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Changes and Choices: An Analysis of Uganda’s AIDS Response


Uganda’s AIDS epidemic was amplified by political breakdown and economic collapse during the 1970s and 1980s. Since then, however, Uganda has attracted international attention for producing the most dramatic decline in HIV rates in East Africa. Largely due to the government’s openness in addressing AIDS, Uganda’s response to the epidemic has been characterized by diverse treatment and prevention efforts that reflect the country’s historical, political, economic, and sociocultural circumstances. The scaling-up of antiretroviral therapy, for example, relies on social cohesion within a community to improve and protect the well-being of its members, while Christian prevention initiatives that focus on abstinence and fidelity tend to emphasize individual responsibility and autonomy. Because these two responses to AIDS draw on conceptualizations of the self and person that differ markedly, they are able to impact a greater number of people in Uganda’s rapidly changing society.

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