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Re-imagining HIV/AIDS: tracing evolving HIV/AIDS discourses from crisis to PrEP cinema

Curtis, Regis (2023) Re-imagining HIV/AIDS: tracing evolving HIV/AIDS discourses from crisis to PrEP cinema. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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As pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) was introduced to pharmacological markets in 2012, a resurgence of HIV/AIDS representation in cinema occurred, beginning with the release of Jean-Marc Vallée’s Dallas Buyers Club. Following its commercial and critical success, an increasing number of films and visual narratives depicting HIV/AIDS were and continue to be produced, their production based mainly in the anglophone world and France. These films’ engagement with HIV/AIDS calls into question both mainstream and gay-male communities’ relationship with HIV/AIDS, as shifting medical landscapes – the 1996 introduction of triple therapies which made HIV a manageable illness, the 2005 recommendation for broader usage of post-exposure prophylaxis, the 2012 introduction of PrEP, the 2016 birth of the Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) campaign, among other advances, mostly related to PrEP – have radically altered the ways in which gay male communities interact with and experience HIV/AIDS individually and community-wide. This paper aims to articulate the ways in which these medical, social, and community paradigm shifts manifest in contemporary HIV/AIDS visual narratives through the utilization of a historical framework which compares early HIV/AIDS visual narratives with contemporary ones. Among the films and visual narratives explored include Théo et Hugo dans le même bateau (Ducastel and Martineau 2016), 120 battements par minute (Campillo 2017), and Ein Virus kennt keine Moral (Praunheim 1987). These comparisons function to (1) explore constructions and treatment of monogamy and promiscuity within gay-male sexual networks, and (2) understand the influence of medical paradigms on the concept of Safer Sex and sexual risk. Together, these considerations offer a way to reassess HIV/AIDS genre cinema and elucidate the current milieu in which HIV/AIDS discourses are situated.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Curtis, Regisrac210@pitt.edurac210
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorHalle, Randallrhalle@pitt.edu0000-0002-7715-3895
Committee ChairHalle, Randallrhalle@pitt.edu0000-0002-7715-3895
Committee MemberKurash, Jaclynjaclynkurash@pitt.edu0000-0001-6002-3712
Committee MemberReeser, Toddreeser@pitt.edu0000-0002-5182-5470
Committee MemberKuzniar,
Date: 15 April 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 10 April 2023
Approval Date: 15 April 2023
Submission Date: 14 April 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 95
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: HIV/AIDS HIV AIDS Cinema Gay Queer PrEP Safer Sex Monogamy Promiscuity Discourse
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2023 18:28
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2023 18:28


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