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Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic Summary

Richard A. McKay

Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic

by Richard A. McKay

Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic

Richard A. McKay

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Richard McKay examines the origins of AIDS while providing a critical assessment of how the false narrative of 'Patient Zero' emerged in the United States at the height of the pandemic.

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Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic

by Richard A. McKay

Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic

Richard A. McKay

Overview

At the height of the AIDS epidemic in the United States, it was reported that many of the country's cases could be traced to a flight attendant by the name of Gaëtan Dugas. Portrayed as recklessly promiscuous in the critically acclaimed book And the Band Played On, Dugas became a notorious figure. Yet the sensationalistic narrative would prove woefully inaccurate.

After an ordeal with a false positive AIDS test, history researcher Richard McKay became intrigued by the scapegoating of Dugas and the subsequent evidence casting doubt on the 'Patient Zero' story. In this book, McKay recounts his close encounter with the disease while revisiting how early research and coverage reflected conservative attitudes toward public health.

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"It is worth considering how difficult it would have been to be diagnosed with a disease whose origins and mode of transmission were unclear, whose sufferers drew heavy condemnation, and which ... carried a high mortality rate."

Richard McKay

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Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic

Richard A. McKay

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