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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Carole A. Kenner, PhD, RN, FAAN (Council of International Neonatal Nurses)
Description: The author links the AIDS crisis to the changing political climate globally in order to make the case that diseases such as AIDS also affect politics, at least in America.
Purpose: The book discusses the social and political trends of the 1960s on through the 1990s, focusing on the conservatism of the government and society in the 1980s and how this shaped the debates about AIDS and turned AIDS into a sexual political hot potato. The changes in the response to the AIDS crisis in turn shaped the political landscape.
Audience: While the audience is not clearly stated, it appears to include any health policy, policy, or health professional student or lay person who is interested in the relationship between politics and a response to a healthcare problem.
Features: The book moves from outlining the gay liberation movement to social marketing of safe sex to the role of the federal government, in particular the Reagan years, and how conservatism held back the response to AIDS. The role of a private foundation such as Ford in Brazil illustrates how philanthropy supported research to examine the social impact of AIDS and the demographics of the victims of AIDS. This support tied the mission of Ford to find solutions to social and political problems created by poverty. These efforts then led to more social and political movements such as U.S. women's magazines getting involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS, followed by discussions of the economic impact of medical ignorance. Health policy changes followed and are outlined in the final chapter, using South Africa as an example. This book provides evidence to support the links between politics and responses to AIDS, demonstrating what effect each side had on the other.
Assessment: There is no comparable book on the market that ties an event such as the AIDS crisis to the historical/political landscape nor one that shows the impact of a disease such as AIDS on government and politics.