AIDS BOOK REVIEW JOURNAL No. 54

AIDS BOOK REVIEW JOURNAL

University of Illinois at Chicago

H. Robert Malinowsky

Editor

ISSN 1068-4174

Number 54-November, 1999


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957. Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century: A Book by and for Women, by the Boston Women's Health Book Collective.
958. HIV/AIDS and Employment, by Louis N'Daba, Jane Hodges-Aeberhard.
959. Soap, Water, and Sex: A Lively Guide to the Benefits of Sexual Hygiene and to Coping with Sexually Transmitted Diseases, by Jacob Lipman.
960. Nutrients and Foods in AIDS, edited by Ronald R. Watson.
961. Guide to Living with HIV Infection, 4th ed. by John G. Bartlett, Ann K. Finkbeiner.
962. Love and Anger: Essays on AIDS, Activism, and Politics, by Peter F. Cohen.
963. Lesbian Health Book: Caring for Ourselves, by Jocelyn White, Marissa C. Martinez.
964. Where the Rainbow Ends, by Jameson Currier.
965. Histories of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa, edited by Philip W. Setel, Milton Lewis, Maryinez Lyons.
966. European Guidelines for Youth AIDS Peer Education, by Gary R. Svenson.
967. Annotated Bibliography about Youth AIDS Peer Education in Europe, edited by Gary R. Svenson.
968. Mortal Men: Living with Asymptomatic HIV, by Richard MacIntyre.
969. Baltimore Portraits, by Amos Badertscher.
970. Loving Men: Gay Partners, Spirituality, and AIDS, by Richard P. Hardy.

957. Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century: A Book by and for Women, by the Boston Women's Health Book Collective. 1998. Touchstone, Rockefeller Center, 1230 Ave. of the Americas, New York, NY 10020. 780p., illus., bibliog., index. ISBN 0-684-84231-9. $21.00. (Descriptors: Health and Hygiene; Disease; Psychology.

This book has been out for over a year, receiving both raving reviews and scathing criticism. Early on it was actually banned and thought of as too radical for today's society. The fact is, it is the first book based on hundreds of women's experiences. "It places women's experiences within the social, political, and economic forces that determine all of our lives, thus going beyond individualistic, narrow, self-care and self-help approaches, and views health in the context of the sexist, racist, and financial pressures that affect far too many girls, women, and families adversely." It condemns medical corporate misbehavior. It was first published in 1970 and now completely updated and rewritten by the Boston Women's Health Book Collective, "a nonprofit organization devoted to education about women and health."

It is divided into 5 parts with a total of 27 fact-filled chapters. Of particular importance is the section on "Sexual Health and Controlling Our Fertility" which discusses such issues as whether or not to have children, sexual anatomy, birth control, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS in women, unplanned pregnancies, and abortion. Another excellent chapter is "Sexuality" where the focus of the chapter is on the statement: "We are all sexual--young, old, married, single, with or without disability, sexually active or not, transgendered, heterosexual, bisexual, or lesbian. As we change, our sexuality changes, too. Learning about sex is a lifelong process."

This is a highly recommended book that should be in every library from school to academic. There will be those who say it is too frank and they will try to prohibit it from being in some libraries. How sad. The biggest problem in today's society is that sex is continually swept under the rug, not to be talked about. Young people become confused and never know where to go for advice. Here is a book that they can go to and find the answers to the multitude of questions that they have.

958. HIV/AIDS and Employment, by Louis N'Daba, Jane Hodges-Aeberhard. 1998. International Labour Office, CH-1211 Geneva 22, Switzerland. 71p. ISBN 92-2-110334-X. $13.50. (Descriptors: Discrimination Against the Disabled; Rights of the Disabled; Personnel Policy)

This book is the result of a survey done by the International Labour Office on 12 countries where AIDS is identified as being a potential problem for those seeking employment. Those 12 countries were Brazil, Cote d'Ivoire, France, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda, and the United States. The books focus can be summed up in the following paragraph from the introduction: "The legal framework and enterprise practices in each of the countries were examined, as well as the level of HIV infection of the population, measured in terms of the rate of HIV infection of the sexually active adult population. Countries with a relatively low rate of infection have little motivation to establish regulations governing AIDS at the workplace. In contrast, countries with a high rate of infection have to adapt and develop their legal framework under the mounting visibility of the problem. Some countries that are not yet visibly affected by the pandemic have anticipated it, while others that are more severely affected have been slow to react."

Discussion of the legal framework covering employment of People with HIV/AIDS is well documented, indicating that many labor codes and regulations need to be looked at in detail, including anti-discrimination clauses, recruitment and employment testing, medical confidentiality, preventive measures, and medical coverage. This is a small book with a great amount of information. It is recommended for all academic libraries.

959. Soap, Water, and Sex: A Lively Guide to the Benefits of Sexual Hygiene and to Coping with Sexually Transmitted Diseases, by Jacob Lipman. 1998. Prometheus Books, 59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197. 191p., index. ISBN 1-57392-193-9. $18.95. (Descriptors: Sexual Hygiene; Sexually Transmitted Diseases)

We have all been taught from an early age that cleanliness is essential in life. So, what's the big deal in having a book that describes the hows and whys of being clean when it comes to sex. What was not taught at an early age was that some sexual odors are necessary in order to have interesting and satisfying sex. The problem is, however, which are proper sexual odors and which are not. Let's face it, all sex takes place around the two openings in our body that eliminate waste; waste that can carry diseases. This book explains in straight and simple terms how to keep clean, be safe, and still have good sex. It is pretty much common sense.

The major part of the book provides brief descriptions of the many sexually transmitted diseases and some that are not sexually transmitted. Included are brief discussions of balanoposthitis, Reiter's syndrome, bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, cystitis, candidiasis, tinea cruris, scabies, pubic lice, enterobiasis, viral hepatitis, amebiasis, giardiasis, salmonellosis, bacillary dysentery, campylobacter enteritis, molluscum contagiosum, chancroid, granuloma inguinale,chlamydia, lymphogranuloma venereum, gonorrhea, herpes simplex, and HIV/AIDS.

There is a glossary that includes pronunciation. Although the book is small and the discussions are brief, this is a very good all around book that discusses sexually transmitted diseases and the need to keep clean in order to reduce the risk of contracting one. Recommended for all libraries, especially school and public.

960. Nutrients and Foods in AIDS, edited by Ronald R. Watson. 1998. CRC Press, 2000 Corporate Blvd NW, Boca Raton, FL 33431. 228p., bibliog., index. (CRC Series in Modern Nutrition). ISBN 0-8493-8561-X. $89.95. (Descriptors: Diet Therapy; Nutritional Aspects Metabolism)

Proper nutrition is essential in combating any disease but with AIDS it is even more essential. With the new drug therapies, proper eating habits are a key in how well the drugs will work. "The goal of this book is to define recent advances in understanding the nutritional deficiencies of AIDS and HIV positive patients, as well as to explore the scientific knowledge of how nutritional and dietary changes and herbal medicines benefit or harm them." This book has met that goal, providing the results of various research studies.

An example of the types of research reported is the chapter that discusses the therapeutic use of pomegranate to promote health in humans. It is quick to point out, however, that "the mode of action of pomegranate extracts on bacteria and virus and its long-term effects on humans is not established." In another chapter the study of cranberries in the treatment of cancer is discussed. This is a well documented book that provides the reader with a great deal of information about ongoing studies of various foods and herbs. It is a highly recommended book for all medical libraries and would be of interest in public and academic libraries where individuals are constantly seeking out information about the nutritional value of foods and herbs.

961. Guide to Living with HIV Infection, 4th edition developed at the Johns Hopkins AIDS Clinic by John G. Bartlett, Ann K. Finkbeiner. 1998. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2715 North Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218-4319. 422p., bibliog., index. ISBN 0-8018-5853-4, 0-8018-5854-2pbk. $42.00, $15.95pbk. (Descriptors: HIV Infections; Popular Works)

Now in its 4th edition, this excellent book continues to provide for the layperson comprehensive information on living with HIV. It is a book about living a long, full, satisfying life with the virus. It covers "the parts of people's lives that HIV infection affects: their physical health, their emotional health and social difficulties, and their financial and legal problems." The book is both a reference and companion. The chapters can be read in random order. It is written in layperson terms, with medical terms explained when they are used. The 13 chapters cover such topics as communicating about HIV, understanding how HIV is spread, its effects on the body, its effects on the emotions, its effects on interpersonal relations, guidelines for medical care, HIV-associated dementia, options for medical care, medical treatments, legal matters, preparing for and accepting death, and tactics for preserving mental health.

New drug therapies have done a great deal in increasing the life span of those who are infected. There is hope that more new drugs will be developed and that a vaccine will be developed to prevent HIV and treat those already infected. For now, however, we have to cope with the virus and try to live as normal a life as possible. We need to make sure that there is no slacking of funds for AIDS research and we must spend more and more time and money on educating the young people so that they do not become infected. This is a highly recommended book for all libraries and especially for the private libraries of individuals who are HIV positive and the people who care for them.

962. Love and Anger: Essays on AIDS, Activism, and Politics, by Peter F. Cohen. 1998. Haworth Press, 10 Alice St., Binghamton, NY 13904-1580. 194p., bibliog., index. ISBN 0-7890-0455-0, 1-56023-930-1pbk. $39.95, $16.95pbk. (Descriptors: Political Aspects; ACT UP)

The New York chapter of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) celebrated its tenth anniversary. It can take pride in putting AIDS research up front, producing some of the most important advances and some of the most crucial improvements in the lives of people with AIDS. Cohen was active in ACT UP and provides in this book his observations on the subject of politics and political struggle, particularly as they relate to AIDS and ACT UP. In the first part, "AIDS, Gay Culture, and the Politics of Class," he looks at how AIDS has affected middle-class gay men as a class. In the second part, "Love and Politics," he focuses on the intersection of erotic love and activist politics. "If there is one central idea that unites my discussion of literature and activism in this book, it is that AIDS is a subject that binds Eros and politics--a highly politicized disease whose agent (HIV) is frequently transmitted through sex, and which has disproportionately affected a community (gays) organized around its sexuality."

This is truly a book about love and anger and how the two have shaped the activism and politics that surrounds AIDS. It is a must read book for anyone doing research on the literature of AIDS. Cohen is blunt and to the point, saying what he means, stressing the importance of activism. Alas, the days of highly visible ACT UP demonstrations are long gone. The question is, should we be sitting back and watching to see what will happen or should we be out there with ACT UP demonstrations? It is sad to see so many young people becoming infected with the virus because of inadequate education about AIDS. It is sad to see our political leaders give lip service to the need for more AIDS education and research, and then not adequately fund it. It is sad to see AIDS increasing in some areas of our communities and have the religious right and moral advocates turn their heads away from the problem. Maybe it is time to ACT UP in earnest! This is a highly recommended book for all public and academic libraries.

963. Lesbian Health Book: Caring for Ourselves, by Jocelyn White, Marissa C. Martinez. 1997. Seal Press, 3131 Western Ave., Ste. 410, Seattle, Washington 98121. 397p., bibliog., index. ISBN 1-878067-31-1. $18.95. (Descriptors: Lesbians; Health and Hygiene; Medical Care)

Health care for lesbians has been sorely neglected over the years because lesbians have chosen to be quiet rather than face the confrontation with a physician over their sexual orientation. As a result, lesbians are faced with the challenge of treating themselves or, if they are lucky to be in a large metropolitan area, seek out a lesbian physician. Thank goodness for Seal Press who asked White and Martinez to edit a book on lesbian health. Through many friends and colleagues they have put together a very interesting book that relives "their stories in such a way that every reader will sit next to them at the doctor's office or lie with them on the exam table, struggle with them in their embarrassment and laugh with them as they discover humor in the midst of pain."

The first part covers a bit of the history of the lesbian health movement and points out the ever present homophobia that is everywhere in the health care system. The second part, "Through Health and Illness," covers the effect of gender and class on lesbian access to health care, a surgeon's perspective of breast surgery, handling your tumor with knowledge and humor, chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome, notes concerning shame and desire, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, and lesbian denial and lesbian leadership in the AIDS epidemic. The next section, "Life's Cycle," covers with child, choosing children, aging, and death. "Living True" looks at several issues, including psychic scars, supersize women, black lesbians, and battering. The section provides the hope for the future in 4 chapters, "Lesbian Health Research," "Finding Health Information," "The Future of Our Health," and "Blueprint for the Future."

This is an excellent book that is intended to be a wake-up call for all lesbians who need to stand up and demand better health care and for support groups who need to lobby congress and bring to the attention of everyone that lesbian health care is just as important as health care to the aged. This is a recommended book for all libraries and should be a personal book for every lesbian who feels that her health care has been neglected by the heterosexual society that we live in.

964. Where the Rainbow Ends: A Novel, by Jameson Currier. 1998. Overlook Press, 386 W Broadway, New York, NY 10012. 351p. ISBN 0-87951-892-8. $24.95. (Descriptors: Novel; Fiction)

Currier is the author of Dancing on the Moon: Short Stories About AIDS; the documentary film, Living Proof: HIV and the Pursuit of Happiness; several short fiction works that have appeared in Best American Gay Fiction 3, Men on Men 5, Our Mothers, Our Selves, Mammoth Book of Gay Erotica, and Best Gay Erotica. In this novel, Where the Rainbow Ends, Currier writes about Robbie Taylor who is from the south and has moved to New Your City in 1978 where he becomes involved in gay life just as AIDS has become the epicenter of his life. His faith is continually challenged by the epidemic with the loss of many of his friends. He leaves New York City and moves to Los Angeles where he searches for faith, family and understanding. This is a moving story, that keeps you wanting to read more and more. Currier is a master in weaving all of life's successes and defeats into a story for all to read. This is a recommended book for all school and public libraries and should be on the shelves of academic libraries as a part of the literature of AIDS.

965. Histories of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa, edited by Philip W. Setel, Milton Lewis, Maryinez Lyons. 1999. Greenwood Press, 88 Post Road West, Westport, CT 06881. 267p., bibliog., index. (Contributions in Medical Studies, no. 44). ISBN 0-313-29715-0. $75.00. (Contributions: Sexually Transmitted Diseases; Africa)

This book is the second of a two-volume set covering the history of STDs and HIV/AIDS in the non-Western world. The first volume was Sex, Disease, and Society: A Comparative History of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV/AIDS in Asia and the Pacific. This second volume is powerful in the facts that are presented. The contributors have done a magnificent job in giving the reader an insight into a topic "that touches upon core themes and values of any social system: sexuality and the conditions of social reproduction."

The ten chapters cover: "Comparative Histories of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV/AIDS in Africa: An Introduction," "Sex, Disease, and Culture Change in Ghana," "Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV/AIDS in Cote d'Ivoire," "A History of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS in Senegal," "Medicine and Morality: A Review of Responses to Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Uganda in the Twentieth Century," "Local Histories of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS in Western and Northern Tanzania," "Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Colonial Malawi," "The Social, Cultural, and Epidemiological History of Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Zambia," "The Management of Venereal Disease in a Settler Society: Colonial Zimbabwe, 1900-30," and "Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century South Africa."

These are highly researched chapters that provide a wealth of information about STDs and HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa. In each case one will discover how difficult it is to fight these diseases when cultures prevent any open discussion of sex. This is a must book for all libraries in Africa and a highly recommended book for academic libraries throughout the world. More research efforts such as this need to be funded so that the total picture of STDs and HIV/AIDS in the world can be seen.

966. European Guidelines for Youth AIDS Peer Education, by Gary R. Svenson. 1998. Lund University, Department of Community Medicine, Malmo University Hospital, S-205 02 Malmo, Sweden. 54p. free. (Descriptors: Youth; Peer Education; Europe)

"The aim of these Guidelines is to provide guidance on setting up, running and evaluating AIDS peer education projects for young people. They were written with the practitioner and policy maker in mind, but should be useful to young people or anyone else wishing to gain an understanding of the approach." The Guidelines are a product of the Europeer project, formally titled The European Joint Action Plan on AIDS Peer Education to reach Young People in and outside the School System. The project was financially supported by the European Commission, the Swedish National Institute of Public Health, and the Department of Community Medicine, Lund University.

The Guidelines were developed from interviews, field notes, and an exhaustive review of the AIDS peer education literature. In addition, projects were looked at in 11 European Union member states. "An attempt was made to capture the cultural diversity of Europe and include a range of target groups." These guidelines can be found at the URL: http://www.europeer.lu.se. The 5 chapters cover "About AIDS peer education," "Policy making and AIDS peer education," "Initiating and setting up peer education projects," "Training and implementation," and "Evaluating peer education projects." Also included are the field interview questions, projects interviewed for these guidelines, and a charter and resolution. This is a highly recommended document that should be considered in other parts of the world. Our youth are so vulnerable to AIDS and current educational approaches do not seem to be working all of the time. Recommended for all libraries.

967. Annotated Bibliography About Youth AIDS Peer Education in Europe, edited by Gary R. Svenson. 1998. Lund University, Department of Community Medicine, Malmo University Hospital, S-205 02 Malmo, Sweden. 35p. free. (Descriptors: Youth, Peer Education, Europe)

This annotated bibliography is the result of scanning some 400 articles, books, reports, and papers collected between February and December, 1997, providing in-depth information about youth AIDS peer education in Europe. The bibliography is arranged under four broad topics: overviews, guidelines and resources; training materials; project reports; and theory and research related to AIDS peer education. The bibliography can be seen at the URL: http://www.europeer.lu.se. This is a recommended work for all libraries.

968. Mortal Men: Living with Asymptomatic HIV, by Richard MacIntyre. 1999. Rutgers University Press, 100 Joyce Kilmer Ave., Piscataway, NJ 08854-8099. 236p., bibliog., index. ISBN 0-8135-2596-9. $26.00. (Descriptors: HIV-Positive Persons; Interviews; Gay Men)

This book is unlike the other books that have been published over the years where the themes of the books focused largely on the deaths of lovers. It is a book about those who are surviving even though they are HIV positive. "What is fascinating about MacIntyre's subjects is that at the height of the epidemic none of them equated diagnosis with death, either psychologically or physically. Even though friends and lovers have died, while the community they knew and its way of life have largely disappeared, each of these speakers is still asymptomatic and has been so for years." MacIntyre, positive since 1985, presents in glowing prose, conversations that he has had with well-educated HIV positive gay men. Their stories are filled with compassion, fear, trust, mistrust, and all of the other feelings that appear when one is told that they are HIV positive and that the ultimate prognosis is death.

In particular it provides an insight how some individuals related to the health care system--"ranging from complete trust to fragile trust to overt distrust or fear" and how those feelings affect treatment decisions. Nathan, Mathew, Ron, Brian, Eric, Jason, Kirk, Damian, Dick, and Gabe each tell a different story of what it is like to be HIV positive, see their friends die, watch as new treatments are discovered, and always wondering when they will be next. This is an interesting book that provides the reader with some touching accounts in the lives of individuals who are HIV positive. A recommended book for all libraries.

969. Baltimore Portraits, by Amos Badertscher, introduction by Tyle Curtain. 1999. Duke University Press, PO Box 90660, Durham, NC 27708-0660. 1v. various paging, part unpaged, illus. ISBN 0-8223-2334-6, 0-8223-2368-0pbk. $69.95, $29.95pbk. (Descriptors: Portrait Photography, Transvestites, Prostitutes, Social Life and Customs, Pictorial Works)

For many, this book will be disgusting; for others it will be interesting and full of questions; to this reviewer it is a fascinating pictorial account of some Badertscher's Baltimore subjects. "For the past thirty-odd years, Badertscher has used his camera to record prostitutes and hustlers, petty thieves and addicts, drag queens and performance artists, transvestites, strippers, and drug dealers. The people who step into and out of the frames of these photos were his friends, lovers, erotic fixations, acquaintances, tricks, street kids, and pretty boys who wanted attention and affirmation."

This is not a book about AIDS (although many of the subjects have since died of AIDS), it is not about sex (although sexually explicit photographs make up the majority of the portraits), and it is not a history of the gay area of Baltimore. It is a very powerful snapshot of what was, is now, and always will be as long as mankind lives on this earth. This is true documentary photography where the documents "in these cases are people as icons of their lived lives--moments, spots, gestures, looks, instances of the transient and ephemeral." This is not a book for everyone and not a book for every library. It is probably better suited as a personal book for those who enjoy documentary photography, in this case "queer photography." It is a highly recommended book for all academic libraries.

970. Loving Men: Gay Partners, Spirituality, and AIDS, by Richard P. Hardy. 1998. Continuum Publishing Co., 370 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10017. 191p., bibliog. ISBN 0-8264-1138-X. $17.95. (Descriptors: Religious Aspects; Gay Male Couples, Interviews)

Each person has a story to tell in this world, a story that means so much to him or her. These stories have shaped the histories that have been written. Unfortunately, many stories are censored and never are seen by anyone because individuals may feel that their stories may taint history. How vain mankind is to try and make sure that we look good at all times. For centuries, people have told their stories of being gay, but society deemed it best for everyone that these stories never be put down as history. "This book hopes to provide the opportunity for the enrichment of history and spirituality as it presents the stories of various gay men who lived in loving relationships and in so doing created a spirituality." The ultimate hope in recording these stories for all to read is to open the eyes of everyone that gay couples share in suffering, joy, hope, strength, fear, love, anger, and peace. There is so much hate in society against gays. One only has to browse the internet to see that hate, read the newspapers of hate crimes against gays, and watch in anger as Phelps pickets gay funerals and parades. There are so many people who would rather we just go away and cease to exist.

Why cannot everyone realize that we will never go away. "We are gay. We are lovers. We are partners. We are celibates. We are single. We are physicians, construction workers, professors, lawyers, ministers, carpenters, priests, rabbis, artists, clerks, restaurateurs, chaplains, as well as belonging to a host of other professions in every segment of society." We are here, there, everywhere and this book records the stories of some of those who have stepped forward. HIV/AIDS has not destroyed the gays of the world and their love. "Rather it has made them every more deeply aware of the fact that whatever others might say of them, they were ordinary people who lived ordinary lives in love, concern, and compassion."

The book touches on everything that touches everyone: spirituality, dating, day to day difficulties, HIV/AIDS, preoccupations with worries, experiences of crises, values of caregivers, values after the partner's diagnosis, friends as supportive, sharing hope, and above all love. This is a must read book for all gay couples and a must read for those who doubt that gay couples have a legitimate place in society. It is a highly recommended book for all libraries.


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