The purpose of this conclusion is not to indulge in predictions of the future of UK AIDS, or to apportion credit or blame for the history of UK AIDS. The analysis of AIDS policies needs more than the ‘heroes and villains’ school of history. It is rather to reflect on some of the pervasive themes which emerge at the end of the first decade of this century and further. Whether or not government over-reacted in 1986–7 in the UK has nevertheless remained a matter of debate. The focus in this account has been on the unusual nature of the historical moment and the relationship of epidemiological concepts to policy. But some who had been closely involved at that stage and remained committed to AIDS in the mid-1990s saw it differently. Human agency was certainly important; and particular politicians, civil servants, doctors, and gays gave AIDS its character as a policy issue. Science has a central role in the ‘contest for meaning’ and the response to AIDS.
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