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Nuri's testimony: HIV/AIDS in Indonesia and bare knowledge



As an epidemic that has emerged since the 1980s, still has no cure, and may bear no symptoms, HIV/AIDS is powerfully linked to questions of knowledge. In this article, I explore intersections of HIV/AIDS and knowledge by drawing from ethnographic and activist work with an HIV/AIDS nonprofit organization in Indonesia that focuses on gay men and warias (roughly, male transvestites). In particular, I look at testimony, a form of knowledge production differing from confession in that it emphasizes form over content. Examining testimony with regard to persons living with AIDS, I show how it produces a “bare” or “asymptomatic” knowledge that may cast light on broader dynamics of epistemology, selfhood, and belonging. [HIV/AIDS, Indonesia, gay men, transgenderism, knowledge, emotion, nonprofit organizations]

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