Tinderbox: How the West Sparked the AIDS Epidemic and How the World Can Finally Overcome It (Google eBook)

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Penguin, Mar 1, 2012 - Science - 432 pages
4 Reviews
In this groundbreaking narrative, longtime Washington Post reporter Craig Timberg and award-winning AIDS researcher Daniel Halperin tell the surprising story of how Western colonial powers unwittingly sparked the AIDS epidemic and then fanned its rise. Drawing on remarkable new science, Tinderbox overturns the conventional wisdom on the origins of this deadly pandemic and the best ways to fight it today.

Recent genetic studies have traced the birth of HIV to the forbidding equatorial forests of Cameroon, where chimpanzees carried the virus for millennia without causing a major outbreak in humans. During the Scramble for Africa, colonial companies blazed new routes through the jungle in search of rubber and other riches, sending African porters into remote regions rarely traveled before. It was here that humans first contracted the strain of HIV that would eventually cause 99 percent of AIDS deaths around the world.

Western powers were key actors in turning a localized outbreak into a sprawling epidemic as bustling new trade routes, modern colonial cities, and the rise of prostitution sped the virus across Africa. Christian missionaries campaigned to suppress polygamy, but left in its place fractured sexual cultures that proved uncommonly vulnerable to HIV.  Equally devastating was the gradual loss of the African ritual of male circumcision, which recent studies have shown offers significant protection against infection.

Timberg and Halperin argue that the same Western hubris that marked the colonial era has hamstrung the effort to fight HIV. From the United Nations AIDS program to the Bush administration's historic relief campaign, global health officials have favored well-meaning Western approaches--abstinence campaigns, condom promotion, HIV testing--that have proven ineffective in slowing the epidemic in Africa. Meanwhile they have overlooked homegrown African initiatives aimed squarely at the behaviors spreading the virus. 

In a riveting narrative that stretches from colonial Leopoldville to 1980s San Francisco to South Africa today, Tinderbox reveals how human hands unleashed this epidemic and can now overcome it, if only we learn the lessons of the past.

  

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Tinderbox: How the West Sparked the AIDS Epidemic and How the World Can Finally Overcome It

User Review  - Barbara Hoffert - Book Verdict

Carried harmlessly for centuries by the chimpanzees of Cameroon, the HIV virus was unleashed when colonialists plowed their way through previously untraveled reaches of Africa, escalating human-animal ... Read full review

Review: Tinderbox: How the West Sparked the AIDS Epidemic and How the World Can Finally Overcome It

User Review  - Melody - Goodreads

I read this for a class. I have to write a paper comparing social consequences of AIDS in Africa to the Black Death in Europe. After reading this I realized how incredibly uninformed I was on the ... Read full review

Contents

PROLOGUE
BOOK I
1
2
3
4
5
6
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25

7
8
BOOK II
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
BOOK III
26
27
28
29
30
EPILOGUE
APPENDIX
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
NOTES
ADDITIONAL SUGGESTED READINGS
CHART AND ILLUSTRATION CREDITS
INDEX
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Craig Timberg is the former Johannesburg bureau chief for The Washington Post. From his position, he visited twenty-three African nations  and penned dozens of major stories about AIDS. He is now The Washington Post's deputy national security editor.
Daniel Halperin, PhD, is an epidemiologist and medical anthropologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and has taught at Harvard and the University of California, Berkeley. He was a top technical adviser in the US government's PEPFAR program to combat AIDS.

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