9780309046282: The Social Impact of AIDS in the United States

Europe's "Black Death" contributed to the rise of nation states, mercantile economies, and even the Reformation. Will the AIDS epidemic have similar dramatic effects on the social and political landscape of the twenty-first century? This readable volume looks at the impact of AIDS since its emergence and suggests its effects in the next decade, when a million or more Americans will likely die of the disease.
The Social Impact of AIDS in the United States addresses some of the most sensitive and controversial issues in the public debate over AIDS. This landmark book explores how AIDS has affected fundamental policies and practices in our major institutions, examining

  • How America's major religious organizations have dealt with sometimes conflicting values: the imperative of care for the sick versus traditional views of homosexuality and drug use.
  • Hotly debated public health measures, such as HIV antibody testing and screening, tracing of sexual contacts, and quarantine.
  • The potential risk of HIV infection to and from health care workers.
  • How AIDS activists have brought about major change in the way new drugs are brought to the marketplace.
  • The impact of AIDS on community-based organizations, from volunteers caring for individuals to the highly political ACT-UP organization.
  • Coping with HIV infection in prisons.

Two case studies shed light on HIV and the family relationship. One reports on some efforts to gain legal recognition for nonmarital relationships, and the other examines foster care programs for newborns with the HIV virus. A case study of New York City details how selected institutions interact to give what may be a picture of AIDS in the future.
This clear and comprehensive presentation will be of interest to anyone concerned about AIDS and its impact on the country: health professionals, sociologists, psychologists, advocates for at-risk populations, and interested individuals.

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From the Back Cover:

"Epidemic" comes from the ancient Greek epi demos, meaning "upon the people or the community". The AIDS epidemic is having a profound effect on Americans and their communities, in areas ranging from public health to religion. As many as 1 million people in the United States may be infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, but its ultimate impact will extend far beyond those individuals and their families. AIDS has been compared with epidemics of the past, most commonly the bubonic plague of the 14th century. Historians say the "Black Death" set the stage for the Reformation and other sweeping changes by altering public attitudes. In our own time, epidemics of cholera and venereal disease gave rise to fundamental changes in our public health system. AIDS is different from previous epidemics in that there is no wave of quick death sweeping through the population. Instead, as persons with AIDS and their loved ones can painfully testify, those infected with HIV know long in advance what will come. And the nation will confront AIDS and its consequences for years. AIDS in the United States also differs from other "democratic" epidemics in its concentration among gay men and intravenous drug users and their sexual partners, with many HIV-positive persons being among the nation's most poor and disadvantaged. The disease characteristics of AIDS have posed challenges to the way we have traditionally delivered health care. It is affecting the nature and structure of voluntarism, as volunteers step in to fill gaps left by decreases in public health funding. The political organization of the gay community has resulted in new policy directions for the use of medical test results, availability ofexperimental drugs, and other privacy and public health issues. In the realm of religion, AIDS has fueled the debate about homosexuality - with some people believing in the "divine retribution" of disease while others mobilize to help people with AIDS and their families. AIDS significantly affects practical issues of law enforcement, raising questions about testing new prisoners and physically separating HIV-infected inmates - who, in New York State, may account for as much as 20 percent of the prison population. Should all pregnant women be tested for AIDS? Should gay partners be treated as married couples for purposes of health insurance and inheritance? How serious is the threat to health professionals caring for AIDS patients? How will we care for AIDS babies? Not only a national medical crisis, AIDS is also raising questions about a wide range of social issues. This important volume will help readers understand the impact of AIDS on social and cultural institutions and how those institutions have responded. With authoritative information, illustrative case studies, and insightful commentary, this even-handed and fact-filled book will guide readers in grappling with these fundamental issues and what they might mean for our future.

About the Author:

Panel on Monitoring the Social Impact of the AIDS Epidemic, National Research Council

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National Research Council; Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; Panel on Monitoring the Social Impact of the AIDS Epidemic
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National Research Council; Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; Panel on Monitoring the Social Impact of the AIDS Epidemic
Published by National Academies Press (1993)
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Book Description National Academies Press, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0309046289

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