More information about controversial AIDS books.



Michael Callen, 'Surviving AIDS' Harper Collins Publishers USA 1990, 254 pages, ISBN 0-06-016148-5.

In 1982 - the year Michael Callen was diagnosed with AIDS - his prognosis was grim. Most doctors believed that no one survived AIDS for much longer than a year. But eight yearss later, Michael is one of hundreds of long-term survivors of AIDS who are still alive and doing fine. In fact, Michael is doing so fine that he's testified before Congress, produced a record album, self-published a magazine, co-created People with AIDS Coalition (an organization that offers counseling, financial services, and social activities to those diagnosed with AIDS), and co-founded Community Research Initiative (a community-based organization that tests promising drugs to fight AIDS).

Probably the greatest myth about AIDS is that it's always fatal, an automatic death sentence. With Surviving AIDS, Michael Callen fights against the public ignorance and sloppy reporting that have created this damaging lie. He tells both his own story and, through in-depth interviews, the stories of thirteen other long-term survivors. A profound and moving book, Surviving AIDS profiles men and women, gay, straight, and bisexual, black, white, and brown, each of whom is living a remarkable life. These are stories of their fighting spirit, their courage, their drama, and their sometimes outrageous sense of humor, and present their answers to the question "Why am I alive?" (Michael's mother's response is that he's "too mean to die.")

In the middle of this brutal and horrific epidemic, this is a book that brings hope to those who feel hopeless; it's probable that just knowing about other survivors may help one survive. Surviving AIDS is a book filled with optimism; it closes with recent reports on the medical research that may stem opportunistic infections, which are the real killers of the disease. Michael Callen has written a book that is both a testament to the human spirit and a call to all people with AIDS to live to see the end of this epidemic.

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