“PrEP Makes My Relationship Even More Normal:” The Discursive Production of Hope in the Context of HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Among Young Adults with Partners Living with HIV Infection
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This analysis is based on a series of in-depth interviews conducted in Northern California, United States, during a pilot study focusing on young peoples’ perspectives on sexual health, particularly as it relates to HIV. Among our sample, we interviewed HIV seronegative young men and women who were romantically involved with partners who were living with HIV (n = 9). In this analysis, we attend to the local and practical concerns of these participants and examine the ways in which they envisioned a new biomedical HIV prevention technology – PrEP – shaping their experience of serodiscordance. We explore the similarities and differences in the ways that young seronegative partners, both heterosexuals and gay, talk about their identity as a member of a serodiscordant couple. In particular, we foreground PrEP’s role in the production of hope as it emerged in the discourse of these youth. With PrEP – a highly effective HIV prevention strategy – some of the threatening meanings ascribed to the virus receded; in their place, language reflecting hope and optimism appeared. This phenomenon signals that PrEP, as part of a new wave of biomedical interventions, is shifting people’s relationship to HIV and, as a consequence, relationship dynamics and perceptions of serodiscordance are evolving.
KeywordsSerodiscordant Couple Biomedical Intervention Serodiscordant Relationship Graffito Artist Sexual Connection
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