Article ID: CBB001420763

The AIDS Pandemic in Historic Perspective (2014)


Potent antiretroviral drugs (ART) have changed the nature of AIDS, a once deadly disease, into a manageable illness and offer the promise of reducing the spread of HIV. But the pandemic continues to expand and cause significant morbidity and devastation to families and nations as ART cannot be distributed worldwide to all who need the drugs to treat their infections, prevent HIV transmission, or serve as prophylaxis. Furthermore, conventional behavioral prevention efforts based on theories that individuals can be taught to modify risky behaviors if they have the knowledge to do so have been ineffective. Noting behavioral strategies targeting individuals fail to address broader social and political structures that create environments vulnerable to HIV spread, social scientists and public health officials insist that HIV policies must be comprehensive and also target a variety of structures at the population and environmental level. Nineteenth-century public health programs that targeted environmental susceptibility are the historical analogues to today's comprehensive biomedical and structural strategies to handle AIDS. Current AIDS policies underscore that those fighting HIV using scientific advances in virology and molecular biology cannot isolate HIV from its broader environment and social context any more than their nineteenth-century predecessors who were driven by the filth theory of disease.

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Authors & Contributors
McKay, Richard A.
Nattrass, Nicoli
Ataman, Ahmet Do an
Vatanoğlu, Emine Elif
Phillips, Howard
Ware, Cheryl
Medical History
Journal of the Turkish-German Gynecological Association
Bulletin of the History of Medicine
Health and History
Journal of Social Issues
Gender and History
Columbia University Press
Ohio University Press
University of Pennsylvania
Queen's University (Canada)
Cambridge University Press
University of Chicago Press
Human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV)
AIDS (disease)
Public health
Infectious diseases
Disease and diseases
Ladoo, Harold Sonny
Cassin, Frieda
Kincaid, Jamaica
Time Periods
20th century, late
21st century
20th century
19th century
18th century
South Africa
United States
North America
New Zealand

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