Of the more than 40 million people around the world currently
living with HIV/AIDS, two million live in Latin America and the
Caribbean. In an engaging chronicle illuminated by his travels in
the region, Shawn Smallman shows how the varying histories and
cultures of the nations of Latin America have influenced the course
of the pandemic. He demonstrates that a disease spread in an
intimate manner is profoundly shaped by impersonal forces.
In Latin America, Smallman explains, the AIDS pandemic has
fractured into a series of subepidemics, driven by different
factors in each country. Examining cultural issues and public
policies at the country, regional, and global levels, he discusses
why HIV has had such a heavy impact on Honduras, for instance,
while leaving the neighboring state of Nicaragua relatively
untouched, and why Latin America as a whole has kept infection
rates lower than other global regions, such as Africa and Asia.
Smallman draws on the most recent scientific research as well as
his own interviews with AIDS educators, gay leaders, drug
traffickers, crack addicts, transvestites, and doctors in Cuba,
Brazil, and Mexico. Highlighting the realities of gender, race,
sexuality, poverty, politics, and international relations
throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, Smallman brings a fresh
perspective to understanding the cultures of the region as well as
the global AIDS crisis.