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Surviving the Fall: The Personal Journey of…

Surviving the Fall: The Personal Journey of an AIDS Doctor

by Dr. Peter A. Selwyn M.D.

Other authors: Sherwin B. Nuland (Foreword)

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Unlike most memoirs that deal with HIV/AIDS, Selwyn's discussion deals almost entirely with the patients and doctors on the margins of the discussion: for the most part, his patients are not gay or involved in any activism; for the most part, the doctors he discusses are not focused on the science of the disease or treatment, but on triage. In other words, Selwyn's patients are drug-users and addicts who garner little to no sympathy in society, or even with their families, and he and the doctors around him are not seeking to make names for themselves--they are simply the ones who must attempt to deal with HIV/AIDS as it attacks the communities they live within. For these reasons, the memoir is worthwhile still, albeit somewhat dated if someone is actually hoping to learn more about the place of HIV/AIDS in our current society.

Written and published in the mid-late 90s, the book is clearly dated when it comes to the science of the virus: treatment has come a long way, and while there is no cure still, there is hope. On the other hand, it's frightening what has Not changed. Stigmatization and apathy are still serious issues, as are misconceptions about who HIV/AIDS affects, how, and where infected populations are growing most quickly. Aside from science, though, Selwyn's voice is notable for its readability and for the fact that he is the average doctor--he's not a rock star scientist attempting research and treatment and fame along the way: he's simply a doctor faced with impossible circumstances and a so-far incurable disease. In discussions of this position, his voice is at its most powerful.

Readers familiar with HIV/AIDS related nonfiction will find Selwyn's work novel only in the fact that it deals primarily with drug users instead of patients infected through sex, casual or otherwise. But, his voice alone is rather novel, even if the territory is old. For this reason, I absolutely recommend this work as a quick read and as a memoir, and one which works poignantly to attempt an understanding of an issue which Still affects all of us, ignored or not. As a witness, Selwyn IS remarkable. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Jul 21, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dr. Peter A. Selwyn M.D.primary authorall editionscalculated
Nuland, Sherwin B.Forewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Yale University Press

2 editions of this book were published by Yale University Press.

Editions: 0300071264, 0300082762

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