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Despite the huge social, economic and emotional effects of HIV/AIDS worldwide, economics has largely failed so far to provide useful insights on the pandemic. This failure is particularly significant in that it constitutes a weakness in #xE2;#xAC;#xDC;mainstream#xE2;#xAC;" economic theory, the economic approach used by most governments and institutions. This important new study shows how a political economy approach can bring meaningful insights to our understanding of the spread and impact of HIV/AIDS. Part I of the book sets out the role that economic analysis has had, and why it can be judged to have failed. The book explains how, and why, economics has been applied to a terrible pandemic, using a range of examples mostly drawn from the region most affected, sub-Saharan Africa. Part II shows that microeconomic approaches have found fertile ground in a public health approach that #xE2;#xAC;#xDC;blames#xE2;#xAC;" individual choices for HIV transmission, but argues that these approaches fail to explain contemporary patterns of HIV prevalence. Part III of the book looks at our problems in understanding the economic impact of AIDS, and explains why economists cannot agree if epidemic disease is a good or bad thing for economic development.