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.
'This book powerfully illuminates 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. Although the material is based on the American experience, it is essential reading for anyone who wants to know about the likely intellectual agenda of tomorrow in other countries: on the evidence of these essays, the United States is ahead of us not only in the scale of the tragedy, but in the sophistication applied to its analysis.' Rudolph Klein, University of Bath