Date of Award

1-1-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Human Communications

First Advisor

Christina R. Foust, Ph.D.

Keywords

Biopolitics, Gay and Bisexual Men, HIV and AIDS, Rhetorical Criticism, Stigma, True Blood

Abstract

Since 1981, roughly 35 million people have died from the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), the end stages of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), and an estimated 39 million are living with HIV today. While various factors such as poverty, lack of education, and poor access to treatment and healthcare compound the epidemic across the world, the endemic in the industrialized west faces specific communication-based challenges to slowing the spread of HIV. Now classified as a "chronic manageable condition", an HIV diagnosis is no longer the death sentence of the early outbreak in the 1980's. A major factor in the continuing endemic of HIV in the United States is stigma surrounding the HIV virus, modes of transmission (anal sex and injection drug use), and a pervasive belief that HIV and AIDS remains a gay white man's disease despite increasing the increasing burdens HIV holds on communities of color where the virus does not discriminate by sexuality.

While much Communication scholarship has explored the reasons why people do not talk about HIV, talk about it in specific ways, feel stigmatized because of HIV, and do or do not disclose their HIV status--among other topics--very little research has been done to examine the rhetorical nature of HIV stigma as it connects with stigmatization of gay and bisexual men's sexuality. This project argues that in order to understand the reasons why HIV remains a medical problem for gay and bisexual men because of a complex network of reasons, a complex rhetorical understanding of the contextual mosaic of HIV and stigma must be explored.

Using rhetorical methods of governmental analysis, viral/biocriticism, and mythic criticism this project proposes a new perspective on rhetorical criticism as a mosaic approach. The project explores: the Federal discourses by President Obama and prevention campaigns created by the CDC; perspectives of HIV Neutrality as proposed by social media campaign organization The Stigma Project in covnersation with blogger Renato Barruco's proposed HIV status continuum as a form of animatic hierarchy of HIV risk; and the final two seasons of HBO's popular television show True Blood's use of Hepatitis-V through AIDS-as-allegory.

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Provenance

Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Brendan Geoffrey Aaron Hughes

File size

236 p.

File format

application/pdf

Language

en

Discipline

Rhetoric, LGBTQ Studies

Included in

Communication Commons

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