By Peter Baldwin

Affliction and Democracy is the 1st comparative research of ways Western democratic international locations have coped with AIDS. Peter Baldwin's exploration of divergent techniques to the epidemic within the usa and several other eu international locations is a springboard for a wide-ranging and complicated ancient research of public overall healthiness practices and rules. as well as his finished presentation of knowledge on methods to AIDS, Baldwin's authoritative e-book offers a brand new viewpoint on our such a lot enduring political obstacle: find out how to reconcile person liberty with the protection of the group. Baldwin reveals that Western democratic countries have followed even more diversified techniques to AIDS than is often famous. He situates the diversity of responses to AIDS in the span of earlier makes an attempt to regulate contagious disorder and discovers the the most important position that historical past has performed in constructing those a number of techniques. Baldwin unearths that a few of the strategies followed to struggle AIDS have sprung principally from these followed opposed to the vintage epidemic illnesses of the 19th century--especially cholera--and that they mirror the lengthy institutional thoughts embodied in public well-being associations.

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In part, this was an obvious result of biomedicine’s prowess in identifying its immediate cause. But such displacement also sprang from demands by victims—gays, drug addicts, prostitutes—who objected to the lifestyle approach, which explained their vulnerability by their social identity. 105 Sexual unorthodoxy and addiction had initially been adduced as causes of disease, rather than the accidental mechanisms by which the microorganism gained access to parts of the general population. Such prejudice added insult to the injury of an already heightened mortality for stigmatized groups.

Similar arguments were advanced for the measures imposed in Bavaria. 173 Voluntary measures, the right argued, were insufficient. A virulent threat required drastic restrictions. AIDS should be dealt with using the customary instruments of disease control. 174 If applicants for civil service jobs were rejected for having diabetes or multiple sclerosis, why should HIV not entail similar consequences? Pilots 40 / Disease and Democracy were grounded if they were diabetic or syphilitic; why not if afflicted with AIDS?

The French workers’ movement claimed that Koch’s bacillus was irrelevant as a cause of tuberculosis in comparison to the misery of working-class life under capitalism. 43 During the interwar years, the idea of what we can call (broadly speaking, to avoid fruitless terminological wrangles) “social medicine” continued the environmentalist tradition. In most European countries, including the Soviet Union in its first flush of revolution, social medicine advanced the idea that health could be understood and promoted only in its societal context.

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