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The Politics of AIDS in Africa

Amy S. Patterson
The Politics of AIDS in Africa
ISBN: 978-1-58826-452-7
ISBN: 978-1-58826-477-0
2006/226 pages/LC: 2006011923
Challenge and Change in African Politics
Related titles: The Global Politics of AIDS edited by Paul G. Harris and Patricia D. Siplon and
The Church and AIDS in Africa by Amy S. Patterson

"Likely to appeal to both specialists and readers new to the topic.... Rich in detail.... For readers trying to get a handle on why African governments have had such difficulty dealing with the epidemic, Patterson's book is a good introduction."—Josh Busby, Political Science Quarterly

"Patterson has written an important book, one that shows how historical realities mix with political culture and the dialectics of the interactions between local and global processes to produce dissimilar results in African states struggling against AIDS.... I strongly recommend [it]."—Chimaraoke O. Izugbara, African Studies Review

"Explores the political capacity of various states to develop and institutionalize solutions to this devastating epidemic.... Highly recommended."—Choice

"Patterson's welcome book reveals how the unique characteristics of the modern African state both help and hinder the battles being waged against the AIDS epidemic on the continent."—Robert L. Ostergard, Jr., University of Nevada-Reno


Why do some African states commit more effectively than others to the fight against AIDS? How do power inequalities and decisionmaking institutions shape Africa's ability to combat the disease? Within the context of debates about the nature of the African state, its relations with civil society, and its reliance on external donors, Amy Patterson presents a systematic study of African state efforts to battle the AIDS epidemic.

Patterson directly tackles the topics of power, representation, accountability, and leadership. She closely examines the impact of formal and informal institutions, transitions to democratic governance, and pressures from the international community. Her focus on the politics of state actions brings to the forefront the crucial need for a new, constructive, and sustainable politicization of the struggle against AIDS.


Amy S. Patterson is professor of political science at University of the South. She is editor of The African State and the AIDS Crisis.


  • Why Study the Politics of AIDS?
  • The African State and the AIDS Pandemic.
  • Democratic Transitions: A New Opportunity to Fight AIDS?
  • Civil Society's Influence on the Politics of AIDS.
  • External Donors and Political Commitments.
  • Beyond Politics as Usual: Institutionalizing the AIDS Struggle.