Kathleen Brite, 2013, Politics

The overall goal of my project with the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation was to produce a history of its ground-breaking mobile testing unit, the Tutu Tester. This history was to be published and used in reviving HIV/AIDS awareness and reducing stigma, re-conceptualizing HIV as preventable, manageable, and part of comprehensive wellness. The history would also assess what has been accomplished in the field of HIV in South Africa, what is being done currently, and what is needed going forward. In addition to working daily in the townships doing biometric registration on the Tester, I conducted extensive interviews with the directors, general staff, crew, and clients of the Tutu Tester and worked through their documented history. From this experience, I gained valuable insight into the eradication of HIV as a cultural, social, and even psychological phenomenon, the value of research in impacting policy change, the importance of access to information for the general public, and the astounding capabilities of one team of hard-working, dedicated individuals. This internship has served as the springboard for many of my pursuits, including my independent work and possible graduate study in international public health.