Coffee Hour with Brian King: "Eat Healthy and Nutritious Food": Political Ecologies of Managed HIV

Friday, September 16, 2016 - 3:30pm
Refreshments are offered in 319 Walker Building at 3:30 p.m. The lecture begins in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.

hiv-aids, South African History Online
Photo from South African History Online,

About the talk

The HIV/AIDS epidemic has had significant impacts for social and ecological systems throughout the Global South. The epidemic has taken on a new course in recent years with improved access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) that has the potential to extend the lives of individuals for years or even decades, which has made HIV management similar to other chronic health conditions. This transition presents new relationships between citizens and the state, and the political ecologies of health for individuals and communities. This talk highlights some of these patterns in rural South Africa, drawing from a long-term research project addressing how livelihood patterns and environmental systems are responding to disease. While initiating care for HIV positive patients, clinics and other health care agencies advocate particular behavioral changes that challenge preexisting patterns of human-environment interactions, particularly in the realm of nutrition and food access. The consequence is that the coupling of drug provision with public health interventions confront cultural, gendered, and ecological systems in the era of managed HIV.

About the speaker

Brian KingBrian King is an associate professor in the Department of Geography at Penn State. His research interests concentrate upon the impacts of conservation and development within southern Africa, social and environmental justice, and health–environment interactions. The majority of this research has been conducted in South Africa, and he has completed long-term and intensive research to analyze how this ongoing history is shaping demographic patterns, livelihood decision-making, and the institutions of environmental governance in the post-apartheid era. More recently, this work has been extended into other thematic and geographic areas, with two separate projects examining how environmental variabilities shape livelihood responses in the Okavango Delta of Botswana, and how livelihood systems in South Africa are being transformed by HIV/AIDS. During academic year 2015–16, King was a visiting associate professor in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, and the African Climate and Development Initiative, at the University of Cape Town.

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