HIV/AIDS: The Facts and The Fiction
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Paperback: 218 pages
Publisher: Health Alert Communications (February 10, 2012)
Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.5 x 0.5 inches
Book Review by Kam Williams
“Unfortunately, a series of interlocking misconceptions have distorted scientific and public perceptions of HIV and the AIDS epidemic… Given a sober review, the scientific literature is clear: (1) New York City is the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic; (2) the theory that HIV came from monkeys is a fallacy; and (3) the African AIDS epidemic-as-holocaust never manifested.
The goal of this work is to reconfigure the conceptual paradigm of the HIV/AIDS epidemic such that resource allocations and healthcare interventions work to serve the benefit, and not the detriment, of the populations at need.”
-- Excerpted from the Preface (pg. xiii)
A few years ago, I saw a documentary about AIDS which began by asking which of a number of places had the highest HIV infection rate. I was shocked to learn that the correct answer to the question was the only American city on the list, Washington, DC, since all the other choices were either in Africa or the Caribbean.
He has devoted much of the last 20 years in quest of the truth about the AIDS epidemic. The upshot of that herculean effort is HIV/AIDS: The Facts and The Fiction, a seminal work which does an excellent job of dispelling myths in the hope of educating the populace and encouraging politicians and the medical community to reorder their priorities.
For example, the author argues that because of the widespread belief that Africa is the epicenter of AIDS, a disproportionate amount of resources are wasted on circumcisions and/or anti-retroviral drugs on patients there who aren’t apt to be infected. Meanwhile, the readily-winnable fights against more lethal diseases on the continent, like pneumonia and diarrhea, go underfunded.
Such surprising revelations abound in Jennings’ informative reference text. Though academic in nature, his encyclopedic treatise nevertheless arrives augmented by a helpful glossary which makes it all accessible to the layman by explaining the meanings of dozens of such obscure terms as “cytotoxic,” ”immunoglobulin” and “neurotropic”.
A priceless primer which corrects plenty of prevailing misconceptions about AIDS merely by accurately reporting medical evidence rather than re-circulating false rumors.
Chris Jennings (Harvard, B.A., Biology 1976/77) excels at writing scientific books that fulfill the needs of professionals while rendering the science accessible to the average reader. His prior book, Understanding and Preventing AIDS: A Book for Everyone, was favorably reviewed by the New England Journal of Medicine, adopted for staff education and reference by Massachusetts General Hospital - the hospital affiliated with Harvard Medical School, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the Walter Reed Army Medical Institute; city, state, and federal health agencies; and utilized as a textbook at colleges, nursing schools, and public health schools.
In addition to conducting investigative research of the scientific and medical literature, Chris Jennings provides writing services to the pharmaceutical, medical, and diagnostic industries. He has written HIV assay (antibody test) specification sheets, articles about the juxtaposition of the HIV assay in the diagnosis and clinical management of HIV infection, articles about diagnostic assay architecture, and clinical trial reports for submission to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on several antiretroviral drugs and drugs versus AIDS-related opportunistic infections.
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