My sister gave me 28 Stories of AIDS in Africa by Stephanie Nolen for my birthday. I just finished it tonight. Obviously, it's not a cheery book by birthday standards, but I am so glad she gave it to me. I should have read it ages ago, but I was scared it would be just too devastating.
To my surprise, it wasn't devastating. I expected it to introduce me to individual people living and dying with AIDS in Africa. What I didn't expect was how much I would learn from it -- about history, politics, economics, scientific research, culture and gender. Even more, it was a call to action. There is still hope. As Gideon Byamugisha, an HIV positive Anglican priest in Uganda, says, "We know AIDS needs a clinical approach, but that won't succeed if poverty stays the same, literacy stays the same, inequality stays the same. HIV shows us the holes in our relations: how we trade with one another, how we relate as genders, how we deal with one another on governance and politics. Those are the things we have to fix."
This book should be required reading for anyone who can read.
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