Skip to main content

Sexuality, Biomedicine, and HIV

Since the appearance of a “mysterious new illness” among gay men in the U.S., HIV/AIDS has been closely associated with sexuality. This is true not only because a large percentage of HIV-transmission occurs via sexual contact, but also because of close associations between sexuality and morality and what “kinds” of people and practices are said to be more likely to spread HIV than others. In this course, we draw upon scholarship in the social sciences and humanities to examine the interplay between HIV/AIDs and sexuality, with an emphasis on the role of science and technology. How did associations between sexuality, disease and morality shape what was known about the spread of HIV early in the epidemic? How have ongoing efforts to know, treat and prevent HIV shaped sexual practices and intimacies, and vice versa? Together, will consider the complex interplay of HIV, sexuality and science across a diverse array of topics, including: the politics of HIV-risk categorization; HIV-stigma and discrimination; social movements and access to treatment; sexual practices and intimacies; and new frontiers in HIV-prevention, among others.