Social Movements and HIV/AIDS in South Africa

  • Christopher J. Colvin
  • Steven Robins


There are few places where HIV and AIDS have not inspired fervent social and political controversies. Conflicts over the nature and meaning of the disease and the best ways to control its spread and care for its victims have been numerous, intense, persistent and diverse in their forms. As Paula Treichler (1999) put it, HIV has indeed been an ‘epidemic of signification’ as much as it has been a biological catastrophe for millions of people. This virus, though, has not only aroused multiple and competing meanings, symbols and discourses about death and disease in the contemporary world, but also inspired the creation of a vast global web of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community-based organisations (CBOs). It has catalysed new networks of communities, activists and academics and it has become the object of an entirely new global architecture of aid institutions and development policies aimed at controlling its spread and treating its victims. Many of these important social and political developments were made possible by the work of the numerous social movements, local and global, that have emerged in response to the epidemic.


Social Movement Social Entrepreneur South African Government South African National Civics Organisation Urban Township 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher J. Colvin
    • 1
  • Steven Robins
    • 2
  1. 1.Health and Human Rights at the School of Public Health and Family Medicine at the University of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Sociology and Social AnthropologyStellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa

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