The African AIDS Epidemic: A History

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Overview


This history of the African AIDS epidemic is a much-needed, accessibly written historical account of the most serious epidemiological catastrophe of modern times. The African AIDS Epidemic: A History answers President Thabo Mbeki’s provocative question as to why Africa has suffered this terrible epidemic.

While Mbeki attributed the causes to poverty and exploita-tion, others have looked to distinctive sexual systems practiced in African cultures and communities. John Iliffe stresses historical sequence. He argues that Africa has had the worst epidemic because the disease was established in the general population before anyone knew the disease existed. HIV evolved with extraordinary speed and complexity, and because that evolution took place under the eyes of modern medical research scien-tists, Iliffe has been able to write a history of the virus itself that is probably unique among accounts of human epidemic diseases. In giving the African experience a historical shape, John Iliffe has written one of the most important books of our time.

The African experience of AIDS has taught the world much of what it knows about HIV/AIDS, and this fascinating book brings into focus many aspects of the epidemic in the longer context of massive demographic growth, urbanization, and social change in Africa during the latter half of the twentieth century. The African AIDS Epidemic: A History is a brilliant introduction to the many aspects of the epidemic and the distinctive character of the virus.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Iliffe...has written a splendid social history that is both comprehensive and authoritative; it should be widely read.”
Foreign Affairs

“This book is highly recommended for courses in history, health policy, and public health.”
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences

“This is an excellent book and demonstrates the amazing abilities of the author as a historian to incorporate medical, epidemiological, social, and economical information into a ‘holistic’ framework to discuss the evolution and impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.”
Canadian Studies in Population

Library Journal
In a letter addressed to world leaders in April 2000, South African President Thabo Mbeki wanted to know why Africa has suffered so severely from the AIDS epidemic. Iliffe (modern history, Univ. of Cambridge; Africans: The History of a Continent) attempts to answer his question by providing readers with a historical perspective on AIDS. He traces its origins and spread across Africa and discusses the negative and positive aspects of its management. Iliffe attributes the severity of the situation to the fact that the African continent suffered the first AIDS epidemic and that the disease was already widespread in the general population before its discovery. In a number of fascinating chapters, he describes the personal and social components of HIV/AIDS in Africa-e.g., particular societal groups were blamed for causing the disease, infected persons were ostracized, and death from the disease stigmatized family members and African society as a whole. Extensive notes from primarily medical resources and a reading list are provided for each chapter. An appropriate resource for patrons interested in researching the evolution of AIDS in Africa, this scholarly book is recommended for academic libraries.-Rebecca Raszewski, Drexel Univ. Health Sciences Libs., Philadelphia Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780821416891
  • Publisher: Ohio University Press
  • Publication date: 3/22/2006
  • Pages: 210
  • Sales rank: 910,469
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


John Iliffe is a professor of modern history in the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of St. John’s College. He is the author of Africans: The History of a Continent and The African Poor: A History.
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Table of Contents

1 Intentions 1
2 Origins 3
3 Epidemic in Western Equatorial Africa 10
4 The drive to the East 19
5 The conquest of the South 33
6 The penetration of the West 48
7 Causation : a synthesis 58
8 Responses from above 65
9 Views from below 80
10 NGOs & the evolution of care 98
11 Death & the household 112
12 The epidemic matures 126
13 Containment 138
14 Conclusion 158
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