This commentary explores explanations for the EU's increasing involvement in public health. Through an examination of two case studies — policies on HIV/AIDS and preparations for pandemic influenza — it explores the process by which new ideas are disseminated in a policy sphere and the influence of law, economic interests, and international guidelines in making public health policy. It concludes by asking, with a comparative look at the United States, whether a European convergence on measures to control communicable disease is desirable.

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