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University of Toronto Scarborough

ANTC68 WINTER 2013 Week #8: Invisible Women – Class, Gender and HIV by Farmer 1999B  AIDS was first recognized as a clinical syndrome in 1981 summer  Physicians in California and New York noted clusters of unusual infections and cancers in their patients, almost all were young gay men – called GRIDS  People impacted by AIDS – injection drug users, among hemophiliacs, and some of their sexual partners, poor men and women  Intensity of public awareness and fear of AIDS has led to many myths and misunderstandings  At first, the rugged vagina was seen as unable to be susceptible to AIDS unlike the vulnerable anus – moralistic reasons as to not practice anal intercourse  AIDS was soon the number one killer of heterosexual women yet the voice of women with AIDS was absent from scientific and popular commentary  Majority of women with AIDS had been robbed of their voice long before HIV appeared to further complicate their lives, they have elitism, racism and sexism  3 case studies: Darlene – an African American women in Harlem, Guylene is the daughter of poor peasants in rural Haiti, Lata was living in a rural Indian village when she was sold into prostitution in Mumbai Darlene  Darlene Johnson was born in Central Harlem – chronically homeless, broken family, intimate partner violence faced by her mother  Teenage marriage and violence exacerbated by heroin use, intimate partner violence  Her stepfather and brother died of AIDS, she tested positive too  She had no formal supports, her children began to misbehave, she placed her children in foster care because she couldn’t provide for them  She gave into crack completely and lived on the streets Guylene  Born in Haiti’s infertile Central Plateau  Family of poor farmers  A family acquaintance, an older man asked Guylen’s father for her hand in plasaj, a potentially stable form of union widespread in rural Haiti, she gave birth to two children through this union  She left that relationship after a few years, met another man, and actually got married and was pregnant once again  1987, three unhappy occurrence happened in quick success o Neighbor was shot and killed o Her first son died o Osner, her second husband became quite ill and died from AIDS  Guylene began to shown signs of AIDS as well  She had yet another child, but he grew up without aids because of prophylactic drugs Lata  India,  She grew up in a house where her mother did most of the domestic work and was beaten by her father  She was never permitted to attend school  She was sold into prostitution under the guise of dishwasher work  She was indebted to the brothel and worked as a prostitute  She volunteers as an AID worker and has been working as a prostitution for over 15 years Sex, Drugs and Structural Violence  Access to care and services has traditionally been marginal for women who are of color, in poverty or with AIDS ANTC68 WINTER 2013  AIDS is the leading cause of death among African American women of ages 25-44  Decisions women made were linked to their impoverishment and their subordinate status of women  Women were born into poverty – poverty trap  Sex work, injection drug use put these women at risk  Their sickness is a result of structural violence – not cultural or individual fault but rather historically and often economic drives processes and forces conspire to constrain individual agency
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