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Goldsmiths - University of London

How the sexual matters in HIV care: a case study of long-term survivors of the epidemic

Pacho, Agata. 2018. How the sexual matters in HIV care: a case study of long-term survivors of the epidemic. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

Throughout the HIV/AIDS epidemic, engaging with the sexual desires and practices of gay men has been central to advancing health and medical responses to the epidemic. In this thesis, I investigate how sexuality, understood as embedded in specific political, social and historical discourses and practices of the epidemic, features in HIV medical care today. With the introduction of antiretroviral drug treatments, HIV care tends to be assessed in relation to the diagnostic benchmark of HIV viral suppression. In contrast to this approach, I draw attention to elements of care that occur outside or on the margins of what is required by biomedical treatment regimens. I do so by drawing on ethnographic observations and semi-structured in-depth interviews conducted with patients and healthcare professionals in a London outpatient HIV specialist clinic. My case study reveals the ways in which camp culture, in particular camp humour and celebration of gay sexuality, forge novel alliances between patients and healthcare professionals. These features are argued as directly pertinent to the specialist orientation of clinical care and thus enable me to draw out some of the implications of what is proposed by the UK health authority to shift HIV treatment into the setting of general medical practice.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


HIV/AIDS epidemic, HIV care, camp, doctor-patient relationship, long-term survivors

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



30 September 2018

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

12 Oct 2018 11:02

Last Modified:

16 Nov 2018 07:39


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