ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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In Spite of Stigma

Birth in the Age of AIDS: Women, Reproduction and HIV/AIDS in India by Cecilia Van Hollen (California: Stanford University Press), 2013; pp 288, $24.95.

Cecilia Van Hollen’s book, Birth in the Age of AIDS: Women, Reproduction and HIV/AIDS in India, is a significant contribution to the literature that explores intersections between reproductive health, societal attitudes and public policy. The book studies the prevention of parent to child transmission (PPTCT) component of the HIV/AIDS programme.

In 1986, India’s first HIV/AIDS case was detected in Chennai. But it took over a decade for policymakers (and the society as well) to come to terms with the fact that India needs a coordinated response against this threat. This study offers ethnographies of those living with HIV and affected by the very policy that aims to prevent transmission from parents to the unborn.nbsp;Van Hollen’s work describes ways in which women navigate social and cultural impediments to seek care for themselves and the unborn. Their responses have similarities with other situations where challenges to the structures of patriarchy have taken the form of “accommodating protest.”

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