You are here: Home Scholarship Programs Ph.d. Research Programs Portrait: Birgitte Folmann

Portrait: Birgitte Folmann

PhD Title:

Becoming healthy again. Reproductive intentions among HIV positive women and men with increased access to anti-retrovirals in Northern Uganda.

Birgitte Folmann

PhD Fellow, Aarhus University, Department of Anthropology, Archaeology and Linguistics, Affiliated with London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine



This Phd-study explores reproductive intentions of HIV positive men and women receiving anti-retrovirals with emphasis on personal negotiations versus interaction with the public health care system in post-conflict northern Uganda.

Reproductive decision-making is strongly influenced by cultural norms, such as the value of children in a particular society and the specific roles of men and women. In Acholiland, as elsewhere, the desire of men and women to have children is strong: to achieve social status, to have offspring to support you when you get old and to continue the lineage. Globalisation has made ARV treatment more accessible, but what effect does an increased access to ARV treatment have on the lives of HIV positive individuals?

The study draws connection between how it is to be a ‘therapeutic citizen’ (as an individual) depending on medicine from national and global organizations, and how it is to live in a society, where social personhood and the continuation of the kin has great importance. Although phenomenological in its focus, the study seeks to link interpersonal experiences of reproductive desire to the surrounding social and political context, thus analyzing reproductive intentions for HIV positive individuals within the framework of the existential dilemma of autonomy and dependency.

Furthermore the project will investigate how the social embeddedness of relationship and the constraints of culture curb the possible range of options concerning reproduction. It will bring knowledge on how ARV treatment and moralities in the public health discourse shape the reproductive intentions in a part of the world with almost universal reproductive desire and a generalized and complex Hiv/Aids pandemic.


Associated Professor Lotte Meinert, Aarhus University, Department of Anthropology, and, Professor Paul Wenzel Geissler, University of Oslo, Institute of Socialanthropology

Financed period:


Funding Source:

FKK (The Danish Council for Independent Research/humanities), FFU (Consultative Research Committee For Development Research), NAI (Nordic Africa Institute)

Downloadables from Christine Oryem

    Comments on content: 
    Revised 02.05.2012

    The ENRECA-Gulu University is a DANIDA funded project based in the city of Gulu in Northern Uganda.