Date & Time

Wed, 10/05/2011



As South Africa struggles with its ongoing HIV/AIDS public health calamity, historic reverberations of racial injustice, government interference, and distrust of science are hindering efforts to treat the disease and prevent the spread of infection.

The second “Exploring Ethics” forum in the “Henrietta Lacks Series” focused on controversies at the heart of the world’s largest HIV epidemic. Led by Jamie Gates of Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU), the October 5 discussion of “The Politics of Race, Gender, and HIV/AIDS in South Africa” delved into many of the core ethical issues presented in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Gates, a professor of cultural anthropology and African studies and director of PLNU’s Center for Justice and Reconciliation, grew up in South Africa, and he spoke movingly of the human dimensions of what he called “a crisis of pandemic proportions … South Africa has the highest overall population of any country of HIV-infected and AIDS patients,” numbering 5.7 million or more than 10 percent of the nation. And, he noted, “the HIV/AIDS pandemic is heavily skewed toward black South Africans,” whose prevalence rate of the disease is 45 times that of white South Africans.

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Dr. Jamie Gates
Point Loma Nazarene University

Dr. Gates is professor of cultural anthropology and African studies and director of the Center for Justice and Reconciliation (CJR) at Point Loma Nazarene University. He lived in South Africa for more than 10 years, studies post-Apartheid race relations, and leads regular justice and reconciliation study abroad trips to South Africa. Dr. Gates serves as president of the board of the Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice of San Diego County, on the advisory board of the USD Institute for Peace and Justice and as a member of the San Diego County Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce. Author of Living Justice (2007) and the forthcoming Nurturing the Prophetic Imagination, Dr. Gates has a deep interest in the fields of ethics and theology.

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