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And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic - on how it happened

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by natasa778, Jun 12, 2010.

  1. natasa778

    natasa778 Senior Member

    London UK
    "By the time Rock Hudson's death in 1985 alerted all America to the danger of the AIDS epidemic, the disease had spread across the nation, killing thousands of people and emerging as the greatest health crisis of the 20th century. America faced a troubling question: What happened? How was this epidemic allowed to spread so far before it was taken seriously? In answering these questions, Shilts weaves weaves the disparate threads into a coherent story, pinning down every evasion and contradiction at the highest levels of the medical, political, and media establishments. Shilts shows that the epidemic spread wildly because the federal government put budget ahead of the nation's welfare; health authorities placed political expediency before the public health; and scientists were often more concerned with international prestige than saving lives. Against this backdrop, Shilts tells the heroic stories of individuals in science and politics, public health and the gay community, who struggled to alert the nation to the enormity of the danger it faced. "And the Band Played On "is both a tribute to these heroic people and a stinging indictment of the institutions that failed the nation so badly."

    ".... It is fascinating, frightening, and essential reading."--"San Francisco Sentinel" "A textbook on how institutions work--or fail to work--in the face of such a threat."--"San Francisco Examiner" "A lucid and stunning indictment of public policy toward the vicious disease . . . A valuable work of political history."..."

  2. VillageLife

    VillageLife Senior Member

    United Kingdom
    I saw the movie and the band played on and it does make you hope that things regards xmrv are moving as fast as is humanly possible!!
  3. bluebonnet


    Interesting that Shilts mentions the US government's role in the spread of AIDS. My ME/CFS doctor told me recently that the government doesn't want to acknowledge XMRV because it would break Medicare.


    Houston, Texas U.S.A
    Like it isn't already broke and by design? Pure political poop spreading there.
  5. bluebonnet


    You miss the point. The point is, as Shilts states, "the federal government put budget ahead of the nation's welfare..."
  6. ggingues

    ggingues $10 gift code at iHerb GAS343 of $40

    Concord, NH
    I concur, the system is unsustainable, but hey, what's new?!
  7. ixchelkali

    ixchelkali Senior Member

    Long Beach, CA
    I'm currently reading "And The Band Played On." I would urge anyone who can (it's kind of a big book) to read it, because it provides guideposts that could help us navigate the politics of an epidemic. The parallels are uncanny. I've been marking passages that seem to especially apply to our situation with XMRV. I feel somewhat relieved that we're not alone in this experience, and somewhat appalled that [some of] the powers that be didn't learn much from what happened with AIDS.

    In terms of activism, the early AIDS patients had the advantage over us of a longer period before they were disabled, of an already somewhat cohesive activist community (with connections and funds), and --although it's difficult to say this was an advantage-- their disease was fatal, so no one said it was hypochondria. They had the disadvantage of being groups (homosexuals, drug users, Haitians, and hemophiliacs) that most people could dismiss as "other," so they didn't think "This could happen to me." I think that's really part of the reason for the whisper campaign that we're crazy, depressed, hysterical: it allows people to put us into the category of "other." And that's also why people are so ready to believe it: they don't WANT to think this can happen to anyone. When the general public is convinced that ANYONE can get this, they will be frightened, and that's when the government will put resources into it. That's why breast cancer gets so much attention. And that's also why some government officials are saying "We don't want to panic people." Even if maybe a bit of panic is appropriate.

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