chapter  13
Western-style prevention for eastern gay men? AIDS prevention in the former East Germany
Rainer Herrn
ByAIDS prevention in the former East Germany Introduction: the difference between East and West
Pages 17

Introduction: the difference between East and West With the fall of the Berlin Wall the separation of Germany came to an end, and the situation concerning AIDS in the eastern part of the country changed completely. On the one hand there were fears that the welcomed political change could lead to an uncontrollable spread of HIV in the former East Germany. On the other hand, there was hope among activists in the East that AIDS prevention strategies – particularly those for gay men – would be improved, setting up a system comparable to that in West Germany. Up to that point in time, the Wall had functioned epidemiologically as a protective barrier, the amount of contact with epicentres in the West being severely restricted. AIDS prevention targeted to gay men had also been generally neglected because of the ignorance of East German state institutions, including the health system, regarding social minorities and their potential for self-help. Table 13.1 summarises the differences between the national strategies of East and West Germany regarding the prevention of HIV for gay men.