Selected Books produced by NPF researchers
(section under development)


AIDS, Behavior, and Culture  Edward C. Greeen and Allison Ruark (Left Coast Press, 2011)

AIDS, Behavior, and Culture presents a bold challenge to the prevailing wisdom of “the global AIDS industry” and offers an alternative framework for understanding what works in HIV prevention. Arguing for a behavior-based approach, Green and Ruark make the case that the most effective programs are those that encourage fundamental behavioral changes such as faithfulness, avoidance of concurrent or overlapping sexual partners, delay of age of first sex, and complete recovery from drug addiction.

Successful programs are locally based, low cost, low tech, innovative, and built on existing cultural structures. In contrast, they argue that anthropologists and public health practitioners focus on counseling, testing, condoms, and treatment, and impose their Western values, culture, and political ideologies in an attempt to “liberate” Third World people from sexual repression and homophobia. This provocative book is essential reading for anyone working in HIV/AIDS prevention, and a stimulating introduction to the key controversies and approaches in global health and medical anthropology for students and general readers.

Broken Promises:
How the AIDS Establishment Has Betrayed the Developing World Edward C. Green (Polipoint Press, 2011)

Former Harvard University researcher Edward Green shows how four forces-ideology, politics, a fixation on technology, and money-have produced AIDS policy failures in Africa, where two-thirds of all AIDS victims live. Dr. Green calls for a more flexible and empirically based policy focused on promoting fidelity or partner reduction-the only approach besides male circumcision that has proven effective in Africa.

Review of this book:
April 27, 2011:


The ABC Approach to Preventing the Sexual Transmission of HIV  Edward C. Green and Allison Herling (Masthof Press, 2006)

This book, an initiative of the CCIH HIV Prevention and Health Behavior Working Group, addresses common questions and answers regarding the ABC approach to HIV prevention (Abstain, Be faithful, or use a Condom). Through a clear, concise review of relevant data, it presents compelling evidence of the power of the ABC approach to dramatically reduce the sexual transmission of HIV. This document is for health professionals and non-health professionals alike, and anyone who has ever wondered if there is hope for the AIDS epidemic.

Rethinking AIDS Prevention: Learning from Successes in Developing Countries
 Edward C. Green (Praeger, 2003)

This is not another book about how AIDS is out of control in Africa and Third World nations, or one complaining about the inadequacy of secured funds to fight the pandemic. The author looks objectively at countries that have succeeded in reducing HIV infection rates…along with a worrisome flip side to the progress.

The largely medical solutions funded by major donors have had little impact in Africa, the continent hardest hit by AIDS. Instead, relatively simple, low-cost behavioral change programs–stressing increased monogamy and delayed sexual activity for young people–have made the greatest headway in fighting or preventing the disease’s spread. Ugandans pioneered these simple, sustainable interventions and achieved significant results. As National Review journalist Rod Dreher put it, “Rather than pay for clinics, gadgets and medical procedures–especially in the important earlier years of its response to the epidemic–Uganda mobilized human resources.” In a New York Times interview, Green cited evidence that “partner reduction,” promoted as mutual faithfulness, is the single most effective way of reducing the spread of AIDS.


Indigenous Theories of Contagious Disease Edward C. Green (Altamira Press, 1999) [click title to view a free online version of the book]

Far from being the province of magic, witchcraft, and sorcery, indigenous understanding of contagious disease in Africa and elsewhere in the developing world very often parallels western concepts of germ theory, according to the author. Labeling this “indigenous contagion theory (ICT),” Green synthesizes the voluminous ethnographic work on tropical diseases and remedies-as well as 20 years of his own studies and interventions on sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS, and traditional healers in southern Africa-to demonstrate how indigenous peoples generally conceive of contagious diseases as having naturalistic causes. His groundbreaking work suggests how western medical practitioners can incorporate ICT to better help native peoples control contagious diseases.


Indigenous Healers and the African State: Policy Issues Concerning African Indigenous Healers in Mozambique and Southern Africa. Edward C Green. Pact Publications: New York, 1996.


AIDS and STDs in Africa: Bridging the Gap Between Traditional Healing and Modern Medicine  Edward C. Green (Westview Press, 1994)

Green, a medical anthropologist with field experience in Swaziland, Nigeria, Mozambique, and Liberia, presents a substantial amount of data and realistic thinking. He believes that modern Western medicine and traditional sub-Saharan African healing should work together rather than compete.

The individual interviews and focus group discussions he reports show that traditional healers have done much of value and that many of them are sufficiently flexible and capable to benefit from education in some Western medical practices. Those must, however, be transmitted in the spirit of cooperation rather than imposition; each group of health practitioners, Western and African, can learn from the other; for example, Westerners can discover that in Africa the category of STDs covers many more illnesses than they include under the term.


Practicing Development Anthropology.  Green, EC, (ed), Boulder, Co. and Oxford, U.K.: Westview Press, 1986.