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Science, politics, and AIDS prevention policy.

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  • 1School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, New York 10032, USA.

Abstract

The relationships among science, politics, and health care policy have changed dramatically over the years since AIDS was first diagnosed in the United States. Initially politics was viewed as inimical to prevention; now it is viewed as central. The challenge is to ensure that policies facilitate prevention of the spread of HIV and do so in a way that protects those most vulnerable. The policies of the first decade of the epidemic were hostile to research in areas such as needle exchange and sexuality. More recently, the political climate has been more sympathetic, but whether this will result in a more effective health-care policy is not yet clear. Two important debates continue in AIDS prevention policy: (a) the issue of whether prevention efforts should be targeted to high-risk populations and geographic areas or should be more broadly focused, and (b) whether prevention priorities are best established through democratic participation that includes federal government agencies, local health departments, and community-based organizations.

PMID:
9070510
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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