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The Slow Plague: A Geography of the AIDS Pandemic

ISBN: 978-1-55786-419-2
248 pages
October 1993, Wiley-Blackwell
The Slow Plague: A Geography of the AIDS Pandemic (1557864195) cover image
Based on research by a leading geographer and specialist in diffusion theory, The Slow Plague discloses the geographic dimension of the AIDS pandemic. It provides a lucid description of the HIV, its origins, and the extent to which it has now permeated our lives. The author shows how the virus jumps from city to city, creating regional epicenters from which it spreads into surrounding areas.

Four case studies at different geographic scales demonstrate the devastating effects of the disease. In Africa the situation is catastrophic, in Thailand it is rapidly becoming so. In the US there are over 300,000 people with AIDS and more than one million infected by the HIV. The relationships between poverty, drugs and HIV infection are brought out poignantly in a chapter about the Bronx.

The author argues that a real understanding of AIDS has been hampered by conscious or unconscious beliefs that those affected are, and will continue to be, confined to specific minority groups and to parts of the Third World. He shows that such views have led to fundamental misconceptions about the pattern of the spread of the disease and about those who will be most at risk, now and in the immediate future.

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List of maps and figures.

Preface: Why a geographer writes about AIDS.

Acknowledgements: Intellectual Antennae.

Prologue: New Plagues for Old: The Horseman Rides Again.

1. The Killer: HIV and What it does.

2. The Origins of HIV: Closing an Open Question?.

3. The Thin Tendrils of Effects.

4. Sex on a Set: A Backcloth for Disaster.

5. Transmission Break: The Geography of the Condom.

6. How Things Spread: Hierarchical Jumps and Geographic Oozings.

7. Africa: A Continent in Catastrophe.

8. Thailand: How to Optimize an Epidemic.

9. America: Leaks in the System.

10. The Bronx: Poverty, Crack and HIV.

11. The Response: How Many Bureaucrats can Dance on the Head of a Pin?.

12. Time but no Space: the Failure of a Paradigm.

13. The Geography in Confidentiality.

14. Education and Planning: Predicting the Next Maps.

15. Herd Immunity: Riding the Coattails of the HIV.

16. Epilogue: Old Plagues for New.

Changing worlds, changing genres: a bibliographic essay.

Index.
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Peter Gould has written extensively on the topic of geographic diffusion for both professional and public audiences, covering such topics as transport development in Africa, international television, and the movement to radioactive fallout. He has a PhD from Northwestern University and a DSC from the University of Strasbourg. His fourteen books include Mental Maps (1972), The Geographer at Work, and Fire and the Rain.
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* The first geographical account of the origins, spread and likely future consequences of the HIV viruses.
* Completely up-to-date.
* The book has already excited a great deal of interest in the scientific community.
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"Stimulating, with sharp and pungent writing. The author's wide-ranging observations and speculations are full of energy and passion." Nature

"The Slow Plague is a clearly written introduction to geographical understanding in HIV/Aids research." Abstracts on Hygiene & Communicable Diseases

"This fascinating book should attract a wide readership." Applied Geography

"The book would work nicely in an undergraduate geography or interdisciplinary topics course. It would certainly generate enough material to keep lively discussions going throughout the semester and provide every student with something to pursue in more detail for a course paper." Journal of Regional Science

"This makes reading this alarming book a truly fascinating experience. I use the term 'alarming' because the book is about a catastrophic pandemic which, according to World Health Organization estimates, may claim 40 million lives world-wide by the year 2000."

"Gould is exceptionally good at presenting the 'forest' and never letting the reader get lost in the 'trees'."

"This book would work nicely in an undergraduate geography or interdisciplinary topics course. It would certainly generate enough material to keep lively discussions going throughout the semester and provide every student with something to pursue in more detail for a course paper." Journal of Regional Science

"The Slow Plague is the most interesting and provocative publication by an academic that I can recall reading. Without any mincing of words, Gould lifts the lid on HIV, on bumbling bureaucracies and narrow-minded investigators." Australian Geographical Studies

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