Queen's University

30th anniversary of HIV/AIDS

2011-06-06

The 30th anniversary of the first reported case of HIV/AIDS is June 5. Global Development Studies professor Marc Epprecht can talk about how HIV/AIDS has turned into a crisis in Africa over the past three decades.

“Some African countries refuse to acknowledge there is any such thing as homosexual Africans and for years that denial has created a dangerous blind spot when it comes to fighting the AIDS epidemic. Now people are starting to wake up to the blind spot so things are starting to change for the better,” says Dr. Epprecht, who lived in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Lesotho for eight years.

Dr. Epprecht is the author of the Hungochani (the word for homosexuality in the Shona language of Zimbabwe), which won the Canadian Association of African Studies Award for the best book of 2004-05, and Heterosexual Africa? which examines how stereotypes about so-called African sexuality found their way into HIV/AIDS research in the 1980s and 90s.

On June 5, 1981, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that a rare pneumonia struck five gay men in Los Angeles, a first account of an infection tied to a disease later to be known as HIV/AIDS.

To arrange an interview, please contact communication officers Michael Onesi at 613.533.6000 ext. 77513 or michael.onesi@queensu.ca or Christina Archibald at 613-533-2877 or Christina.Archibald@queensu.ca at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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