Animal Studies Journal


In 2012, Vicki Hutton interviewed eleven men in Australia who had contracted HIV. The interviews focused on the healing effects of living with ‘companion animals’, some of whom attended the interviews. Hutton illustrates repeatedly how these animals embodied a reason for HIV survivors to live in spite of the repercussions of the disease they suffered – stigma, social alienation and often traumatic treatments. Caring for an animal inspired the human to choose life over succumbing to death. Statistics can only overwhelm but meeting these men and their animals personalises the tragedies of contracting HIV – particularly for those who became ill in the early outbreak of the disease. Hutton does not explain, however, why she only interviewed men living with HIV and did not include women.