Drawing on the theoretical frameworks of antiblackness and intersectionality and the concept of viral visibility, this essay attends to the considerable archive of research about endemic Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) in sub-Saharan Africa accrued during the mid-20th century. This body of data was inexplicably overlooked in Western research into KS during the first decade of the AIDS epidemic, during which period European and Mediterranean KS cases were most often cited as precedents despite the volume of African data available. This paper returns to the research on KS conducted in Africa during the colonial and postcolonial period to consider visibility, racial erasure, and discourses of global epidemiology, suggesting that the dynamics of medical research on HIV/AIDS have proceeded according to a tacit paradigm of antiblackness manifest in multiple exclusions of Africa from global health agendas—most recently the exclusion of the region from antiretroviral (ARV) drug therapy during the first decades of the treatment’s availability. During that decade KS all but disappeared among people with access to ARV therapy while KS became even more prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, escalating along with HIV.
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Singh, P., Cartwright, L. & Visperas, C. African Kaposi’s Sarcoma in the Light of Global AIDS: Antiblackness and Viral Visibility. Bioethical Inquiry 11, 467–478 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11673-014-9577-5
- Kaposi’s sarcoma
- Viral visibility
- Viral intersectionality