The priest's soldiers: HIV therapies, health identities, and forced encampment in northern Uganda

Med Anthropol. 2013;32(3):227-46. doi: 10.1080/01459740.2012.709891.


In this article, I analyze how antiretroviral therapy and associated HIV support programs engendered HIV-based health identities in displacement camps in conflict-affected northern Uganda. Drawing on multisited ethnographic fieldwork I conducted between 2006 and 2009, I argue that these health identities were intimately tied to the congested physical and social conditions of the displacement camp. I argue, too, that the interactions between therapeutic practices and biosociality, along with the social observation and labeling of people with HIV/AIDS, produced new health identities. Furthermore, the labels applied to people with HIV-and adopted by them-reflected a local repertoire of meanings associating HIV/AIDS with militarism, Christian missions, camp life, and humanitarianism: thus people living with HIV/AIDS were labeled 'the priest's soldiers.'

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Altruism
  • Anthropology, Medical
  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Refugees* / psychology
  • Religious Missions*
  • Social Stigma*
  • Uganda


  • Antirheumatic Agents