Jonathan Mann, HIV/AIDS, and human rights

J Public Health Policy. 2008 Apr;29(1):54-71. doi: 10.1057/palgrave.jphp.3200160.


The early association of HIV/AIDS with marginal groups - homosexuals and IV drug users - structured social and political responses to the disease. Many countries began to enact restrictive travel policies and to contemplate compulsory testing or quarantine for those infected. In Africa, Jonathan Mann became convinced that the disease was heterosexually transmitted and had the potential to become a worldwide pandemic. He convinced Halfden Mahler, Director General of WHO, who appointed him director of the WHO's Global Programme on AIDS. In this position, and because of his eloquence and passion, Mann was able to mobilize ministers of health around the world. Mann argued that AIDS was a social disease, flourishing in conditions of poverty, oppression, urban migration, gender inequality, and violence. He advanced a new way of understanding AIDS and AIDS policies based on a human rights framework.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / history*
  • Africa
  • Global Health
  • Health Policy
  • History, 20th Century
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Human Rights / history*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Public Health Administration / history*
  • United States
  • World Health Organization / history

Personal name as subject

  • Jonathan Mann