By Virginia Berridge, Philip Strong
The arrival of AIDS has resulted in a revival of curiosity within the old courting of sickness to society. There now exists a brand new awareness of AIDS and historical past, and of AIDS itself as an historical occasion. this gives the starting-point of this number of essays. Its dual subject matters are the 'pre-history' of the influence of AIDS, and its next background. Essays within the part at the 'pre-history' of AIDS examine the contexts opposed to which AIDS might be measured. The part on AIDS as background provides chapters via historians and coverage scientists on such subject matters as British and US medicines coverage, the later years of AIDS guidelines within the united kingdom and the emergence of AIDS as a political factor in France. a last bankruptcy appears on the archival power within the AIDS quarter. As a complete the amount demonstrates the contribution that historians could make within the research of near-contemporary occasions.
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Extra resources for AIDS and Contemporary History
It also throws a long shadow on what is to come. The regulation of sexuality The key to understanding the impact of the AIDS crisis lies in recognising that it emerged in the midst of what can best be described as an 'unfinished revolution' in attitudes towards, and in the regulation of, sexuality, and especially homosexuality. On the one hand there has been a striking double-shift in attitudes over the past generation. This has involved both a liberalisation of attitudes towards issues such as marriage and divorce, pre-marital sex, birth control and abortion, and towards homosexuality; and an apparent secularisation of belief systems, with the decline of traditional, usually Christian-based, absolutist standards, and the emergence of more pragmatic belief systems.
There were clear signs of the success of safer sex campaigns by 28 Jeffrey Weeks the mid-1980s, with a substantial drop in the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases amongst gay men. The detailed reasons for this are unclear, and there were clear variations in the sexual behaviour of gay men. 39 The response of the gay community, and the major voluntary effort it sustained, was an expression of concern and involvement. It was also necessary in the absence of an appropriate official response until 1986.
Only a public education campaign to increase awareness of HIV and AIDS, it was believed, would change people's behaviour. This new policy was undoubtedly inspired by the threat of a heterosexual epidemic, which had been dramatised by the publication of the US Surgeon-General's report on AIDS in October 1986. This, combined with mounting evidence that HIV was spreading in the 'heterosexual community' in Britain, propelled the new policy. It made it possible for the proponents of the developing policy and medical consensus to seize the ears of ministers; and it provided ministers, wary of a volatile public opinion and a raucous press, with the opportunity to make a radical departure.
AIDS and Contemporary History by Virginia Berridge, Philip Strong