Wounded bodies and illness narratives: a history of attitudes and behaviour towards HIV-positive homosexual men in New Zealand between 1983 and 1997
Ware, C. A. (2011). Wounded bodies and illness narratives: a history of attitudes and behaviour towards HIV-positive homosexual men in New Zealand between 1983 and 1997 (Thesis, Master of Arts (MA)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/6587
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/6587
New Zealand had its first case of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in 1983, two years after the disease was identified in America. The HIV/AIDS epidemic devastated a society that was unprepared for the social and medical implications of a deadly disease, and many New Zealanders were thrust into a state of moral panic. This thesis contributes to New Zealand’s social and cultural histories of health and illness by examining individual homosexual men’s experiences living with HIV/AIDS. It examines the previously untold individual experiences of homosexual men with HIV/AIDS as discussed in their life narrative interviews. The thesis considers that while these men’s experiences are individually subjective, dominant thematic threads emerge across the narratives which indicate patterns in gay men’s experiences with HIV/AIDS in New Zealand. Homosexual men with HIV/AIDS faced the double stigma of being gay in a society that condemned homosexuality, and living with a previously terminal disease. Images of homosexual men as ‘guilty’, and ‘deviant’ were spread through public channels including newspaper and magazine articles, which fuelled pre-existing anti-homosexual feelings. By drawing on the men’s individual narratives, the thesis describes and analyses the negotiations that occur between their individual and collective memories. The participants used their individual narratives both to obtain agency, and also to dispel derogatory archetypes that have been constructed about homosexual men. These men’s individual narratives have not previously been recorded, and are valuable to New Zealand history because they offer first-hand accounts of the patients’ experiences living with HIV/AIDS in New Zealand.
University of Waikato
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- Masters Degree Theses