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Harris, Shana Lisa

Grant Type
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation
California, San Francisco, U. of
Status
Completed Grant
Approve Date
Project Title
Harris, Shana Lisa, U. of California, San Francisco, CA - To aid research on 'Out of Harm's Way: HIV, Human Rights, and the Practice of Harm Reduction in Argentina,' supervised by Dr. Judith C. Barker

SHANA HARRIS, then a student at University of California, San Francisco, California, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Out of Harm's Way: HIV, Human Rights, and the Practice of Harm Reduction in Argentina,' supervised by Dr. Judith C. Barker. Argentina has had one of the highest rates of drug use-related HIV/AIDS prevalence in Latin America since the mid-1990s. After witnessing the failure of the government's drug abstinence-based interventions in curbing the epidemic, local civil society organizations began promoting interventions based on the principles of harm reduction. This dissertation examines how the harm reduction model traveled to and spread within Argentina by ethnographically tracing how it has been taken up and put into practice over the last decade by civil society organizations in the cities of Buenos Aires and Rosario. It focuses on how harm reductionists address not only the physical harms associated with drug use, but also those harms created by punitive, prohibitionist policies and widespread discrimination. Specifically, Argentine harm reductionists utilize the notions of 'vulnerability' and 'exclusion' to facilitate drug users' access to health and social services and to promote and protect users' human and civil rights. Drawing on the country's history of human rights abuses and economic instability, harm reductionists work to advance the idea of drug users as 'right bearers' in order to hold the state accountable for users' health and welfare and to shift the subjectivity of users from 'delinquents' to 'citizens.'