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By Alex Preda

Analyzing the formation of clinical wisdom in regards to the AIDS epidemic within the Eighties, Alex Preda highlights the metaphors, narratives, and classifications which framed medical hypotheses in regards to the nature of the infectious agent and its transmission. Preda compares those arguments with these utilized in the clinical research of SARS. He demonstrates how medical wisdom approximately epidemics is formed by means of cultural narratives and different types of social inspiration via an in depth evaluate of biomedical courses.

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Aids Rhetoric and Medical Knowledge

Analyzing the formation of medical wisdom concerning the AIDS epidemic within the Nineteen Eighties, Alex Preda highlights the metaphors, narratives, and classifications which framed clinical hypotheses in regards to the nature of the infectious agent and its transmission. Preda compares those arguments with these utilized in the medical research of SARS.

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I also examine letters, editorial pieces, and comments published in Nature, another highly prestigious journal. Nature, however, did not publish clinical or epidemiological articles on AIDS in the early 1980s (it published articles on the genetic structure of HIV after 1983). Compared with Science, Nature published more features, but less scientific articles between 1983 and 1989. During this period, Science published a total of 335 features and Nature a total of 420 features. 71%. In 1983, for example, Nature did not publish any scientific article about AIDS, while Science published 6.

One objection could be raised here: it may well be that the “medical AIDS discourse” is actually made up of heterogeneous threads running in different directions. But what actually counts is the way in which they are made sense of in particular contexts by medical practitioners, bound by their particular, locally determined practices. In other words, what counts is the way in which texts are read in particular contexts and how this reading process is related to significant aspects of local medical practices.

Introduction 35 The counterargument is that the rules of knowing cannot be separated from the rules of persuasion. Just take the literary conventions of scientific papers, which begin with the textual arrangement in clearcut sections claiming to perform the reconstruction of how knowledge was produced in the clinic or laboratory: which cases were observed, what was seen, what methods were used, which results the lab analyses arrived at, whether or not therapy had an effect, and finally, what conclusions can be drawn from this long process of gaining knowledge.

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