This ethnographic comic book is a collaboration between a social anthropologist, a graphic artist, and active and former injecting drug users.

The story of „The Virus” is based on a story of Iren Magnussen.

The project was a part of Aleksandra Bartoszko‚s PhD work on pharmaceutical treatment of opioid addiction, for which she conducted 14 months of ethnographic fieldwork among patients and health providers in Opioid Substitution Treatment in Norway. For this collaborative project, Aleksandra conducted additional in-­depth interviews with patients who had hepatitis C about their experiences and reflections on the infection and treatment.

We explore the logics of infection, infection technology, risk management, stigma, subjective understanding of disease and the body. Additionally, the book sheds a light on patient-­doctor communication, dissemination of medical knowledge and patients’ quest for understanding of the disease in terms of biomedical explanations. Moreover, the project emphasizes the structural conditions around prevention, treatment and social inequalities. The selective focus of harm reduction including cultural perceptions on hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS, clinical research and pharmaceutical industry’s role are key elements.

The project was supported by the Norwegian Association for Humane Drug Policies – Foreningen for human narkotikapolitkk.

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Aleksandra Bartoszko is anthropologist working at Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway

Marcin Ponomarew is a graphic artist, living in Warsaw, Poland.

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