Engaging with HIV treatment and the social life of HIV care

When:8 Feb 2017, 4pm - 5pm
Venue:Room 221/223, Level 2, John Goodsell Building, UNSW Kensington
Who:Professor Tim Rhodes, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK
Tim Rhodes

This paper draws upon the qualitative interview accounts of people living with HIV in London who are also migrants. It focuses on how they have navigated access and adherence to HIV care in a context of heavy social constraints, including linked to their very fragile immigration/legal, employment and housing situations. We find that 'care beyond HIV' is considered vital to enabling HIV care engagement. Moreover, engagement in various forms of social support enabled through HIV care become critical to how participants organise their social lives day-to-day, especially in the absence of work. These twin themes lead us to explore the "social life of HIV care". Participant accounts also highlight the effects of 'care rationing' in an age of austerity on the forms of care provided and care engagements made possible. Crucially, the social care supports most valued by those living in very fragile situations, and arguably vital to enabling access and adherence to their HIV care, are under threat or being cut back. What might the effects of such care rationing be? To what extent can 'care beyond HIV' be delivered as part of an integrated approach to HIV care in situations of resource constraint? What might be the implications of HIV care becoming 're-medicalised' as social care services are trimmed back? Taken together, we can appreciate how biomedical care engagement is an accommodation in relation to vital matters in social life as well as how HIV care engagements shape the social lives that people pursue.

Tim Rhodes is Professor of Public Health Sociology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (UK), as well as Honorary Professor of the Sociology of Health at the University of New South Wales (Australia) and University College London (UK). He is engaged in qualitative research to explore narratives of care in relation to HIV, hepatitis C and harm reduction, especially among people who inject drugs, with current projects in Kenya, Senegal and the UK. He is Editor of the International Journal of Drug Policy.

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