Customer Reviews


5 Reviews
5 star:
 (2)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Out of Africa
In "The Origins of AIDS" Jacques Pepin, an expert in infectious diseases who has spent many years working in Africa, explains how HIV spread from a few cases in the Congo in the 1920s to the pandemic it is today.

The story begins with SIV (Simian Immunodeficiency Virus) which is present in chimpanzees and is genetically identical to HIV. It is thought that SIV...
Published on 18 April 2012 by Eleanor

versus
0 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A POINT OF VIEW
FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS LIVED THROUGH THE EPIDEMIC AND HAS REMAINED HIV NEG I FIND THIS BOOK PURELY A POINT OF VIEW WITH LITTLE FACT.THE THEORY THAT IF UR ANCESTORS SURVIVED THE BLACK DEATH AND THAT U WOULD HAVE IMMUNITY ISNT EVEN MENTIONED .G WATCHED MANY MANY OF MY DEAR FRIENDS DIE IN TERRIBLE WAYS IN THE 80S 90S MEDICAL STAFF WERE AFRAID .UNDERTAKERS WERE AFRAID .HOW DO...
Published 18 months ago by CENTRAL LONDON MAN


Most Helpful First | Newest First

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Out of Africa, 18 April 2012
By 
Eleanor (Oxford, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Origins of AIDS (Paperback)
In "The Origins of AIDS" Jacques Pepin, an expert in infectious diseases who has spent many years working in Africa, explains how HIV spread from a few cases in the Congo in the 1920s to the pandemic it is today.

The story begins with SIV (Simian Immunodeficiency Virus) which is present in chimpanzees and is genetically identical to HIV. It is thought that SIV originated in chimps about 300 years ago and was transmitted to humans by cut hunters or cooks who butchered the animals. Then in about the 1920s someone infected in this way had the opportunity to spread the virus more extensively. Pepin argues that two factors allowed for the amplification of HIV: urbanization with an attendant increase in prostitution, and most significantly massive colonial disease eradication projects which resulted in mobile units injecting hundreds of people an hour with insufficiently sterilized needles. From here HIV steadily became more prevalent until one infected Haitian introduced the disease to their country precipitating (via the plasma industry) an epidemic which eventually spread to the US and the world.

Scientists are pretty certain about some of the steps in this story, others are more conjectural; however, Pepin builds a convincing argument with plenty of context and comparable examples. One does not have to have a scientific background to understand his argument and this is, for the most part, a readable book which fills a gap in the literature on AIDS. My only criticism would be with Pepin's overuse of exclamation marks (e.g. "Approximately 250,000 paid donors (a quarter of a million!) acquired HIV.") which is indicative of a wider problem of tone.

How SIV originated in chimps is outside the scope of the book, as is the history of AIDS from the eighties and the personal experiences of AIDS sufferers. For those interested in the early history of AIDS in the US, I would recommend Randy Shilts's excellent And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a plausible explanation for the real origin of the AIDS pandemic, 24 Oct. 2011
By 
Emc2 (Tropical Ecotopia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Origins of AIDS (Paperback)
Despite its academic nature this book is a page-turner, you will enjoy it like a really brilliant CSI episode. Dr. Jacques Pépin was quite successful in writing a book that reaches both academics and the laymen. Until now all the serious discussions and theories about the origins of the AIDS pandemic had been limited to academic journals. The book point of departure is based on these research findings, which are presented in the first chapters, and provide a comprehensive and very good summary of the state-of-the-art for the laymen. The reader shouldn't be intimated by some technical language, as the book was written for all audiences and the author did the extra work of explaining medical jargon for the general public when required, and anyway, most of the times you do not need to remember all of it to fully grasp the main storyline (just keep in mind a few key concepts, particularly the definition of HIV-1 group M, and subgroups B and C). Also from the start, Dr. Pépin debunks the two most common theories that tried to explain the origin of the AIDS pandemic.

After a very impressive Sherlock Holmes-like detective work through historical records, Dr. Pépin develops a very plausible explanation, going back to the colonial era in the early 1900s all the way to the early 1980s, with very solid theory, based on both circumstantial and hard evidence, following the path of the virus from Africa, to Haiti, and to the U.S., Europe and the rest of the world. The author did not intended to go any further, as the history and evolution of AIDS has been already covered by several authors.

The evolution of this pandemic illustrates one more time the unintended and even disastrous consequences of good intentions, and also, how medicine works and evolves in the real world. I do not wish to comment on the details of Dr. Pépin findings to avoid spoiling the story, but if you really need to know beforehand, take a look at the New York Times recently published article about Dr. Pépin's contribution, which tells the whole story in a nutshell.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting and informative read, 5 Jun. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Origins of AIDS (Paperback)
This book as it says in the title looks into where AIDS comes and how scientist came to their conclusion. This is a very well structured and well written book. A very interesting an informative read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A POINT OF VIEW, 14 Nov. 2013
This review is from: The Origins of AIDS (Paperback)
FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS LIVED THROUGH THE EPIDEMIC AND HAS REMAINED HIV NEG I FIND THIS BOOK PURELY A POINT OF VIEW WITH LITTLE FACT.THE THEORY THAT IF UR ANCESTORS SURVIVED THE BLACK DEATH AND THAT U WOULD HAVE IMMUNITY ISNT EVEN MENTIONED .G WATCHED MANY MANY OF MY DEAR FRIENDS DIE IN TERRIBLE WAYS IN THE 80S 90S MEDICAL STAFF WERE AFRAID .UNDERTAKERS WERE AFRAID .HOW DO THESE PEOPLE FEEL NOW? THEY MUST BE RACKED WITH GUILT.THIS BK IS BEST AVOIDED
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A theory, not proven in fact, 6 Nov. 2012
This review is from: The Origins of AIDS (Paperback)
Any one who reads this book has to understand that what is presented here is merely a theory.

A friend once remarked that" ... IF AIDS really did originate in Africa, surely the population of the continent would
have been COMPLETELY DECIMATED by now (given the poor, primitive and pathetic medical facilities generally
available - together with the very promiscuous nature of some of its people)".

This seems like common sense. making it hard to accept the conclusion of this theory (and others) as to the African
origin of the disease.

There are other theories of the origin of the disease that must be explored since the theory of its African origin seems
to me, at any rate, to be merely a convenient 'carpet' to brush things under.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Origins of AIDS
£18.04
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews