Sex, drugs and activism: negotiating biological citizenship and pharmaceutical prevention


  • Dr Ingrid Young

    University of Edinburgh

Project summary

We will explore the relationship between sexuality, activism and biological citizenship, and consider the implications of this complex relationship for the use of preventive pharmaceuticals using HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in the UK as a case study.

We will use creative ethnographic and digital research methods to map the relationship between sexual and biological citizenship by exploring access to and use of preventive drugs. We will consider how activism about and implementation of pharmaceutical prevention technologies shapes the relationship between communities and public and private health provision. We will identify the ways new forms of healthcare privatisation that are emerging in an age of austerity and self-management can exacerbate social inequalities. ‘Dynamic ethnographies’ of citizenship will be tested by looking at and working with community activists, health providers and community organisations during a transformative period of PrEP policy and provision in the UK.

Our findings will be used to consider the implications for other areas where sexuality, activism and pharmaceutical preventive medicine intersect, such as medical abortion and antibiotic prophylaxis for STIs.