“Assess your Risk”: Black Queer Futures in the Geographies of PrEP

Authors: Aaron Mallory*, University of Minnesota - Minneapolis
Topics: Geography and Urban Health, Gender, Ethnicity and Race
Keywords: Health, HIV/AIDS, Queer of Color, PrEP, Risk
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/9/2020
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Grand Ballroom 2, Sheraton, IM Pei Tower, Second Floor Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper examines how Atlanta-based Black queer communities negotiate HIV-related risks. Scholarship on HIV/AIDS and Black queer communities have pointed to how HIV-related risks are the result of social determinants of health (Dunn et al 2007), stigma (Beatty 2004), or a lack culturally significant behavioral intervention (Collins and Sapiano 2006). Much of this literature builds from contextual or compositional understandings of health where it is ether individual choices or environmental factors that disproportionately impact Black queer health outcomes (Shavers 2007). My paper considers how contextual or compositional understandings of health outcomes naturalize race, gender and risk given that HIV prevention is premised on changing sexual behavior. With lifesaving biomedical drugs like PrEP and PEP being made available, the expectation is that those who engage in risky sexual behavior must take these drugs for a lifetime. Using ethnographic research with a Black queer-led Atlanta HIV prevention organization, I argue that lifelong intervention strategies like PrEP create a lifetime of risk for Black gender and sexual minorities. Using Nguyen (2010) and Davis’ (2019) concept of triage, as a framework to understand how the association of health risks and outcomes differentiates bodies, my paper seeks to understand how the promotion of PrEP creates a triage of accesses for marginalized Black queer communities and naturalizes race and gender in medical knowledge production.

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