Africa and HIV/AIDS: From Global Media Representations to Intellectual Property Considerations
As a humanitarian crisis, the HIV/AIDS epidemic has received much attention in global media; within an African context, particular focus has been on placed on education and treatment.
Drawing on cultural studies and reception analyses, we will first address the complex ways that AIDS in Africa is represented in global media. Particular attention will be placed on why, despite the anti-stigma campaigns waged in Africa, global media tend to circulate images and stories of Africans dying of AIDS, rather than living with it. While we believe that the intent of such representation is to dramatize the devastating impact of the pandemic, it also reinforces the traditional stereotypes of African helplessness and dependence.
Furthermore, less attention has been paid to the generally less dramatic “story” about the legal debates related to intellectual property protection vs. the rights of infected peoples in Africa. Accordingly, we will additionally examine the debate surrounding intellectual property rights in relation to medication, patents and treatment options. Specifically, attention will be placed on the prospects and possibilities offered by new and alternate constructions of intellectual property rights within the context of international pandemics.
Keywords: Global Media, Intellectual Property, Africa
Associate Professor, Communication Studies Department, Plymouth State University
Angel Nebot Alonso
Ph.D. Candidate, Departamento de Derecho Constitucional, Universidad Complutense de Madrid