Dr. Margaret Craven discusses HIV/AIDS from the perspective of a front-line clinician. AIDS is unprecedented in both the speed with which it spread across the globe and in the mobilization of efforts to control it. It is a disease of modernity. Along with the relative ease and velocity of modern transportation methods, other background conditions include Western medicine, with hypodermic needles and bloodbanking, intravenous drug use, and the development and concentration of gay culture. In the U.S., early public health attempts at understanding and combating the virus were hindered by right-wing domestic political and religious forces. Successful containment of epidemics cannot be achieved under the spell of hypocrisy and politicization; rather, medicine and education must be evidence-based and practical.
Reading / Film assignment: Verghese, My Own Country Film: Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt
This course consists of an international analysis of the impact of epidemic diseases on western society and culture from the bubonic plague to HIV/AIDS and the recent experience of SARS and swine flu. Leading themes include: infectious disease and its impact on society; the development of public health measures; the role of medical ethics; the genre of plague literature; the social reactions of mass hysteria and violence; the rise of the germ theory of disease; the development of tropical medicine; a comparison of the social, cultural, and historical impact of major infectious diseases; and the issue of emerging and re-emerging diseases.
Course Structure: This Yale College course, taught on campus twice per week for 50 minutes, was recorded for Open Yale Courses in Spring 2010.