AIDS BOOK REVIEW JOURNAL No. 50

AIDS BOOK REVIEW JOURNAL

University of Illinois at Chicago

H. Robert Malinowsky

Editor

ISSN 1068-4174

Number 50-February/March, 1999


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902. Blood: An Epic History of Medicine and Commerce, by Douglas Starr.
903. Politics of International Health: The Children's Vaccine Initiative and the Struggle to Develop Vaccines for the Third World, by William Muraskin.
904. Death, Desire and Loss in Western Culture, by Jonathan Dollimore.
905. Gay Macho: The Life and Death of the Homosexual Clone, by Martin P. Levine.
906. Meddling with Mythology: AIDS and the Social Construction of Knowledge, edited by Rosaline S. Barbour, Guro Huby.
907. AIDS and the Law: 1998-2 Cumulative Supplement, edited by David W. Webber.
908. AIDS and Adolescents, edited by Lorraine Sherr.
909. Scarlet Ribbons: A Priest with AIDS, by Rosemary Bailey.
910. After Death: How People Around the World Map the Journey After Life, by Sukie Miller.
911. Sexual Behaviour and AIDS in India, by Moni Nag.
912. Neurological Complications of HIV and AIDS, by G. Said, A. G. Saimot, M. Tardieu, C. Lacroix.
913. Human Rights and Public Health in the AIDS Pandemic, by Lawrence O. Gostin, Zita Lazzarini.
914. Sexuality and the Elderly: A Research Guide, compiled by Bonnie L. Walker.

902. Blood: An Epic History of Medicine and Commerce, by Douglas Starr. 1998. Alfred A. Knopf, 201 E. 50th St., New York, NY 10022. 441p., illus., bibliog., index. ISBN 0-679-41875-X. $27.50. (Descriptors: Blood Banks)

Blood, the lifeline of everyone, has had a long history of discovery and use. It has been abused, used, sold, and tainted. Today, there have been numerous legal suits over the use of tainted blood, tainted with the HIV virus. The most recent has been the scandal in France. There have been many legal suits that involve hemophilia patients who were given tainted blood. Since blood is the one liquid that keeps us alive, we need to be aware that the struggle over the control of blood has been going on for centuries. Blood could be called the world's most precious natural resource and compared to crude oil which sells for $13.00 a barrel, whole blood would sell for $20,000 a barrel. In its processed state, oil would sell for $42 a barrel and blood for $67,000 a barrel. So, it is no wonder that we should be concerned when we hear that there is a shortage of blood.

The first part of the book discusses the historical aspects of blood in "Blood Magic" where blood was a magical substance that was part of the human anatomy. In the next section, "Blood Wars," one sees the transformation of blood from a scientific curiosity to a strategic material. It was during this time that scientists "began to master the resource, learning the techniques of mass collections, storage, and the separation of plasma." All of this was just in time for World War II when blood was that precious commodity that saved so many lives. The last section, "Blood Money," delves into the global industry of blood. A small group of drug companies dominated the plasma business by setting up "plasma mills" in "America's skid rows, buying from the residents, who often included drug addicts and indigents" and, later, importing plasma from the Third World.

In the 1970s blood-related hepatitis killed tens of thousands of hemophiliacs and transfusion recipients. The hepatitis problem was solved but then HIV raised its ugly head. This book looks at all of these topics from the earliest magical times to the present. It "is the story of blood--the chronicle of a resource, the researchers who have studied it, the businessmen who have traded it, the doctors who have prescribed it, and the lay people whose lives it so dramatically affected." It is a must have book for all academic and medical libraries.

903. Politics of International Health: The Children's Vaccine Initiative and the Struggle to Develop Vaccines for the Third World, by William Muraskin. 1998. State University of New York Press, State University Plaza, Albany, NY 12246. 258p., bibliog., index. ISBN 0-7914-3999-2. $65.50. (Descriptors: Children's Vaccine Initiative; Vaccination of Children; Developing Countries; Vaccines)

"The Children's Vaccine Initiative (CVI) was created with the goal of saving the lives of tens of millions of poor children in the Third World through the development of new and improved vaccines. The CVI was designed to bring together all the major participants in the international health community--scientists, national and international health bureaucrats, foreign aid donors, and private and public sector vaccine manufacturers." This book discusses the successes and failures of the first six years of the CVI. It is the study of a remarkable humanitarian vision with some real successes and many real failures. Although there is no vaccine for HIV, the efforts of the CVI to develop a workable structure for producing vaccines once they are developed will help immensely when a HIV vaccine is developed. This is a very readable book that covers all of the conflicts that have come into being since the initiative was created. It is a recommended book for all academic and medical libraries.

904. Death, Desire and Loss in Western Culture, by Jonathan Dollimore. 1998. Routledge, 29 W 35th St., New York, NY 10001. 384p., bibliog., index. ISBN 0-415-92174-0. $35.00. (Descriptors: Death)

Philosophers have grappled with death and poets have told of its beauty and pain. The intertwined relationship between death and desire has been around since Odysseus and the Sirens' song, providing much to think about, discuss openly, and write about, even into today's era of AIDS where sex and death are the bedfellows. This is not a book that one can pick up and read from cover to cover over a short period of time. It has to be read slowly, in order to understand Dollimore's "remarkable ability to explain complex ideas with eloquence and grace." This is a provocative book which will make one look at sexual desire in a different way. He states: "In this book I have wanted to reach non-specialist readers without making the patronizing assumption that they will be alienated by all but the superficial. I have not just summarized texts from afar, but have preferred instead to explore them close-up in the hope of getting inside a writer's mood, language, sensibility and philosophy. But I have only included material which I regard as potentially interesting and accessible to any thoughtful reader."

He has more than succeeded in this task. Beginning with "Eros and Thanatos, Change and Loss in the Ancient World" to "Fatal Confusions: Sex and Death in Early Modern Culture" to "Freud: Life as a Detour to Death" and finally to "Promiscuity and Death," he has summarized some of the world's most noted writings on death, desire, and loss. A highly recommended book for all academic libraries.

905. Gay Macho: The Life and Death of the Homosexual Clone, by Martin P. Levine. 1998. New York University Press, 70 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012-1091. 260p., bibliog., index. ISBN 0-8147-4694-2, 0-8147-4695-0pbk. $50.00, $17.95pbk. (Descriptors: Gay Men; Psychology; Attitudes; Sexual Behavior; Masculinity in Popular Culture; Machismo; Stereotype (Psychology))

Long gone are the days of the macho man who had a trimmed beard, beautiful tan, muscled body, and an attitude that was above all attitudes. He wore tight Levis, a harness over a bare chest, and light tan work boots. He told the world who he was and what he liked through certain actions and distinctive bits of clothing such as a bandana in either the right or left rear pocket. He danced with a frenzy to such songs as "Y.M.C.A." and "I Wanna Be a Macho Man." Those were the days when one went to the gay strips or the bars to look, watch, and cruise. The non-macho man stared with envy at the macho man he longed to be. These were the clones. Everyone who had a body wanted to be one and those who did not have a body spent hours trying to obtain that body. The disco was in and wild; the leather bars were full; and the dark back bars with their secret codes for entrance were in every major city.

Then the 80s came and the black cloud of AIDS descended on everyone. The macho men and the non-macho men became sick and died at alarming rates. Fear was everywhere and the era of taking the HIV antibody test was born. Safe sex or safer sex was constantly thrust into everyone's face. The macho man was still around but he was not the same. No longer did everyone want to be like him because too many were becoming ill and dying of AIDS. Hate from the straight world increased and life for gays became more subdued.

This book is about the rise and fall of the macho man. The 80s disco song, "So Many Men, So Little Time," had been shelved because you really could not run the risk of becoming positive. Being monogamous was the talk of the town. This is an interesting book that makes one sad and angry. Why did these good times have to be squashed? Why did this fear of AIDS have to be brought into the gay community? Why? Why? Why? Gay Macho is highly recommended for all public and academic libraries. It is a historical account of that part of gay history which has brought gays together more than ever.

906. Meddling with Mythology: AIDS and the Social Construction of Knowledge, edited by Rosaline S. Barbour, Guro Huby. 1998. Routledge, 29 W 35th St., New York, NY 10001. 276p., bibliog., index. ISBN 0-415-16389-7, 0-415-16390-0pbk. $85.00, $25.99pbk. (Descriptors: Social Aspects; Sociology of Knowledge)

There are many books about AIDS as can be seen by this electronic journal with over 900 having been reviewed. Books that describe the disease. Books that report on research. Books by those who have contacted AIDS. Books by individuals who you would not think could have gotten AIDS. Books for all ages from the elementary school child to the researcher looking for a cure. So, why another book? Has not everything been said? Is there still unwritten material that can help us all to understand what is going on? The answer is that we need more and more books. We need to report more and more on what we know about this disease. We need to keep pushing our knowledge constantly so that the younger people will fully understand what is known about AIDS and, above all, how to protect themselves from this ill-fated disease.

This "book derives its unique importance, among the many thousands across the world that make up the bibliography of the epidemic, from the fact that it focuses down on the research experiences of a collection of scholars, relatively privileged, and predominantly relatively young, neither adolescent nor mortescent, neither predominantly doctors nor even patients, and, as is to be expected in the late modern world, a network rather than a group." The five sections cover: "Power," "Boundaries and Identities," "Narrative Exchange," "Representation and Agency," and "A Tribute to Phil Strong and an Overview."

Chapters with titles that follow will intrigue anyone to pick up the book, browse, and read: "Fact-finder, fag hag, fellow and funambulist: research as a balancing act," "Of tales, myth, metaphor and metonym," and "The pestilential apocalypse: modern, postmodern and early modern observations." The contributors to the 15 chapters are unique and each writes in his or her own unique way about the sociological aspects of AIDS. It is not the easiest book to read, so be prepared to take your time. It is, however, a book that you will continue to read once you have begun. It is highly recommended for all public and academic libraries.

907. AIDS and the Law: 1998-2 Cumulative Supplement, 3rd ed. edited by David W. Webber. 1998. Panel Publishers, 1185 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036. 166p., index. ISBN 0-7355-0199-8. Check with publisher for price. (Descriptors: Law and Legislation)

AIDS and the Law, formerly published by John Wiley, has become an authoritative, legal handbook. AIDS is becoming less feared, which may be good or bad. It is better understood but still not fully understood by our young people. There is still much to be done to make sure that those with HIV can continue to have productive lives. There are optimistic new treatments that have increased the life expectancy of those who are HIV positive. Unfortunately, however, the current increase of AIDS in the poor, African-Americans, and drug users are still a big concern. Testing for the HIV virus is still a hot topic in the U. S. Congress and with state legislators. The legal issues are still there and present problems, some of which are still to be investigated. Confidentiality is a big issue as are victims of crimes because of HIV status.

This cumulative supplement adds to material in the main volume in order to keep all issues as up to date as possible. It, also, includes new material, especially in the area of Criminal Law where hate crime legislation is being hotly debated. The parent volume and its supplements are highly recommended for all academic and large public libraries, and, of course, for all law libraries.

908. AIDS and Adolescents, edited by Lorraine Sherr. 1997. Harwood Academic Publishers, PO Box 200029 Riverfront Plaza Station, Newark, NJ 07102-0301. 206p., bibliog., index. ISBN 90-5702-039-4. $30.00. (Descriptors: AIDS in Adolescence; Teenagers; Sexual Behavior; Social Aspects)

Books that cover adolescents and AIDS are few. This is very unfortunate since this is the group of individuals who need to be informed about the disease more than ever before. It is, therefore, extremely important that researchers conduct research on this group of people and report their findings on a timely basis. This book attempts to take a long hard look at AIDS and adolescents. "In this text a series of contributions have been compiled to explore adolescent issues ranging from sexual behaviour, health education campaigns, HIV prevention and HIV/AIDS care."

The titles of the chapters indicate the wide coverage of the articles written by contributors from around the world: "Adolescents and HIV in Our Midst," "HIV and AIDS in Adolescence: Epidemiology," "AIDS Diagnosis in U. S. Adolescents (1981-1993)," "Facts and Fictions of Adolescent Risk," "Young People, Sexuality, HIV and AIDS Education," "Expanding the Context: Australian Adolescents' Behaviours and Beliefs about HIV/AIDS and Other STDs," "Adolescents and HIV Risk Due to Drug Injection or Sex with Drug Injectors in the United States," "Adolescents and Emerging Sexuality," "Adolescents Facing AIDS and Hemophilia," "Adaptation and Coping of HIV Infected Adolescents Living in France," "The Medical Management of AIDS in Adolescents," and "Looking forward: Future Directions for Prevention of HIV among Adolescents."

The final chapter on future directions admits that it is a formidable challenge to believe that we can change the behavior of adolescents so that they will be prevented from becoming HIV positive. However, "there is accumulating empirical data indicating that increasing condom use is an achievable goal." That is a challenge that will pit some churches against research and education. There is still too little being taught in schools about condom use and other methods of preventing one from becoming HIV positive. Parents, clergy, and politicians just do not see the light that this has to be done if we are going to keep the adolescents from becoming HIV positive. This is a recommended book for all libraries, including all school libraries.

909. Scarlet Ribbons: A Priest with AIDS, by Rosemary Bailey. 1997. Serpent's Tail, 180 Varick St., 10th Fl., New York, NY 10014. 216p., bibliog. ISBN 1-85242-521-0. $16.99. (Descriptors: Popular Works; Christianity; Priests)

This is the story of Reverend Simon Bailey, a priest with AIDS, in the Yorkshire mining village of Dinnington. The story is eloquently told by Simon's sister, Rosemary Bailey, providing "an unsentimental and poignant story for our time."

As a young priest, Simon had to accept that he was gay and then to discover and accept that he was HIV positive. He was truthful with his parish and told them, as well as the Church of England, not knowing what the outcome would be or the reaction of each individual parishioner. There was always the constant fear of media exposure and scandal but the decision of the individuals and the Church of England was to support and care for him. This book tells how all of this was brought out to the people of this mining village and to the Church of England. It is a touching story of compassion. It is, also, a story of a sister who learned so very much in trying to understand her brother's life and ultimate death. She states it well toward the end of the book: "Sue Proctor once said to me that I could not come out of this story not believing. I have tried to open myself to it all. But in the end such a story, this story of South Yorkshire does not increase my faith in God. It does increase my faith in humanity."

A recommended book for all libraries.

910. After Death: How People Around the World Map the Journey After Life, by Sukie Miller. 1997. Touchstone, Rockefeller Center, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020. 235p., bibliog., index. ISBN 0-684-83869-9. $12.00. (Descriptors: Death)

Not many people like to think of "What happens to us after we die?" This book addresses this question in detail. It recounts the universal four-stage journey after death. Sukie Miller uses answers from around the world in order to understand the 4 stages: Waiting, Judgment, Possibilities, and Return. All of these stages rely on hope which "is nothing less than the fullest expression of life itself." If anyone has thought at all about life after death, then this book should be in their possession. It explains, as best can be explained, what happens after death as determined by many cultures, individuals, and philosophers. A recommended book for personal libraries and public libraries.

911. Sexual Behavior and AIDS in India, by Moni Nag. 1996. Vidas Publishing House PVT Ltd, 576 Masjid Road, Jangpura, New Delhi 110014 India/distributed by South Asia Books, PO Box 502, Columbia, MO 65205. 157p., bibliog., index. ISBN 81-259-0125-6. $24.00. (Descriptors: India)

Moni Nag delves into the forbidden, hidden and taboo intimate area of sexual behavior. In India, talking about sexual behavior has long been forbidden. Research in this area has been neglected, even in the field of family planning. AIDS is changing this outlook. The Indian government has to now realize that education about sexual behavior is high on the list of priorities. As a result, research in this area has increased. Moni Nag "has examined, collated and synthesized current research on sexuality in India--a country that is facing a devastating AIDS epidemic." He has looked at all that has been done and "has synthesized the results of this research to examine sexual practices among youth, women and men in urban, rural and tribal communities, as well as of those who form a part of the sex industry." The book is an effort to bring sexuality and sexual behavior into the forefront of thinking by those in the government. It is an excellent book, produced at a time when India needs to be thinking seriously how they will move into the next millennium with a plan that speaks to AIDS in India and how to educate the people about it.

He lists 8 high priority topics for research: "Clients of Female Sex Workers," "Female Sex Workers living outside red-light areas," "Sexually exploited and violated groups," "Male homosexuals and male sex workers," "Sexual networks of persons with high risk of HIV transmission," "Women's control over sex in marital relations," "Sex education among adolescents," and "Strategies for increasing the use of condoms." This is a recommended book for all academic libraries.

912. Neurological Complications of HIV and AIDS, by G. Said, A. G. Saimot, M. Tardieu, C. Lacroix. 1997. W. B. Saunders, Curtis Center, Independence Square West, Philadelphia, PA 19106-3399. 202p., illus., bibliog., index. (Major Problems in Neurology, v. 34). ISBN 0-7020-1836-8. $89.00. (Descriptors: Neurology; Complications)

The neurological complications of HIV and AIDS "range from acute febrile illness at the time of seroconversion, with polymorphic, usually transient, neurological manifestations affecting the central and/or peripheral nervous system, to late onset dementia related to specific brain involvement by the virus." The book focuses on the practical aspects and on the management of patients that are affected. After a brief introduction, 7 chapters cover: "HIV-1 Associated Dementia Complex," "Neoplasms of the Nervous System," "Opportunistic Infections of the Central Nervous System," "Spinal Cord Disorders in AIDS," "Neurological Aspects of HIV-1 Infection in Children," "Peripheral Nerve Disease in HIV-Infected Patients," and "Muscle Disease."

Each chapter contains a full description of the manifestation with numerous illustrations, ending with extensive references. The chapter that covers opportunistic infections of the central nervous system contains 14 pages of references. This is a research volume that is highly recommended for all medical and academic libraries.

913. Human Rights and Public Health in the AIDS Pandemic, by Lawrence O. Gostin, Zita Lazzarini. 1997. Oxford University Press, 212p., bibliog., index. ISBN 0-19-511442-6. $29.95. (Descriptors: Patients; Legal Status, Law, etc.; Public Health Laws; Human Rights; Government Policy)

Human rights has always been a concern of HIV positive individuals. Too many times the burden of HIV/AIDS is borne disproportionately by communities already suffering from poverty, hunger, homelessness, inadequate health care, discrimination, and stigmatization. It is causing human, social, cultural, and economic costs that everyone is having to bare. Everyone in the world is entitled to the terms of human rights, "a set of fundamental claims to life, liberty, and equality of opportunity." This book aims to show how human rights and public health are intertwined, with conflicts and trade-offs. It addresses "the broad audience of concerned individuals and organizations that seek to protect the health and human rights of persons living with HIV/AIDS." Its targeted audience includes governmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations, community-based groups, policymakers, and PWAs.

The 5 detailed chapters that are well written cover: "International Human Rights Law in the AIDS Pandemic," "Harmonizing Human Rights and Public Health," "Human Rights Impact Assessment," "AIDS Policies and Practices: Integrating Public Health and Human Rights," and "Case Studies Raising Critical Questions in HIV Policy and Research: Balancing Public Health Benefits and Human Rights Burdens." This is a book that should be required reading by all of those in the policy making arena of the government. Human rights is so neglected when the government is dealing with the poor or put upon individuals such as gays and PWAs. A highly recommended book for all academic libraries.

914. Sexuality and the Elderly: A Research Guide, compiled by Bonnie L. Walker. 1997. Greenwood Press, 88 Post Road West, Westport, CT 06881. 301p., bibliog., index. (Bibliographies and Indexes in Gerontology, no. 35). ISBN 0-313-30133-6. $75.00. (Descriptors: Aged; Sexual Behavior)

"This literature review was undertaken in order to determine what caregivers needed to know about elderly sexuality, to determine the needs of elderly people related to their sexuality, and to determine how best caregivers could assist them in meeting those needs." It is strong on empirical studies. Two topics have had increased attention in the 90s--alternative life styles (gay, lesbian, and bisexual) and AIDS. More and more articles are being written on these two topics. This is an excellent guide that will be extremely useful in public and academic libraries. It provides information that is current and challenging, including a sampling of newspaper articles and magazine pieces appearing in the popular press.


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