to realize the cause behind the deaths of African young adults “shrouded the disease in fear, superstition, and stigma beyond the experience of any western culture.” Gaelebale Thabang tells the story of her sister, who died in 1998. Gaelebale explains that “she could have been helped if she could have just said” that she was HIV positive. Unfortunately many young people in Africa decide to hide their situation due to the criticism and humiliation that occurs in their local societies. The ridiculous extent of this issue is shown through a clip of an event in which Melinda Gates claims that even though many clinics in Botswana provide free antiretrovirals, most people avoid going due to the stigma surrounding AIDS.

On the contrary, Uganda, which was able to lower the rate of adults infected with the HIV virus from 15% to 6% in less than two decades, was more open to talking about AIDS and fighting against it. The government developed an “A, B, C” program (Abstinence, Be faithful, use Condoms), which contradicted many Western methods for HIV prevention, but correlated to the conservative African attitudes towards sex. This led to a big clash between Western and African ideology, since many developed nations and international organizations considered the “ABC” approach a violation of human rights and especially a hazard to women’s health.

I decided to use this source because it provides plentiful interviews with experts and African locals which outline the cultural and political stances of African nations on AIDS. This source complements the analysis of my third source, the article “A Muted Response to AIDS” by the Los Angeles Times, since they have identical topics from similar viewpoints. It is a credible source since the film was presented in multiple film festivals  and was produced by the EthnoGraphic Media Productions which has created multiple documentaries. It also features many interviews with experts on the topic and presents the opinions of both cultural sides on AIDS/HIV policy. There might be bias involved in the information presented since the production company is Western and the statistics used were sometimes outdated.


The video was embedded in HTML through the code provided on

A Muted Response to AIDS

Dixon, Robyn. “A Muted Response to AIDS.” Los Angeles Times, 26 May 2004. LA Times,


The article investigates the harsh reality of the stigma and superstitions surrounding AIDS in South Africa. Due to the shame associated with the illness, the misguided beliefs of the locals, and the lack of governmental response, the death rate has rose in 2004 to make AIDS the “nation’s No. 1 killer”.

The government’s slow response to the AIDS crisis seems to have been the biggest factor in the ineffectiveness of any initiative. The African National Congress government “promised a comprehensive AIDS treatment policy”, but it took 10 years to arrive. Shipments of free antiretroviral medicines were taking months to arrive. The newly elected President at the time, Thabo Mbeki, even “questioned whether the human immunodeficiency virus causes AIDS and whether the antiretroviral drugs widely used in the developed world help or hurt”.

This lack of governmental support led to a large part of the population to pursue non-scientific solutions. Locals such as Flora Mogano would provide “cures” such as faith healing and vitamin pills. Sometimes such techniques seemed to be the only solutions, since medication was unaffordable for many.

Finally, the issue that seems to plague all of Africa to this day, was the stigma surrounding AIDS. The article mentions health workers claiming that “families often reject patients, children taunt their sick parents and spouses conceal their HIV status from each other”. The fear of humiliation caused patients to deny treatment or testing, and have delusions about the source of their contraction.

This article is useful because it provides the opinions and stories about AIDS of local South Africans, and summarizes the stigma and governmental response of the nation in 2004. The article has many similar themes with the documentary “Miss HIV: Overcoming AIDS in Africa”. It is a credible source since it was published by the Los Angeles Times, a well-known news organization, and references lots of interviews and facts. It also presents the opinions of those who are do not believe in purely scientific solutions to the AIDS crisis, therefore providing multiple perspectives on the topic. There might be some bias involved, since the journalist seems critical of the South African government and the traditional healers.

HIV in World Cultures : Three Decades of Representations

Subero, Gustavo. HIV in World Cultures : Three Decades of Representations. Farnham, Surrey : Ashgate, [2013], 2013.


This book provides extensive examples on the artistic reactions of world cultures to HIV along with interpretations on the way AIDS was perceived in each region. The main cultures discussed are the North American, the Hispanic, and the African ones. I decided to focus on three chapters: “Mapping Hetero/Homo-sexuality on the Caribbean, Male, HIV Body”,”Mapping the HIV Body in Contemporary Latin American Theatre”, and “Representing HIV/AIDS in Africa: Pluralist Photography and Local Empowerment”.

Subero analyzes the reaction of the Caribbean to the gay community after being put on the spotlight through the AIDS crisis. He notices attempts to change the perception of masculinity in the Haitian and Cuban film scene, and HIV being presented as a “sublime experience” through film characters that are “defined through their positive status”.

In Latin American theatre, Subero notices motifs such as “the demonization of the transmission of the virus” and “decomposing bodies”. He provides a lot of evidence to back his observations, such as the demonstration of “the HIV-positive body as a weapon and, simultaneously, as a poisonous organism” in “Unicornios” by Aldo Miyashiro (“I’m dying Francis, but I’m not dying alone, I’ll take down everyone who was a son of a bitch with me.” , page 74) and the repeated references to decomposition in “Sudario” by Roberto Yeras (“Tomorrow I’ll be rotting. Slowly. The worms. My useless skin. One farewell.” , page 67).

Another important topic Subero discusses is the use of photography to communicate concepts related to the AIDS/HIV crisis in Africa. Specifically he analyzes the Western media stereotypes of Africa promoted by photography, the use of humanistic representations to convey suffering, and “local representation through pluralist photography”. Bellow is one of the pictures he uses as an example when discussing African pluralist photography.

Eric Gottesman, photo directed by Tenanesh Kifyalew, If I Had My Own House, inkjet print, 2004


I chose this source because of its enormous amount of content and its interesting artistic approaches to analyzing cultural attitudes towards AIDS. It is especially useful because it has information on the cultural reactions of Latin America, which is something the rest of my sources do not go into to detail about. It also complements the previous information on African culture, found in the documentary “Miss HIV: Overcoming AIDS in Africa” and the article “A Muted Response to AIDS”. The source is credible since it is published by Ashgate Publishing, a respected company in the U.K., and is written by Gustavo Subero, who is a researcher in Queer Studies, Visual Studies and Film at the University of Edinburgh.

HIV Prevalence for Adult Populations

“AIDSinfo.” UNAIDS, Accessed 19 Oct. 2017.

Screenshot of the adult HIV prevalence rate by country map for 2014 (

The interactive webpage contains a variety of statistical data related to the AIDS/HIV, including contributing factors and heavily affected demographic groups. I specifically utilized the interactive map which displayed the HIV prevalence rates in adults by country in order to understand the magnitude of the AIDS crisis in each country and region. I also used the map to analyze the data presented in my sixth source, the data on “Facilities with HIV Testing and Counselling” by the WHO. By setting the map to display data for the year 2014, I was able to interpret the correlation between the HIV rates and the facility availability for each country (further analysis provided on the annotated bibliography bellow).

The map is very simple to use. On the bottom right, a legend is displayed, showing the percentage range of HIV rates each color filling indicates. Pink indicates less than 0.3 %, light red indicates 0.3 – 0.6 %, dark red indicates 0.6 – 1.7 %, and burgundy indicates over 1.7 %. Additionally, grey indicates that there was no data for that country that year. The average rate and margin of error for each country can be shown by hovering over the specific country or by searching its name using the search box in the top right. The demographic of the population being used can be changed with the drop-down menu on the top left. The available selections are adults, male adults, female adults, young men, and young women.

The source is credible since it is based on data collected by specialists working for the international organization UNAIDS. The source isn’t entirely reliable and unbiased since many countries lack any data and certain countries only have data for certain years. For example the site provides estimates for the U.S.A. only between 2008 and 2014.

Facilities with HIV Testing and Counselling

“WHO | Facilities with HIV Testing and Counselling.” WHO, Accessed 19 Oct. 2017.

The webpage contains a map and a data table of “the availability of HIV testing and counselling services in health facilities in 2014” of “115 low-and- middle-income countries”. The map features a legend which states that the color countries are filled in with indicates the total number of testing and counselling facilities. Yellow indicates 1-100, orange indicates 101-300, red indicates 301-1000, and burgundy indicates over 1000. Additionally, white indicates no data and grey indicates that the reports are “not applicable”. The map shows that many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Southern America, and Eastern Asia have over 1000 facilities. By comparing the data with the populations of each nation and the data from the UNAIDS statistics on adults living with HIV, a correlation between them can be observed. A logical conclusion would be that most countries that have a major AIDS crisis are attempting to assist their populations through public health programs.

Even though there is an expected low count of facilities in countries with small populations such as Guyana (60) or Swaziland (287), certain countries present discrepancies in the numbers. The Central African Republic had a mere 73 facilities even though in 2014 UNAIDS reported that the nation had about 4.2% of its adult population living with HIV, one of the highest rates in the world. It also had a population of over 4.5 million, larger than many nations that had more facilities. Similarly, South Sudan, a nation with a population of over 11.5 million and an HIV prevalence rate of about 2.8% in 2014, reported only 143 facilities. Mali, a nation of over 16.9 million and an HIV prevalence rate of about 0.5% in 2014, reported only 10 facilities. That means that each facility in 2014 would have to service over 84,500 people. Quite a few of these cases appear in Africa, and this might be due to the stigma certain African cultures experience with the topic of AIDS mentioned in the documentary “Miss HIV: Overcoming AIDS in Africa” and the article “A Muted Response to AIDS”. It would be worth investigating the policies and laws of the nations that follow this pattern, along with their traditions surrounding patriarchy, women’s rights, and marriage.

This source is useful because it shows the extent to which each country is trying to deal with the AIDS crisis through the healthcare system. By comparing this data with the data for HIV prevalence by UNAIDS, patterns of minimal response can be noticed and further investigated. The source is credible because it is data collected by the World Health Organization. There might be some bias or error in the data because the number of facilities were submitted rather than recorded directly. Certain areas might have reported fewer or more facilities than there actually were due to lack in communication or an attempt to push a narrative. Additionally, many nations in critical areas have no data reported.



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