2015 - Jonathan Banda, MA

Jonathan BandaTitle of Thesis:
BIOMEDICALIZING RISK: TECHNOLOGIES OF HIV PREVENTION AND THE MORAL IMPERATIVES OF BIOLOGICAL CITIZENSHIP

Summary of Research:
This thesis examines the history and social implications of the rapid self-test for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the United States. Via a discursive analysis of literature, product packaging, and marketing and public health rhetoric surrounding the test (brand name: OraQuick in-home HIV test), I identify several points of contention that have arisen with the varied, sometimes disparate interests of public health, federal regulators, and private corporations. I propose that while home HIV tests may improve health outcomes for some and appear to expand consumer rights, they are in fact the vanguard of a new form of self-testing that carries a moral urgency to protect one’s own body and to manage societal risk. This thesis concludes with a critical analysis of the prophylactic use of antiretrovirals for HIV, arguing that this practice represents a new relation of the body to risk, while potentially obscuring or normalizing structural conditions that contribute to vulnerability to infection

Committee Members:
Rebecca J. Hester, MA, PhD (Chair), Arlene Macdonald, PhD, Joan Nichols, PhD

Bio:
Jonathan joined our program fall 2012.  A native Texan, he earned a BA in Latin American Studies and a BS in International Economics from Texas Christian University.  He comes to the IMH from UC Berkeley where he worked as an analyst and education coordinator in the Office for the Protection of Human Subjects, which led to his interest in bioethics and medical humanities. Jonathan’s current interests include social medicine, health care ethics, and research ethics.
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