AIDS in the UK: The Making of a Policy, 1981-1994

AIDS in the UK: The Making of a Policy, 1981-1994

AIDS in the UK: The Making of a Policy, 1981-1994

AIDS in the UK: The Making of a Policy, 1981-1994

Synopsis

Fifteen years ago the AIDS epidemic did not exist on the public agenda. In just over a decade the public and official response to the disease has resulted in the development of a whole network of organizations devoted to the study, containment, and practical treatment of AIDS. In this fascinating and scholarly account, Virginia Berridge analyses a remarkable period in contemporary British history, and exposes the reaction of the British public and British political and medical elites to one of the most challenging issues of this century.

Excerpt

AIDS is an overwhelming subject, in many different ways. Those who attempt to research and document even one country's history are quickly deluged with published material, from cultural analysis through to reports, guide-lines, and working papers. the political and cultural sensitivities of the issue at all levels make academic interpretation a minefield. Fresh developments in policy occur with regularity, making any settled analysis difficult.

That I have managed to survive and produce this book owes much to the help and support of others. First thanks must go to the Nuffield Provincial Hospitals Trust, who had the initial imagination to fund a study of 'history in the making'. the Trust's willingness to fund a longterm piece of research at a time when the completion and dissemination of research is generally conceived on an ever-diminishing time scale, and its commitment to the research, has been exemplary. the Nuffield Trustees and Secretary, Dr Michael Ashley Miller, and the advisory committee of the aids Social History Programme, Professor Tony Coxon, Dr Patricia Day, Professor Raymond Illsley, Professor Philip Payne, Professor Patrick Vaughan and Dr Charles Webster have been a source of wise counsel. the special committee of the Nuffield Trustees, with the late Sir Edgar Williams as chairman (and chairman of the Trustees), Sir Derek Mitchell and Professor Michael Russell provided support and advice at a time of difficulty. Max Lehmann, Assistant Secretary to the Trust, was an invaluable point of contact and source of advice. Charles Webster, as a member of the advisory committee, has read the book in draft, making many useful suggestions; for undertaking this onerous task, and for other helpful interventions, my thanks are due.

The location in a School of Public Health has been a crucial element in the Programme's operation. Unfortunately, the original grant-holder of the programme, Professor Patrick Hamilton, died before the Programme was fully established. the former Dean of the School of Hygiene, the late D. C. Gordon Smith, was generous with time and in suggesting contacts after Professor Hamilton's death. Professor Nick Black took over as grant-holder at that stage and ensured that the Programme maintained a role during internal reorganizations. Colleagues at the School have continued to provide an input into policy- making circles and an access which could be less direct for a historian working in a disciplinary rather than a multidisciplinary environment.

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