Democracy, HIV/AIDS, and the Rise of the European Union

Saturday, January 4, 2020: 10:50 AM
Regent Room (New York Hilton)
Louie Dean Valencia-Garcia, Texas State University
In the 1980s, countries such as Spain and Portugal not only were young democracies, but they were countries which were particularly unique being that they were often shifting from fascistic institutions to democratic and socialistic ones. Simultaneously, they faced new challenges in the midst of those transitions to democracy, such as the HIV/AIDS crisis, which required them to think more collaboratively as new members of the European Economic Community. Bureaucrats, scientists, elected officials, and activists found themselves both promoting HIV/AIDS awareness in these new democracies whilst trying to quell popular fears of queer people and immigrants.

Using archival documentation from the European Commission Library, the Madrid Municipal Archive, and the World Health Organization Archives, this paper argues that despite narratives that place the origin of the European Union as solely economic, it is also necessary to consider the role of the HIV/AIDS crisis as part of the formation of the E.U. and many of those young democracies. Asking “how does collaboration cure institutions of fascism?”, through an analysis of those archives, this paper uses network analysis to demonstrate the dialectics between local organizers and growing European Community of researchers, doctors, and activists connected by new technologies and a need for information.