The basic biology of the virus, HIV, and the disease it causes, AIDS. The economic, social and political factors that determine who gets sick and who remains healthy, who lives and who dies. The progress of scientific research and medical treatments. The reasons for hope; the reasons for fear. (To get a glimpse of some of the materials that students have been posting on the course forums, go to @AIDSFAH or #AIDSFAH.)
Unit 1 - Beginnings: A New Disease Surprises The World
HIV Basics, Stigma, Three Books, Chimps to Humans, Some Memories
Unit 2 - Transmission, Gender, Politics
Transmission, Gender, More Memories
Unit 3 - Testing (and Some Politics and Memories)
The Critical Issue--Testing
Unit 4 - Living With HIV
Not a death sentence, but not easy; More Politics, Sexual Orientation
This material, while quite dated, provides an excellent introduction to HIV-AIDS pandemic from its recognition in the 1980s up to around 2014. The discussion is succinct, going well and beyond the immediate biomedical, clinical and public health considerations. The whole-rounded approach to the topic firmly establishes the wrath of the pandemic being "modified" or made malleable by the societies it penetrated. The suggested materials for further viewing either adds humanity to the topic or provides an expansive historical view to the failures and successes of our collective response to the ongoing scourge.
I am actually sad to be finishing this course. It was a excellent overview of a topic I know about from a medical/pharmacological perspective but almost nothing from a social and cultural perspective. The professor speaks very frankly and clearly about the topic and interviews many people who are HIV+ themselves and/or work with these patients. Unfortunately, this course is from 2014-15, which is eons with respect to HIV research. I would love to see an update to this course, and I'd love to see their take on COVID and the many parallels between the two pandemics.