Infectious Ideas - U.S. Political Responses to the AIDS Crisis


Infectious Ideas - U.S. Political Responses to the AIDS Crisis



The University of North Carolina Press

publication year



Infectious Ideas examines the AIDS crisis in its political context. The first two chapters explore how activists used lessons learned from gay liberation to inform their AIDS activism. In San Francisco, this resulted in a further reification of gay identity and whiteness. The third chapter looks at the diverse responses within conservative government channels to AIDS, showing how alternative visions to outright neglect were in operation. The fourth chapter looks at the Ford Foundation, which gave grants to organizations in the global south to combat AIDS beginning in 1987. Many activists working in these countries argued that AIDS activism, the changing of sexual behavior, had to be undertaken within political projects of women’s empowerment and economic inequality. The last chapter returns to the United States where Brier narrates the five-year-long existence of ACTUP. The epilogue turns attention to surge in activism in South Africa in the 1990s. Jennifer Brier helps readers see a more diverse picture of the 1980s, that it was not just an era of Reagan conservativism but also one where AIDS activists, gays and lesbians, and people of color created alternative visions that place issues of race, gender, sexuality, and economic inequality together. In the absence of a federal government response to AIDS, grassroots activists transformed the political landscape.

education level





Leo Valdes

was created by

Brier, Jennifer

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