‘Getting to Zero’: The Role of Post-AIDS Imaginaries in Scottish HIV Health Promotion
This project seeks to understand how ‘end of AIDS’ public health strategies have become integrated and/or contested in the Scottish context. Drawing from recent research on biomedical strategies to ‘end AIDS’ in the Global North, and my doctoral research about the visual media conventions of ‘post-AIDS’ health promotion, this project will explore how and why ‘post-AIDS’ conventions are adapted in Scotland. It will ask whether critical conversations about ‘ending HIV’ can contribute to HIV literacy strategies, and if/how ‘post-AIDS imaginaries’ might help to develop new intervention strategies to ‘end’ new HIV transmissions.
Drawing from queer cultural analysis, critical health and STS scholarship, including theories about technological determinism, situating ‘pleasure’ in health, and configuring new visual methods for capturing ‘futures’ in healthcare and prevention, this scoping project will analyse visual health materials since 2012 (i.e. the emergence of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis) created by health promoters in Glasgow and Edinburgh, including outreach workers at HIV Scotland, Waverley Care and THT Scotland. It will use textual and visual analysis of pamphlets, blog posts, social media campaigns, and related historical ephemera in order to understand if/how Scottish HIV charities contribute to post-AIDS health promotion and if/how these services might integrate critical reflections on post-AIDS futures to improve outreach services.
This work adds to scholarly discussion about the biopolitics of HIV intervention since the emergence of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in the 2010s. It is significant for its interdisciplinary methodological approaches, bringing together visual analysis of health campaigns since the 2010s – i.e. the emergence of the UNAIDS ‘ending AIDS’ political vision and the UK’s national strategy to reduce HIV transmissions by 2030 – and sociological analysis of the function of ‘speculative inquiry’ in creating new policy and intervention strategies for tackling HIV and STI transmission. As the first stage in a larger cultural history project, this project will examine promotional materials held by HIV charities in Glasgow and Edinburgh and archival materials from the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Archives and the Lothian Health Services Archive.
Anticipated Outputs: Following the collection and analysis of health promotion materials, I will co-host (with Garry McLaughlin) two creative workshops – one in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh – where researchers, service providers and community members can come together to discuss the ‘futures’ of HIV health promotion. After the conclusion of this project, I will write a research publication to be submitted to an academic journal. This will lead to further work on the history of sexual health promotion in the UK.