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J Public Health Policy. 2008 Apr;29(1):54-71. doi: 10.1057/palgrave.jphp.3200160.

Jonathan Mann, HIV/AIDS, and human rights.

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National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.


The early association of HIV/AIDS with marginal groups - homosexuals and IV drug users - structured social and political responses to the disease. Many countries began to enact restrictive travel policies and to contemplate compulsory testing or quarantine for those infected. In Africa, Jonathan Mann became convinced that the disease was heterosexually transmitted and had the potential to become a worldwide pandemic. He convinced Halfden Mahler, Director General of WHO, who appointed him director of the WHO's Global Programme on AIDS. In this position, and because of his eloquence and passion, Mann was able to mobilize ministers of health around the world. Mann argued that AIDS was a social disease, flourishing in conditions of poverty, oppression, urban migration, gender inequality, and violence. He advanced a new way of understanding AIDS and AIDS policies based on a human rights framework.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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