Identity Factory: HIV/AIDS and the Figure of Its Sufferer in Early Independent Ukraine

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Viktoriya Zhukova


The article provides an analysis of state discourses on HIV/AIDS and the figure of its sufferer in Ukraine during the early years of the state independence. It examines various analytical categories i.e. race, age, sexuality, drug use, space, etc. involved in the discursive formation of the figure of HIV/AIDS sufferer. In the article, it is not my intention to deny the importance of personal responsibility in prevention of HIV-spread; nor do I intend to say that political-economic and social hardships are the sole factors facilitating the epidemic. I argue, however, that shifting the vector of analysis from power inequalities as perpetuating HIV/AIDS proliferation towards the pathologization of certain categories has served to implicitly justify the state’s inefficient action to prevent the HIV-spread. A biomedical approach to the epidemic has produced clusters of categories which reinforced boundaries between the “general population” and “risk groups.” This way state discourses temporarily “defended society” from HIV/AIDS, instead of dealing with socio-economic, political and structural inequalities to prevent or slow down the epidemic’s spread.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, discourses, body, space, Ukraine.

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