The Slow Plague: A Geography of the AIDS Pandemic / Edition 1

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Based on research by a leading geographer and specialist in diffusion theory, The Slow Plague discloses the geographic dimension of the AIDS pandemic. It provides a lucid description of the HIV, its origins, and the extent to which it has now permeated our lives. The author shows how the virus jumps from city to city, creating regional epicenters from which it spreads into surrounding areas. Four case studies at different geographic scales demonstrate the devastating effects of the disease. In Africa the situation is catastrophic, in Thailand it is rapidly becoming so. In the US there are over 300,000 people with AIDS and more than one million infected by the HIV. The relationships between poverty, drugs and HIV infection are brought out poignantly in a chapter about the Bronx. The author argues that a real understanding of AIDS has been hampered by conscious or unconscious beliefs that those affected are, and will continue to be, confined to specific minority groups and to parts of the Third World. He shows that such views have led to fundamental misconceptions about the pattern of the spread of the disease and about those who will be most at risk, now and in the immediate future.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Stimulating, with sharp and pungent writing. The author'swide-ranging observations and speculations are full of energy andpassion." Nature

"The Slow Plague is a clearly written introduction togeographical understanding in HIV/Aids research." Abstracts onHygiene & Communicable Diseases

"This fascinating book should attract a wide readership."Applied Geography

"The book would work nicely in an undergraduate geography orinterdisciplinary topics course. It would certainly generate enoughmaterial to keep lively discussions going throughout the semesterand provide every student with something to pursue in more detailfor a course paper." Journal of Regional Science

"This makes reading this alarming book a truly fascinatingexperience. I use the term 'alarming' because the book is about acatastrophic pandemic which, according to World Health Organizationestimates, may claim 40 million lives world-wide by the year2000."

"Gould is exceptionally good at presenting the 'forest' andnever letting the reader get lost in the 'trees'."

"This book would work nicely in an undergraduate geography orinterdisciplinary topics course. It would certainly generate enoughmaterial to keep lively discussions going throughout the semesterand provide every student with something to pursue in more detailfor a course paper." Journal of Regional Science

"The Slow Plague is the most interesting and provocativepublication by an academic that I can recall reading. Without anymincing of words, Gould lifts the lid on HIV, on bumblingbureaucracies and narrow-minded investigators." AustralianGeographical Studies

Library Journal
AIDS epidemiology is a compelling and timely subject. Certainly even AIDS researchers find the scope of the present and future epidemic hard to comprehend. While providing some interesting maps and figures, Gould has written a rambling, self-conscious, and overly digressive account of the origin and spread of AIDS. He seems to favor compulsory AIDS testing and patient quarantine. A better choice might be Mirko Grmek's History of AIDS: Emergence & Origin of a Modern Pandemic (Princeton, 1990), supplemented by more recent journal and newspaper articles. This title is not recommended, given the rapidity of change in this area of research and the deficiencies of the title. --Mary Chitty, Biotrends Research, Natick, Mass.
Understanding the geographic dimensions of AIDS is vital, according to geographer Gould, an expert on the topic of geographic diffusion. Using four case studies at different geographic scales (Africa, Thailand, US, the Bronx), he explains how the HIV virus jumps from city to city and the devastating consequences of misconceptions about its spread. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557864192
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 10/18/1993
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 7.87 (w) x 9.84 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Gould has written extensively on the topic of geographic diffusion for both professional and public audiences, covering such topics as transport development in Africa, international television, and the movement to radioactive fallout. He has a PhD from Northwestern University and a DSC from the University of Strasbourg. His fourteen books include Mental Maps (1972), The Geographer at Work, and Fire and the Rain.

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Table of Contents

List of maps and figures.

Preface: Why a geographer writes about AIDS.

Acknowledgements: Intellectual Antennae.

Prologue: New Plagues for Old: The Horseman Rides Again.

1. The Killer: HIV and What it does.

2. The Origins of HIV: Closing an Open Question?.

3. The Thin Tendrils of Effects.

4. Sex on a Set: A Backcloth for Disaster.

5. Transmission Break: The Geography of the Condom.

6. How Things Spread: Hierarchical Jumps and GeographicOozings.

7. Africa: A Continent in Catastrophe.

8. Thailand: How to Optimize an Epidemic.

9. America: Leaks in the System.

10. The Bronx: Poverty, Crack and HIV.

11. The Response: How Many Bureaucrats can Dance on the Head ofa Pin?.

12. Time but no Space: the Failure of a Paradigm.

13. The Geography in Confidentiality.

14. Education and Planning: Predicting the Next Maps.

15. Herd Immunity: Riding the Coattails of the HIV.

16. Epilogue: Old Plagues for New.

Changing worlds, changing genres: a bibliographic essay.


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