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Australian Socio-Graphic AIDS Project (AGAP)

Australian Socio-Graphic AIDS Project (AGAP)

The Australian Socio-Graphic AIDS Project (AGAP) documents the unfolding of Australian HIV/AIDS prevention campaigns by the Commonwealth, state, and territory governments, as well as non-government agencies and community based organisations. The project focuses on the material culture of the epidemic. In tracing the trajectories of state, medical and social responses to the epidemic, the AGAP provides a critical socio-graphic analysis of contrasting representations of the health crisis. Public health campaign materials are ephemeral, thus the AGAP committed to the systematic compilation of materials for future reference and research in an area previously lacking in continuous documentation.

While the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is caused when the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) enters the blood stream and damages the immune system, the HIV/AIDS epidemic is not a discrete biomedical entity or phenomenon. It is also a cultural phenomenon in the sense that the syndrome is associated with social prejudices and moral beliefs about pathological bodies, including those of homosexuals, drug users, and sex workers—those who are perceived to be morally polluted, sexually aberrant and socially disreputable. In so far as this modern scourge is a biomedical fact, it is also a cultural production and social construction.

The AGAP traces the successive waves of official, media and public reactions using an analysis of the material cultures of the epidemic produced by Australian prevention campaigns. The project originated as a national database of over 5,000 items for the storage and preservation of a divisive and momentous episode in Australia’s recent social and public health history.

Research outcomes include a series of chapters, conference papers, journal articles and exhibitions. The collection of works was exhibited at the following events and venues:

  • The Sixth International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific, Melbourne, 2001
  • Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, 2002
  • HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis and Related Diseases (HHARD) Social Research Conference, Sydney, 2004
  • XV International AIDS Conference, Bangkok, 2004
  • Seventh International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific, Kobe, 2005
  • Red Ribbon Centre/UNAIDS Collaborating Centre, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2006
  • World AIDS Day, Macau, 2007

This project was developed in association with the following organisations: The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO), AIDS Council of New South Wales (ACON), AIDS Council of South Australia (ACSA), NSW Health, Queensland AIDS Council (QUAC), Queensland Health, Tasmanian AIDS Council, VIC Health, Victorian AIDS Council, Gay Men's Health Centre, and The Western Australia AIDS Council.

The Australian Socio-Graphic AIDS Project was supported by Australian Research Council's Discovery Projects funding scheme (DP0344814)