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The African AIDS epidemic : a history
Iliffe, John.




Personal Author:
Physical Description:
ix, 214 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
1 Intentions 1 -- 2 Origins 3 -- 3 Epidemic in Western Equatorial Africa 10 -- 4 Drive to the East 19 -- 5 Conquest of the South 33 -- 6 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 Epidemic Matures 126 -- 13 Containment 138.
Bibliography Note:
Includes bibliographical references (pages 202-208) and index.
Pub Date:
Ohio University Press ; James Currey ; Double Storey, 2006.


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Material Type
Shelf Number
Central - Houston Public Library Adult Non-fiction Book 614.599392 I28

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A Choice Significant University Press Titles for Undergraduates, 2005-2006 

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 exploitation, 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 scientists, 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, 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.

Author Notes

John Iliffe is Professor of Modern History in the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of St John's College

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Mapsp. vii
Prefacep. viii
Abbreviationsp. ix
1 Intentionsp. 1
2 Originsp. 3
3 Epidemic in Western Equatorial Africap. 10
4 The Drive to the Eastp. 19
5 The Conquest of the Southp. 33
6 The Penetration of the Westp. 48
7 Causation: A Synthesisp. 58
8 Responses from Abovep. 65
9 Views from Belowp. 80
10 NGOs & the Evolution of Carep. 98
11 Death & the Householdp. 112
12 The Epidemic Maturesp. 126
13 Containmentp. 138
14 Conclusionp. 158
Notesp. 160
Further Readingp. 202
Indexp. 209
1 Western Equatorial Africap. 11
2 Eastern Africap. 20
3 Southern Africap. 34
4 West Africap. 50

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