'Lessons learned' highlighted as global politics of HIV/AIDS examined in new research

Washington, DC -- Even as the world commemorated World Aids Day ten days ago, scholars are still coming to grips with the complex politics that have characterized the response of states and societies across the world to the HIV/AIDS pandemic since 1981. Compelling new assessments of the politics of HIV/AIDS in seven countries appear as a research symposium in the December issue of Perspectives on Politics, a journal of the American Political Science Association (APSA).

In her introduction to the symposium, available online at www.apsanet.org/content_37799.cfm, Andrea Densham (Densham Consulting) notes that "inadequate societal and political responses to HIV have caused immense human misery, evident not only in loss of life, but also in the impact of the disease on social structures, economic potential, and political stability." Despite this urgent challenge, its costs, and direct implications for political institutions and societies across the globe, political scientists have largely been silent on this topic. This symposium breaks that silence by offering the first empirical and theoretical claims by political scientists on the pandemic in seven years.

The symposium emphasizes three main findings: the role of the state (what governments can and should do, and when and why they fail to act); the potential of civil society in light of the limits of state authority and tools; and the consequences of state avoidance or its failure to act for broader society. These themes are addressed across national and social contexts and analytical approaches by the four symposium articles:

In "Written in Blood: AIDS Prevention and the Politics of Failure in France" Michael Bosia (St. Michaels College) examines the French governments slow response to the growing HIV epidemic in the 1980s. By failing to secure the national blood supply quickly enough, laboring under misconceptions regarding

Contact: Bahram Rajaee
202-483-2512 x130
American Political Science Association

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