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AIDS in the UKThe Making of Policy, 1981-1994$
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Virginia Berridge

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198204725

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198204725.001.0001

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Introduction: ‘The History of the Present’

Introduction: ‘The History of the Present’

(p.1) Introduction: ‘The History of the Present’
AIDS in the UK

Virginia Berridge

Oxford University Press

AIDS revived a type of ‘welfare state ethos’, which most had assumed was absent in the Britain of the 1980s. AIDS properly hit in UK in 1985. In statistical terms, the British figures for AIDS and HIV were minute in relation to the overall global pattern. At the end of 1993, World Health Organization figures showed a cumulative total of just over 8,000 cases of AIDS in the United Kingdom. Deaths from AIDS are insignificant by comparison with mortality from the ‘big killers’, the various major cancers and heart disease. The response to AIDS brought into play the medico-bureaucratic traditions of health policy-making in Britain, operating in conjunction with political support. AIDS acts as a case-study in the continuities of the operation of power, despite an apparent ‘Thatcher revolution’ in government. The ‘History of AIDS’ has many meanings. Only the future will tell, and not the history of the present.

Keywords:   HIV, AIDS, United Kingdom, mortality, policy-making, World Health Organization

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