Thatcher and the crystallisation of HIV/AIDS theory

Following the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher there has no been lack of jubilation from the left-wing. However, the one matter that seems to earn bipartisan praise is her government’s action on HIV/AIDS.  The Century Foundation encapsulates this in a recent article.

” the influential UK Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs assert[ed] in 1988 that ‘the spread of HIV is a greater danger to individual and public health than drug misuse…accordingly, services that aim to minimize HIV risk behaviour by all available means should take precedence in development plans.'”

In hindsight, HIV ‘infection’ has remained largely confined to the same risk groups in the UK – gay men and drug users; a subset of the former likely being part of the latter because of obstacles in social inclusivity. And because of persistent risk in such groups, we can assume that the war on HIV was – and is – a failure. Claiming a win on no heterosexual epidemic is an empty accolade under the Rethinking viewpoint, because we agree that it couldn’t ever happen.

The lost President Reagan comment, I think, will turn out to be one of history’s worst deletions:

“As far as our best scientists have been able to determine, AIDS…is not spread through casual or routine contact.”




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