Gender, Globalization, and HIV/AIDS Treatments



Abstract: In this investigative article, I explore how the HIV/AIDS pandemic has increasingly become gendered, whereby low-income women who, especially in the global south, are the population most at-risk of contraction and transmission, are simultaneously subjected to the stigmatization associated with the disease, and are least able to access treatment and care. I argue that women's preponderance in marginal locations as both voluntary migrants (i.e. for work and leisure), and involuntary ones (e.g. as refugees and compulsory labor in the sex industry, domestic work and sweatshops) that characterize neoliberal globalization has added to their vulnerability to HIV/AIDS. To illustrate how global corporations focused solely on profit generation subvert assurance of equitable access to treatment, I discuss the recently settled lawsuit filed by the pharmaceutical industry against the South African government, which attempted to block efforts to make affordable generic drugs available to an impoverished HIV/AIDS infected population of over 4.2 million, many of whom are increasingly women.