The impact of AIDS on Western polities serves as a useful indicator both of social values and of political and organisational relationships. At the same time, community-based nonprofit organisations have been at the forefront of AIDS policy-making and service development. Taking Britain and Germany as case studies, this paper discusses similarities and differences in the functions accorded to the voluntary sector in the pattern of responses to HIV and AIDS. Typical problems confronted by emergent voluntary sector welfare agencies are noted and particular features of AIDS service organisations described. Separate accounts are then given of the development of a federated network of AIDS service organisations (ASOs) in Germany and of contrasting experience in the UK. While governments have shared a concern to confine the activity of ASOs to serving the needs of those groups directly affected by AIDS, other significant differences in policy development may be attributed to differences in the organisational structure of the health sector.

Source: Voluntas 3 (1) 29-47