Last Served? Gendering the HIV Pandemic

Last Served? Gendering the HIV Pandemic

Last Served? Gendering the HIV Pandemic

Last Served? Gendering the HIV Pandemic


Following a decade in which the focus on HIV and AIDS has been on specific social groups, a shift in professional perceptions has resulted in a change in the images of women and HIV/AIDS. "Last Served?" recognizes and analyzes the trend toward more openly acknowledging and planning for women in the pandemic. Rather than enumerating the effects on women of confused or conflicting policies and representation, the book details why and how this situation occurred.; The author suggests that new visibility of women cannot in itself quickly or easily change the underlying assumptions which made women simultaneously radiant figures of sexual purity, and a magnet for blame during the pandemic's first decade.; "Last Served?" makes clear how the different ways of posing and answering questions about women and HIV are grounded in already existing ways of thinking about gender, and how these underlying preconceptions sometimes create situations whereby attempts to address the practical needs of women often result in reinforcement, or introduction of new forms of male domination.; Combining detailed analysis with practical suggestions, "Last Served?" provides insights into the current debates about women and AIDS and suggests future directions for work to overcome discrimination, faulty planning and misrepresentation.


Contrary to the impression given by some early prevention efforts, aids is not an 'equal opportunities' disease, affecting everyone and all communities equally. Indeed, one of the most striking characteristics of the epidemic has been its capacity to reinforce existing social inequalities-of gender, of social status, of race, and of sexuality.

Last Served? examines these concerns in detail, focusing particularly on women's positioning in the epidemic-discursively as the subjects of epidemiology; economically in the international and domestic spheres; and politically as individuals and communities affected by patriarchy. It highlights the nature and complexity of women's vulnerability to infection, as well as the burden they carry as care givers and as educators.

Drawing on more than a decade's experience in aids activism and organising, and utilising the techniques offered by contemporary cultural analysis and theory, Cindy Patton offers a dramatically new appreciation of the ways in which women are responding to the challenge of aids in the developing as well as the developed world.

Peter Aggleton

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