Stories of AIDS in Africa

Book - 2008
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From one of our most widely read, award-winning journalists - comes the powerful, unputdownable story of the very human cost of a global pandemic of staggering scope and scale. It is essential reading for our times.

In 28 , Stephanie Nolen, the Globe and Mail's Africa Bureau Chief, puts a human face to the crisis created by HIV-AIDS in Africa. She has achieved, in this amazing book, something extraordinary: she writes with a power, understanding and simplicity that makes us listen, makes us understand and care. Through riveting anecdotal stories - one for each of the million people living with HIV-AIDS in Africa - Nolen explores the effects of an epidemic that well exceeds the Black Plague in magnitude. It is a calamity that is unfolding just a 747-flight away, and one that will take the lives of these 28 million without the help of massive, immediate intervention on an unprecedented scale. 28 is a timely, transformative, thoroughly accessible book that shows us definitively why we continue to ignore the growth of HIV-AIDS in Africa only at our peril and at an intolerable moral cost.

28 's stories are much more than a record of the suffering and loss in 28 emblematic lives. Here we meet women and men fighting vigorously on the frontlines of disease: Tigist Haile Michael, a smart, shy 14-year-old Ethiopian orphan fending for herself and her baby brother on the slum streets of Addis Ababa; Alice Kadzanja, an HIV-positive nurse in Malawi, where one in six adults has the virus, and where the average adult's life expectancy is 36; and Zackie Achmat, the hero of South Africa's politically fragmented battle against HIV-AIDS.

28 also tells us how the virus works, spreads and, ultimately, kills. It explains the connection of HIV-AIDS to conflict, famine and the collapse of states; shows us how easily treatment works for those lucky enough to get it and details the struggles of those who fight to stay alive with little support. It makes vivid the strong, desperate people doing all they can, and maintaining courage, dignity and hope against insurmountable odds. It is - in its humanity, beauty and sorrow - a call to action for all who read it.

From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: Toronto : Vintage Canada, 2008.
ISBN: 9780676978230
Characteristics: 407 p. :,ill., maps, ports. ;,23 cm.
Alternative Title: Twenty-eight


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Apr 02, 2019

Amazing, eye opening and inspiring. Although there has been so much change in HIV and AIDS research the book and stories within it deliver a face to the tragic realities associated with lack of education as well as religious beliefs.

Sep 13, 2011

These are haunting and powerful stories that help us understand the great toll in human suffering caused by AIDS.

Stephanie Nolen writes, "The most valuable thing that you can do to fight the AIDS pandemic in Africa is to talk about it".

These stories can facilitate those conversations with others because they go so beyond the facts and figures, and offer something tangible.

Sep 13, 2011

These stories gave me a glimpse into the personal lives that are affected by this enormous problem. When one reads the news and statistics, the problem seems far away, the people are anonymous, TIA ("This is Africa"). But, as I read these stories, I thought to myself, this could be me, how would I cope? Stephanie Nolen also conveys hope in story after story of people who rise to the occasion, and who demonstrate leadership and courage. She suggests ways to help and I think after reading this book, most people will want to do something.

Feb 27, 2009

Stephanie Nolen has crafted a series of haunting, absorbing and deeply moving profiles of people from many walks of life and circumstances (from a truck driver to a doctor to a beleagured grandmother to Nelson Mandela), all dealing with the scourge of HIV/AIDS in their lives and communities. I anticipated that this book might be a depressing read, but the individuals profiled are engaging and inspiring, even as their stories wrench at your heart.

Still, the societal forces that continue to allow the disease to spread through neglect, fear, prejudice, ignorance and worse are infuriating, and *that* is depressing. What the 28 individuals exemplify and what Nolen exhorts at the end of the book is that the most vital thing we can all do to fight this pandemic is to fearlessly and persistently talk about it. She also details and personally endorses AIDS care and treatment organizations in Africa that probably deserve everyone's support.

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