GAY MEN'S SEXUAL SUBJECTIVITIES IN THE AGE OF HIV/AIDS: A POSTSTRUCTURAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS OF ACTIVISTS' EXPERIENCES IN NOVA SCOTIA
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HIV/AIDS has been a part of the lives of gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) for over 30 years. Despite improvements in treatment, access to education, and targeted efforts by public health and AIDS Service Organizations (ASOs), gay men continue to have the highest rates of HIV transmission and the most people living with the disease in Canada compared to other populations (PHAC, 2011). Through a Foucauldian conceptual framework and employing a qualitative methodology of post-structural discourse analysis this thesis examines how the social, cultural and political landscape of Nova Scotia and institutions, such as public health, contribute to the way we, as gay men know and understand ourselves in the modern age of HIV. To investigate these issues, I interviewed 17 HIV/AIDS activists in Nova Scotia and discussed various aspects of HIV/AIDS, including the history of the movement, the effects of health promotion policies and programs, the role of activism, the meaning of barebacking, the influence of social and political climates, and the impact these issues have on what it means to be a gay man in this province. These topics were covered to answer the primary research topic: How HIV discourse in Nova Scotia is set within the discursive field of gay men's sexual subjectivities. The findings of this study show that health promotion needs to bring a critical perspective to HIV-prevention efforts. With the intent to further guide health promotion efforts, this study contributes to our understanding of how HIV prevention programs and policies become part of the sexual subjectivities of gay men and, in turn, part of their sexual experience.