The impact of AIDS cannot be adequately measured by epidemiology alone. As the editors of this volume argue, AIDS must be understood as a "disease of society," which is challenging and changing society profoundly. Numerous books on AIDS have looked at the ways in which our social institutions, norms and values have determined how the disease has been dealt with, but this book examines the ways in which AIDS is, in turn, changing our social institutions, norms and values. Eleven chapters explore the impact of AIDS on the arts and popular entertainment, the effects of the disease on our concept of family, on government and legal institutions and on the health services, and the ways in which AIDS is forcing society to come to terms with longstanding tensions between community values and individual rights. The authors are drawn from a broad range of disciplines, bringing to the book the insights of sociology, law, public health, philosophy, political science, psychology, journalism and medicine. This book provides the first assessment of the impact of AIDS on American life from such a diverse set of perspectives, and it will be of interest to anyone concerned with the effect of the disease on our society. Earlier versions of some of these articles have appeared in The Milbank Quarterly and have since been substantially revised.
"A strength of this volume is its attention to the role of activists in influencing positive change in institutions...overall, the volume provides important information about the social context of HIV." Ethics "Thought-provoking and clear (and extremely well documented), this collection raises important questions that will become more relevant as society grapples with the effects of a new and terrible disease. Essential for social science and medical collections." Library Journal "This book powerfully illluminates the way in which AIDS has shifted our perceptions of contemporary issues, from our attitudes to risk, sex and the family to the role of the nursing profession and the rights of prisoners...it is essentional reading." Rudolph Klein, University of Bath "Thoughtful, disturbing, and beautifully written, A Disease of Society forces the reader to see AIDS as a social phenomenon with widespread effects on the way Americans think and act." Rosemary Stevens, University of Pennsylvania "A rare publication. It is a superbly edited volume dealing with critical, yet often neglected, social and cultural issues related to the AIDS epidemic. This is an extremely valuable book that should be read by all those with an interest in AIDS as well as by those with a broader interest in American society." Philip R. Lee, University of California, San Francisco "If society has not managed the AIDS crisis very well, how has AIDS affected society? Nelkin, Willis, and Parris have collected a series of high-quality essays--originally published in supplements to The Milbank Quarterly--that focus directly and indirectly on this issue." Peter Conrad, Science "These essays...are provocative. For that reason, A Disease of Society can be recommended to anyone wishing to develop a broad view of what may be happening in the United States because of AIDS." Andrew M. Weisenthal, The New England Journal of Medicine "...the articles are lucidly written and state their arguments forcefully." Choice "This collection of essays represents a benchmark in the growing literature on AIDS...The Nelkin et al. volume is unique and timely because it occasions an examinaton of the reverse process --that is, the impact AIDS has had on various social institutions." Joseph A. Kotarba, University of Houston, Contemporary Sociology "...a gem. Overall the essays it contains are remarkable for their content, their clarity, and their eloquence...These editors and contributors are to be commended for their forthrightness in producing a book with thought-provoking essays and insights enlightening to both student and citizen, and to members of the hospice community." Inge B. Corless, The Hospice Journal