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HIV/AIDS: Past, Present and Future


In the West, many think of HIV/AIDS  as a phenomenon that began in the 1980s, when news first broke of a mysterious and highly deadly disease. In reality, however, the history of HIV/AIDS stretches back more than a hundred years, and has been shaped by some of the most important trends of the 20th century: from European colonialism in Africa, to the proxy conflicts fought between allies of the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, to the globalization and economic neoliberalism that transformed the global economy in the late twentieth century. On this episode of History Talk, hosts Eric Michael Rhodes and Lauren Henry speak with three experts — Thomas F. McDow, Kathy Lancaster, and Jesse Kwiek— about the origins, spread, and future of HIV/AIDS in both the United States and around the world.

sign on a tree that reads Know Your HIV Status, adults and children walking away

For more Origins coverage of HIV/AIDS and other related topics, check out Thomas F. McDow's feature Origins article A Century of HIV, as well as A New Congo Crisis?, Searching for Wakanda: The African Roots of the Black Panther Story and The Soccer World Goes to South Africa: Sport and the Making of Modern Africa.

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Posted December 2018