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The Securitization of HIV/AIDS
Benetton, AIDS, February 1992. David Kirby, Ohio State University Memorial hospital (Original photograph by Therese Frare), May 1990.

The Photographic Visualization of HIV/AIDS 1981-2000

Diseases are most often pictured through portraits of the suffering patient, which become images of the disease anthropomorphized. These portraits help establish the limits that define the boundaries of the disease, marking a visual space in which understandings of the normal/pathological, self/other, us/them are established.

Focusing on bodies and faces, the photographic representation of HIV/AIDS began with portraits of ravaged, debilitated, and hopeless victims, but has moved over time to people living with HIV rather than dying from AIDS. Nonetheless, picturing the epidemic as it spreads globally has involved phobic images that recall the early days of the disease’s visualization.

For an extended discussion of these issues, read Section 4 of the report.

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