Half the people in the United States who are diagnosed with HIV are now African American. Through the eyes of those on the front lines of the crisis, journalist Jacob Levenson tells a story of race and public health that spans fifty years and reveals how AIDS has become one of the leading killers of young black men and women. Medical researcher Mindy Fullilove investigates the epidemic’s links to crack cocaine, the Bronx fires, and national health policy. Desiree Rushing must reconcile her crack addiction and HIV infection with the fate of her city, family, and the black church. David deShazo, a white AIDS worker in Alabama, fights to prevent the American South from becoming the epidemic’s new epicenter. And Mario Cooper, a gay, infected son of the black elite confronts the boundaries of American race politics in Washington, D.C. Seamlessly interweaving personal stories with national policy, Levenson indelibly captures this devastating epidemic and illuminates its potential to expand our understanding of race in America.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Secret Epidemic|
|Release Date: 02-03-2004|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||The Secret Epidemic|
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The Secret Epidemic
WHAT IF THEY'RE DYING? What the hell am I gonna do about their babies? The questions raced through David deShazo's mind. He was chain-smoking Marlboros as he drove north out of Mobile, up State Highway 17 into the Alabama countryside. A black garbage bag stuffed with blankets, baby clothes, and toys took up most of the dusty backseat of his Pontiac. The car was cold and reeked of stale smoke; his heater was busted, and he didn't have the two hundred bucks it would cost to get it fixed.
It was eight-thirty Friday morning, November 10, 2000, and he was headed up to Choctaw County to find two black sisters who were infected with HIV. The girls lived with their mother and two baby sons down a dirt road somewhere outside Gilbertown, near the Mississippi border. The caseworker in Selma, who was supposed to be in charge of their case, had told David that morning that they hadn't been heard from in seven months. Now winter was coming, and as best he knew, they didn't have heat, a telephone, or a car to get to the doctor. He just hoped that neither of them had developed full-blown AIDS. He took a draw off his cigarette, squinted through his bug-smeared windshield at the two-lane highway, and tried to fight down a flickering current of anxiety.
His twenty-one years of social work had produced enough dark memories for David to be able to reassure himself that he was prepared for anything he might encounter. The memories had a way of floating through his head and calming him. Sometimes he could all but see that pretty brown-haired girl he was supposed to help at the mental hospital in Mobile. She had been molested and had sliced herself up with a