Histories of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa

Histories of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa

Histories of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa

Histories of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa

Synopsis

In a series of case studies of sexually transmitted disease and HIV/AIDS from around Africa, contributors examine the social, cultural, and political-economic bases of risk, transmission, and response to epidemic disease. This book brings together major contributions to the historical study of epidemic disease in developing countries and considers how particular constellations of cultural, social, political, and economic factors in different countries have affected the historical patterns of disease and collective (official and community) response to them. This book is a companion volume to Sex, Disease, and Society: A Comparative History of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV/AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (Greenwood, 1997).

From this endeavor to provide insight into the conjunctions and disjunctions between the histories of STDs and the AIDS pandemic in Sub-Saharan Africa certain common issues have emerged. These include medical ambiguity and epidemiologic diversity; cultural change; racism; gender, labor migration, and economic instability; and the practice of biomedicine and epidemiology in African contexts. All of these factors are embedded in the colonial legacy and post-colonial political economic conditions across the continent.

Excerpt

Philip W. Setel

This book is the second in a two-volume set of comparative histories of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) in the nonWestern world. The contributions in this volume, like those of the companion book, Sex, Disease, and Society: A Comparative History of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV/AIDS in Asia and the Pacific, comprise a series of case studies that focus on the social, cultural, and politicoeconomic bases of past and present epidemics. The cases are drawn from anglophone and francophone countries in West, East, Central, and Southern Africa (see Figure 1.1).

As many authors have noted, the global HIV/AIDS pandemic is largely responsible for stimulating the scholarly attention now being paid to STDs in the developing world — in both the past and present. It has also opened up a lively critical inquiry into topics (sex and sexuality) once anathema to mainstream scholarly inquiry. The epidemic has also prompted a reevaluation of theory and praxis in branches and subfields of the social sciences concerned with health. Theory-oriented scholars have been challenged to imbue more of their work with practical insight, and applied researchers have been pressed to remove their gaze from the immediacy of the epidemic and reflect in more abstract terms upon the ways in which AIDS must be comprehended, analyzed, and combatted.

This volume contributes to this discussion by presenting several cases from around the African continent. To foster a comparative set of case studies in both the Asia and Africa volumes, contributors were asked to . . .

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