In This Review

AIDS in Latin America
AIDS in Latin America
By Tim Frasca
Palgrave Macmillan, 2005, 272 pp

With moving human narratives and revealing interviews of AIDS victims and fellow activists and health-care workers, Frasca traces the responses to the AIDS epidemic in various Latin American and Caribbean countries. Although his book is short on statistics or formal analysis, Frasca finds remarkable progress in many places, and he credits Argentina, Brazil, and Chile for providing nearly universal access to HIV medication. At the same time, Frasca worries that past successes and the focus on access to life-prolonging drugs, however hopeful, are detracting from efforts at prevention and at tackling the broader social issues of sexual identity, reproductive health services, and public education. But this book is more than epidemiology: the recorded responses to AIDS are fascinating reflections of the widely diverse social mores and political attitudes across Latin American countries. For example, working relations between government agencies and independent civil-society organizations appear marvelously cooperative in Brazil, constructive but constrained in Chile, improving in Mexico, and often hostile in Guatemala. Although not Frasca's central focus, international donors generally draw approval for providing essential funds, promoting alliances among nongovernmental organizations, and disseminating information on best practices.