Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic Book

Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic Book

Regular price £26.50 Sale price £23.85
/
Tax included.

The search for a “patient zero”—popularly understood to be the first person infected in an epidemic—has been key to media coverage of major infectious disease outbreaks for more than three decades. Yet the term itself did not exist before the emergence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

How did this idea so swiftly come to exert such a strong grip on the scientific, media, and popular consciousness? In Patient Zero, Richard A. McKay interprets a wealth of archival sources and interviews to demonstrate how this seemingly new concept drew upon centuries-old ideas—and fears—about contagion and social disorder.

McKay presents a carefully documented and sensitively written account of the life of Gaétan Dugas, a gay man whose skin cancer diagnosis in 1980 took on very different meanings as the HIV/AIDS epidemic developed—and who received widespread posthumous infamy when he was incorrectly identified as patient zero of the North American outbreak.

McKay shows how investigators from the US Centres for Disease Control inadvertently created the term amid their early research into the emerging health crisis; how an ambitious journalist dramatically amplified the idea in his determination to reframe national debates about AIDS; and how many individuals grappled with the notion of patient zero—adopting, challenging and redirecting its powerful meanings—as they tried to make sense of and respond to the first fifteen years of an unfolding epidemic.

With important insights for our interconnected age, Patient Zero untangles the complex process by which individuals and groups create meaning and allocate blame when faced with new disease threats. What McKay gives us here is myth-smashing revisionist history at its best.

Author Richard A.McKay
Format Paperback
Pages 400
ISBN 9780226063959

Need to be discreet? No problem! Everything is sent out in plain packaging.

Deliveries in the UK seem to be pretty much back to normal since the 20th May 2021. We only send things first class and 99% are arriving in 1 - 2 working days.

International orders are still taking longer, due to different country lockdowns, the increase in online shopping and the reduction of flights carrying cargo and deliveries around the world. You should expect international orders to take longer than normal, although many are arriving on time. Some international orders take 2 weeks, some take 2 months. That's just the way of the world at the moment.

We use Royal Mail for deliveries with a tracking barcode. Once an item is with Royal Mail, we're not able to track it until it's been delivered/signed for. 

We can not be held responsible if your order does not arrive for a certain date.

Find out more about deliveries in the UK here.

Find out more about deliveries to the EU here.

Find out more about deliveries to the rest of the world (non-EU) here.