This book is aimed initially at students who want to study the history of the Aids epidemic but who currently have no starting point from which to enter the vast and often technical literature. Other readers will also find it a helpful introduction to a subject of immense contemporary importance. This book explains the origins and nature of the virus and the unique epidemic it has caused: the progress of the epidemic across the African continent; the circumstances that have made its impact so severe; the responses of governments, international bodies and NGOs; the moral and political controversies; the effect on households, social systems and economics; the care of the sick and the search for remedies and vaccines; and the impact of antiretroviral treatments. Professor Iliffe has forty years experience of teaching in Africa and Britain. His books on modern African history are renowned. This book uses medical, anthropological and eye-witness sources but assumes no prior knowledge. This is an accessible book on the most terrible catastrophe of modern times.