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Date of Award
College of Arts & Sciences
This study analyzes the salient representations of HIV/AIDS in cinematic and television movies, and particularly the patterns of characters afflicted with it. I separate the representations by sex, and compare the representations with respect toward multiple social factors, including the medical technology available before and after 1996, when the first effective treatments (HAART) emerged.
Before HAART the men with AIDS in film are almost exclusively MSM’s, and the most common themes are coming out of the closet, struggling against a homophobic society, and facing the fear of contagion. Women pre-HAART are shown as vulnerable and delicate white women who are victimized by AIDS, though a couple films veer away from that to show who is an ‘innocent’ woman and who is a ‘guilty’ woman. Post-HAART, men are represented with a variation of sexual histories, characterized by selfishness and manipulative behavior, and there is an increased introspection into the ways that MSM’s with AIDS view themselves. There is an increase post-HAART in African-American characters (men and women) with HIV, and themes that emerge are marginality, otherness, poor decisions, and stereotypes.
Advisor/Committee Chair's Department
Second Advisor's Department
Film & Media Studies
Third Advisor's Department
Kline, Brian N., "The Representation of HIV and AIDS in American Film, 1985-2008" (2013). Undergraduate Theses—Restricted. 35.