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Eric Goosby's Guide to Living with HIV/AIDS

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Eric Goosby's Guide to Living with HIV/AIDS

Picture of Jeff  Kelly Lowenstein

This post discusses physician Eric Goosby's book about living with the HIV virus.

Jeff Kelly Lowenstein's blog
Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Physician Eric Goosby has been fighting AIDS among African Americas since the disease first emerged during the early 80s, and has written a book to help in that effort.

Published in 2004, Living With HIV/AIDS: The Black Person’s Guide to Survival is an accessible, practical and informative guide about the virus, its causes, effects and courses of treatment.

The book starts with a scenario that shows how easily and in how many different ways HIV can be spread throughout a community.

Goosby packs plenty of other information into this comparatively slender book. He has clear explanations about what HIV and AIDS are, about the need to get tested and take appropriate preventive measures, about accessing available health care, about getting support to deal with having the virus and about general wellness practices such as sleep and exercise and a healthy diet.

Much of the material in the book could apply to people from any background , and Goosby also sections that specifically address black readers. For example, he writes about “opportunistic infections” like tuberculosis or thrush that are more likely to occur when one has contracted the virus and that hit black people at higher rates than they hit white people.

In addition to individual chapters that address the issue of AIDS and black women, being black and gay and HIV/AIDS and addiction, the book has a list of resources after the final chapter.

The writing style is conversational and direct. Goosby also addresses head-on reasons that black people may have not to trust the medical establishment such as the Tuskegee Syphillis experiment that the United States conducted on nearly 400 black men during a 40-year period starting in the 1930s.

He acknowledges the reservations people may feel about trusting in the medical system, but urges them to get tested and to access available drugs. He also is frank about disparities in drug distribution and access between black and white communities.

Goosby also effectively discusses the difficulty that people may have talking openly about the virus with family, friends, fellow church members or past lovers, but encourages readers to find the strength to have those conversations both to be responsible to the people involved and to receive much needed support.

Living with HIV/AIDS does not break new scientific ground nor does it provide incisive analysis about the reasons behind the virus’ spread in black communities, but those are not the book’s purposes. For people looking for a useful primer about HIV and AIDS, this is a solid place to start.