Sizwe's Test: A Young Man's Journey Through Africa's AIDS Epidemic

Jonny Steinberg, Author . Simon & Schuster $26 (349p) ISBN 978-1-4165-5269-7

Award-winning South African journalist Steinberg, a gay white man, conceived this book to understand the AIDS crisis in his country and, to a limited degree, in himself: though HIV testing and treatment are readily accessible, he wondered, why did so many abstain? Steinberg journeys to the poor black village of Ithanga, where antiretrovirals (ARVs) are available, but electricity and running water are not. He examines the disease through the pseudonymous Sizwe Magadla, a 30-year-old shopkeeper who has resisted testing. Sizwe becomes Steinberg's interpreter and explains the village's traditional health-care system in which witchcraft thrives and Western medical missionaries challenge healers and herbalists. Steinberg traces Sizwe's growing awareness of the myths and realities of “the three letters”—one persistent belief, that whites created and deployed HIV as a means to regain power, echoes the legacy of apartheid still overshadowing the country—and his attempts to reconcile cultural beliefs with increasingly unassailable medical facts. Steinberg becomes intertwined with his subject, but balances critical distance and compassion with gleanings from his own psychological barriers to HIV testing that further deepen the concern and understanding he accords to Sizwe's story. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 12/24/2007
Release date: 02/01/2008
Show other formats
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-4165-6654-0
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-1-4165-5270-3
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.