The Invisible Cure: AIDS in Africa

Helen Epstein, Author . Farrar, Straus & Giroux $25 (326p) ISBN 978-0-374-28152-6

Epstein, a public health specialist and molecular biologist who has worked on AIDS vaccine research, overturns many of our received notions about why AIDS is rampant in Africa and what to do about it. She charges that Western governments and philanthropists, though well-meaning, have been wholly misguided, and that Africans themselves, who understand their own cultures, often know best how to address HIV in their communities. Most significant is Epstein's discussion of concurrent sexual relations in Africa. Africans often engage in two or three long-term concurrent relationships—which proves more conducive to the spread of AIDS than Western-style promiscuity. Persuade Africans to forgo concurrency for monogamy, and the infection rate plummets, as it did in Uganda in the mid-1990s. On the other hand, ad campaigns focused on condom use helped imply falsely that only prostitutes and truck drivers get AIDS. In addition, Epstein examines what she calls the "African earthquake": social and economic upheaval that have also eased the spread of HIV. Epstein is a lucid writer, translating abstruse scientific concepts into language nonspecialists can easily grasp. Provocative, passionate and incisive, this may be the most important book on AIDS published this year—indeed, it may even save lives. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/05/2007
Release date: 05/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4299-2379-8
Paperback - 324 pages - 978-0-14-101105-9
Paperback - 324 pages - 978-0-312-42772-6
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