Anthony Daniels

Viral Theories

The Origins of AIDS


Cambridge University Press 250pp £45 order from our bookshop

Returning from a visit to Haiti only a few years into the AIDS epidemic, I was taken ill with a mysterious fever and admitted to an infectious diseases unit where all the other patients had AIDS. The staff walked about in what looked like spacesuits, terrified of contamination by the patients, including me. In the event, I had a banal viral illness probably transmitted by mosquito; but my experience was powerfully indicative of the fear that the epidemic raised even among the sophisticated before its mode of communication was thoroughly elucidated. A couple of years later I observed with astonishment, and not a little disdain, a senior medical colleague of mine refuse to enter a room occupied by a patient who had AIDS. 

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