Date of Award


First Advisor

Jessica Robbins

Second Advisor

Anne O'Dwyer


The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the most deadly sexually transmitted disease threatening society today, and i n any part of the world where HIV is most rampant, there are people who have limited access to healthcare that could help them fight the disease and prevent them from infecting others. Since the early 2010s, groundbreaking research surrounding HIV prevention has reached new heights. The goal of this project was to holistically analyze the factors and sources that impede execution of and research on treatments for HIV, particularly in light of Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (prEP ), a new HIV prevention drug introduced in 2012. This drug is a giant leap forward after decades of hard work towards a variety of treatments and prevention strategies, yet, there are numerous political and societal factors that have kept this opportunity to protect people. Factors contributing to the US’s failure to protect, prevent and treat--including racism, transphobia, as well as international biases--are analyzed in light of steps that might be taken in the future to reduce the threat of HIV/AIDS to individuals and communities.

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