Cultural Perceptions of Antiretroviral Therapy in Native American Contexts

Shelby Crum Butler University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Elizabeth Pfeiffer Butler University
Prior to the discovery of antiretroviral therapies (ARVs) in the mid-1980’s, HIV/AIDS eradicated millions of people all around the globe. Using ARVs, amongst other technologies, scientists and healthcare officials contained the epidemic and minimized transmittance within populations. ARVs have several notable successes in global health, but some communities remain skeptical of ARVs and deny treatment. This cynicism persists in several minority contexts, but white Americans generally dismiss these ideas as ignorance. I construe how historical exploitation and medical malpractice in minority communities forged a paradox in which government-employed healthcare officials maltreated the patients seeking treatment forcing patients to refuse treatment and risk dying from a curable or even preventable disease. I analyze the socio-cultural environment leading up to and during the time of the HIV epidemic in the United States to interpret the subpar antiretroviral acceptance and adherence in Native American communities. I will analyze this phenomenon by drawing upon the notions of social constructions of reality in addition to the public understanding of science. Specifically, I will address how the availability and use of antiretroviral therapy impacted the history of Native Americans who suffer from HIV/AIDS. Using these frameworks, I contend that the social networks associated with ARVs play an inherently greater role in influencing Native American compliance with ARVs than the solidity of the technology itself.
Anthropology
Oral Presentation

When & Where

01:45 PM
Jordan Hall 238