INTHE4117 – New priorities for HIV and AIDS in the developing world context

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course considers the changing nature of the global epidemic; global, national and local responses to the epidemic; and the role of research and evaluation. Its focus is on the social, cultural, economic and political factors surrounding HIV/AIDS and its prevention and control.  We will examine gender relations; poverty; stigma and discrimination; vulnerable populations; and community-based prevention and control; as well as global responses to HIV/AIDS, from patient activism to ‘global health’ interventions.

This course will build upon the introductory course on HIV/AIDS but with a greater focus on social issues surrounding the epidemic, the interactions between biology and social factors, and the political architectures of response to HIV/AIDS.  

Indicative course content (topics):

Topics covered will include:

  1. The global history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and responses to it. Impact of HIV and AIDs in different countries and on particular communities; and the changing nature of the epidemic.
  2. The role of gender, sexuality, poverty and stigma in the epidemic, and the socio-economic contexts of exposure to HIV.
  3. HIV prevention as ‘social public health’. The role of the community in HIV prevention; and the role of researchers and health professionals in partnerships for prevention.
  4. Architectures of response, including the role of international and global organizations (WHO, UNAIDS, and, since the 2000s, global funds); “global health” interventions; “community-based” responses and their engagements with prevention and treatment; and HIV/AIDS activism.
  5. The positive and negative impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on health systems.
  6. Ethical issues that have arisen within globally-funded clinical trials on HIV/AIDS medicines in Africa.
  7. Important developments, such as antiretroviral drug therapies that have been rolled out in large-scale treatment programmes. Associated success and challenges, and their relations to issues such as poverty, gender relations and nutrition.
  8. The link between HIV and other communicable and non- communicable diseases through a focus on co-infections and co-morbidity; and the lessons learned from HIV-AIDS in relation to other epidemics will be discussed.  Students will be encouraged to critically assess the commonalities and differences between epidemics such as HIV/AIDS and TB. What do they have in common regarding location, vulnerable populations, and the architectures of response including interactions with national health systems?

Critical thinking will be encouraged through an understanding of the history of the HIV-AIDS epidemic and responses to it. Students will be encouraged to choose a region/country/ issue to use in group-work and develop a presentation on

Learning outcome


You will develop your knowledge about:

  • The impact of HIV and AIDS in different countries and communities; and the changing nature of the epidemic
  • Gender, poverty, and stigma dimensions of HIV and AIDS
  • The links between HIV and TB regarding vulnerable population, prevention and treatment issues.
  • Current and future patterns of HIV prevention, treatment, care, and intervention, including the rolling out of antiretroviral treatment programmes
  • The architecture of response:  programmes and interventions – including global, national and community-level responses
  • HIV prevention as ‘social public health’
  • AIDS drugs, pharmaceutical companies and global activism
  • HIV/AIDS, clinical trials and ethical issues surrounding access to treatment
  • HIV/AIDS and ‘global health’; the impact of global funding on for HIV/AIDS on health systems
  • The contribution of social scientific research to understanding the HIV/AIDS epidemic, including emerging areas of research


You will learn:

  • to explore the impact of HIV/AIDS epidemic, as well as prevention and treatment policies in particular countries, regions and communities
  • to think critically about the relations between the HIV/AIDs epidemic, gender relations, stigma and poverty from a social science perspective
  • to explain the role and impact of global, national and local responses to the epidemic
  • to critically analyse issues surrounding access to treatment such as the role of the pharmaceutical industry and of global activism
  • to discuss the ethical issues surrounding clinical trials for HIV/AIDS drugs in resource-poor communities.
  • to explore how the issues raised by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, prevention and treatment may be relevant to their own research projects.

General competence

  • You will gain an overview of the key issues surrounding the HIV/AIDS epidemic in relation to public health, global health and community-based prevention and treatment.
  • You will be able to develop arguments and engage in discussion in both oral and written forms.


Students enrolled at the M.Phil in International Community Health programme will get first priority to the courses. The deadline for register in Studentweb and apply for courses is February 1.

Students enrolled in other Master's degree programmes at the UIO can, on application to, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

External applicants, not already enrolled as a student at UIO, are welcome to apply. Please email if you want admission to this course. You will have to provide the following documentation:

  • A completed Bachelor’s degree or a period of study comparable with a Norwegian Bachelor's degree from a recognised institution. Applicants with foreign education, please refer to the country list
  • A minimum grade point average (GPA) of C (in Norwegian scale) or equivalent from the specialization in your degree.
  • A language requirement documented by one of the tests/exams below:
    a) Passed examination in English foundation course (140 hours/5 periods per week) in Norwegian upper secondary school with a minimum grade of 4 (or an equivalent grade from a Nordic upper secondary school) or alternatively passed examination in English from second and/or third school year, or
    b) An internationally recognised English language proficiency test.
  • The applicants must have a specialization either within health sciences or social sciences.

Note: all documents must be official certified copies

Read more about admission for international applicants


Lectures, a film, discussion and group-work. You have to participate in at least 80 % of the teaching to be allowed to take the exam. Attendance at lectures will be registered.


Home exam.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language