The introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is typically represented as a turning point in the social and medical history of HIV/AIDS, leading to a conceptual division into pre- and post-HAART eras. This paper explores how generational discourse is produced in interviews with general practitioners (GPs) and their HIV positive gay male patients in making sense of this moment and related changes in the Australian HIV epidemic. A theme of 'HIV generations' was identified in in-depth interviews with GPs who have HIV medication prescribing rights (based in Sydney, Adelaide and rural-coastal New South Wales) and the HIV positive gay men who attend their practices. In a closer analysis, generational discourse was identified across the interviews with GPs, characterising pre- and post-HAART HIV generations through three main features: treatment histories, socioeconomic status, and modes of survivorship. While generational discourse was less common in the accounts of HIV positive gay men, many of their examples wove together two narrative forms - 'a different time' and 'difference today' - suggesting that concepts of time and inequity are deeply embedded in these men's understandings of the HIV experience. Our analysis indicates that generational concepts play a significant role in shaping both professional and 'lay' understandings of changes and patterns in the HIV epidemic.
- General practitioner (GP)