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And The Band Played On - Movie Review
The book chronicles the discovery and spread of the human immunodeficiency virus HIV and acquired immune deficiency syndrome AIDS with a special emphasis on government indifference and political infighting—specifically in the United States—to what was then perceived as a specifically gay disease. Shilts' premise is that AIDS was allowed to happen: while the disease is caused by a biological agent, incompetence and apathy toward those initially affected allowed its spread to become much worse. The book is an extensive work of investigative journalism, written in the form of an encompassing time line; the events that shaped the epidemic are presented as sequential matter-of-fact summaries.
And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic
By Randy Shilts. New York: St. Martin's Press. WE are now in the seventh year of the AIDS pandemic, the worldwide epidemic nightmarishly linking sex and death and drugs and blood. There is, I believe, much more and much worse to come. But great and lethal epidemics are never merely biological events, and never elicit merely biological or scientific responses. They become social forces in their own right, carving deep new fissures in the political and cultural landscape, thrusting up buried fears and hatreds.
It was October Dr Austin Darragh had come into the studio for his weekly medical slot with Gay. But the genie was out of the bottle. What would come to be known as Aids was at last being talked about. It was used to treat a rare form of pneumonia, pneumocysti carinii. This pneumonia was usually only found in patients such as children with leukaemia, whose immune system was compromised.