<i>Aids in the Uk: The making of policy, 1981–1994</i> (Berridge, 1996): a case-study in British health policy

David Evans

in Shaping Health Policy

Published by Policy Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9781847427588
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447305576 | DOI:
Aids in the Uk: The making of policy, 1981–1994 (Berridge, 1996): a case-study in British health policy

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This chapter uses Virginia Berridge's book (1996) AIDS in the UK: The Making of Policy, 1981–1994 to interpret the policy responses to the emergence of AIDS in the 1980s as a new policy problem in the UK. The initial critical response as expressed in these book reviews was overwhelmingly positive. Other authors were largely positive but also included some degree of criticism or qualification. In terms of the longer-term academic impact, the evidence from the number of citations is mixed. There are similar mixed results with regard to impact in the policy literature. Increasingly, general social or health policy texts either omit discussion of AIDS or provide only a limited synopsis, with no citation of any primary research. A final area to consider is the impact the book has had on methodology. Berridge herself has written extensively on the value of historical methods for the study of contemporary health policy. It is a shame if, as appears to be the case, AIDS in the UK has been pigeon-holed as a history of AIDS policy book and has not been used as a case study to contribute to developing a wider understanding of the health policy process in the UK. There is much the policy world can learn from the case of AIDS in the UK about how new policy problems emerge, how policy communities form and seek to influence policy, and how governments respond to these emerging policy drivers.

Keywords: AIDS; sexual health; health policy; Virginia Berridge; policy problems

Chapter.  6522 words. 

Subjects: Health, Illness, and Medicine

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