Viral: The Fight Against AIDS in America
Ann Bausum. Viking, $22.99 (176p) ISBN 978-0-425-28720-0
Bausum (The March Against Fear) commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots with this powerful history of AIDS in America, from its first appearance in the U.S. to the present. The 1970s sexual revolution may have liberated many gay men from living closeted lives, especially in cities, but sexually transmitted infections remained pervasive, condom use rare, and discrimination against homosexuality widespread. The volume shows how the U.S. government’s failure to provide adequate early funding for HIV- and AIDS-related care, education, and research contributed to the epidemic as annual deaths from AIDS soared from 130 in 1981 to over 37,000 a decade later. Interweaving stories of individuals, activism, and medical research, Bausum illuminates the epidemic’s tragic scale as well as the effort required to survive an HIV-positive diagnosis—despite continuing medical advances, some American groups retain the world’s highest risk of infection. Bausum writes with frank clarity, humanizing the urgent, ongoing crisis with great sensitivity. Photographs, a summary of key events, and additional resources close this moving, essential account. Ages 12–up. (June) Correction: A previous version of this review misstated the author's name in one line.
Reviewed on: 05/09/2019