Aids – The Yugoslav Way?

The Initial Response to Aids in Slovenia and Yugoslavia (1984–1987)


  • Maja Lukanc



AIDS, Slovenia, Yugoslavia, politics, stigma


AIDS appeared in the Slovenian and Yugoslav territory in the mid-1980s, when Yugoslavia faced an economic crisis and increasing political discord, while at the same time the Slovenian society was characterised by accelerated democratisation and liberalisation. This article addresses the question of how the Slovenian – and to some extent the Yugoslav – politics, experts and public reacted to the arrival of AIDS. Drawing on the periodical press and supplementary archival sources, the article outlines the measures adopted by the state in the struggle against AIDS. It also highlights the disagreements that emerged among Yugoslav experts and between federal and republican authorities in dealing with the new disease. In this paper, the response to AIDS serves as a prism for examining the capacity of Slovenian and Yugoslav authorities to deal with complex socio-medical issues, the functioning of the Slovenian and Yugoslav medical profession, and the state of the Slovenian media. It also provides insight into public attitudes towards republican-federal antagonisms and the stigma of disease, thus revealing the state of socio-political values in the Slovenian and Yugoslav territory during the turbulent 1980s.


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