After some hope from the mid-2000s onwards, when unprecedented resources were mobilized to provide life-saving treatment to the millions dying from HIV/AIDS in the global South, donors are reneging on their promises, bowing to the imperative of austerity of a self-inflicted economic crisis. Drawing on Galtung's typology of structural and cultural violence, this article examines how the rules and norms of global governance have shaped the context of policy responses to the pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa, and how these material struggles are intimately bound up with struggles over the frames through which the disease is portrayed and perceived by key policy actors and the public. First, we argue that the strikingly differential global distribution of the disease is, at least partially, attributable to the structural violence of Africa's encounter with neoliberal capitalism. Second, we focus on two dominant frames—behavioral and philanthrocapitalist—and examine how they contributed to a depoliticization of the AIDS crisis, negating the counter-framing work of transnational AIDS activism. The latter, which has done so much to unmask our shared responsibility for the unequal distribution of vulnerability and death, is critical to countering the threat the economic crisis poses to the global HIV/AIDS response.
- sub-Saharan Africa
- global health