Researcher ORCID Identifier


Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis


Best Senior Thesis in Gender Studies

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Tamara Venit-Shelton

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Since the early 1990s, antiretroviral medications have made it possible to reduce viral loads of HIV/AIDS to the point of undetectability to standard blood tests. Individuals living with such low quantities of the virus have reframed our social understanding of the HIV-AIDS epidemic by redefining HIV infection as a chronic, manageable disease and challenging current public health definitions of safe-sex activity for homosexual men. HIV infection is no longer a death sentence, but it remains a life sentence requiring constant medication adherence and treatment, major changes to lifestyle habits, and a modification in sexual performances. This thesis sheds new light on the understudied experiences of los indetectables, HIV-positive Latinos with an undetectable viral load. In what ways has the possibility of undetectability transformed the lives and intersecting identities of los indetectables? Through archival research and oral history and ethnographic research with HIV-positive Latinos affiliated with BienEstar, an L.A-based organization, this thesis argues that HIV-AIDS treatment options continue to implement homophobic approaches to care.

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