chapter  11
18 Pages

HIV/STI Social Construction, Knowledge Production: How African American College Students Are Taught to Think About HIV/AIDS


More than 30 years ago, a Los Angeles doctor reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) a strange “sickness” among fi ve gay men. Since then, what has come to be known as the Acquired Immunodefi - ciency Syndrome, or AIDS 1 , has completely changed the world in which we live. AIDS has challenged notions of sickness and health because often those infected with AIDS can be physically healthy but technically sick. AIDS has also given rise to a number of conspiracy theories regarding its origins and efforts to treat and prevent it and have cost economies around the world many billions of dollars. Faced with the possibility of death from AIDS, members of marginalized groups and communities in the United States (US) ranging from the gay men of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT-UP) (Gamson, 1991; Stoller, 1998) to the sex workers of the California Prostitutes Education Project (later renamed California Prevention Education Project) (Stoller, 1998) mobilized to bring awareness of AIDS, its medical treatment, and services.