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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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1986–1987: ‘National Community’ and the ‘Respectable Out’ for Politicians

1986–1987: ‘National Community’ and the ‘Respectable Out’ for Politicians

(p.123) 6 1986–1987: ‘National Community’ and the ‘Respectable Out’ for Politicians
AIDS in the UK

Virginia Berridge

Oxford University Press

The British government had a shakier and more uncertain start with regard to AIDS awareness. This was the tactic of the ‘respectable out’ for government, that Ministers had to be shielded from inappropriate and possibly damaging involvement in public discussion of intimate sexual matters, while at the same time giving the appearance of intense involvement in, and concern for the issue. The strategy, as Peter Jenkins' lunch with the top civil servant had revealed, was to establish a body outside government, but nevertheless under governmental supervision, which could carry the weight of public education activity and could undertake any potentially embarrassing and politically damaging work. These moves revolved around a potential coordinating organization which eventually became known as the UK AIDS Foundation. ‘Mainstreaming’ AIDS was the policy theme; and there was intense activity at all levels of the government response to AIDS in late 1986 and early 1987. The Social Services Committee which was to examine the issue of AIDS, won a considerable reputation for itself. The Committee, like many who gave evidence, seemed to have seen AIDS as a type of catalyst and stimulus for issues which had long been on the agenda.

Keywords:   AIDS awareness, British government, voluntarism, public education, Social Services Committee, UK AIDS Foundation

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