Focus On Living

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Overview

More than 900,000 Americans are now living with the HIV virus. Although thousands of them die each year, advances in medical treatment have allowed many people to control the infection and survive longer. But what are their lives like? This book combines superb photographs and compelling first-person accounts to document the feelings and experiences of a wide range of Americans who are carrying the HIV virus. In these pages, men and women speak candidly about their lives, their relationships, and how they have come to terms with the presence of this chronic and potentially deadly disease. The forty people in the book come from a diverse array of geographic, economic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. They are young and old, gay, straight, bisexual, and transgender. Some have unexpectedly extended their lives and gone back to work, thanks to protease inhibitors and other new drugs. Others worry about the side effects of the medicines and struggle tomaintain their health. What becomes clear in these interviews is that HIV is everybody's disease -- it knows no boundaries. Yet there are some in our society who still prefer to blame the afflicted rather than embrace them. By allowing HIV-positive people to speak openly and movingly about their lives, Focus on Living seeks to remove the curtain of invisibility that still cloaks the disease and to reduce the stigma that contributes to silence.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Since 1997, San Francisco photographer Banish (City Families: Chicago and London) has been interviewing and photographing Americans who are living with HIV or AIDS; this book collects 40 of her portraits along with transcriptions of her subjects' first-person testimony. An introduction from Paul A. Volberding, professor and chair of medicine, University of California at San Francisco, points to "abuse, abandonment, hatred, and stigma," but also to the fact that "when people are confronted by disaster, major transformations can occur." Banish's unadorned portraits, often shot at her subjects' homes, are subtle and dignified, and the narratives have a lucid strength, even in despair. Some of Banish's subjects have died, a fact Banish reports with feeling but without sentiment. Others tell of how new drugs and other treatment have extended their lives; as Paula Peterson writes, "Now I feel like a full-fledged participant, and that means I fail or succeed in ways that are much like everybody else, that sometimes I'm good at living, and sometimes I'm not." The disease crosses all lines of race, class, gender and sexual orientation, and Banish takes care to include people from all walks of life, fostering an expanded sense of community and further breaking the silence and statistics that surround people living with HIV and AIDS. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
A more apt subtitle for this work would be Self-Portraits of Americans with HIV and AIDS, for it features the life stories of 40 people in their own words. The "interviews" are actually well-edited monologs of people affected by HIV, who describe how they became infected, how the virus has changed their lives, and how they are coping. Photographer and interviewer Banish (City Families: Chicago and London) successfully reveals the diversity of HIV's victims: they are of all races, ages, sexual orientations, and social classes, and they live in cities, towns, and rural areas. Unlike Carolyn Jones's Living Proof, which uses photography to create positive images of people with HIV/AIDS and has only brief captions describing their lives, Banish's photographs serve primarily as illustrations to the text and wisely try not to detract from the individuals' stories. Work on this book began in 1997, so some of the life stories are dated, but a few updates inform the reader that the individual has died. Recommended for all AIDS collections and for larger libraries.-Jeffrey Beall, Univ. of Colorado at Denver Lib. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558493940
  • Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press
  • Publication date: 7/30/2003
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Preface
Introduction: Witnessing an Epidemic
Maurice Anthony 3
Cleve Jones 7
Nicholas Metcalf 17
Kim Olivares 21
Joseph Jacques 31
Jaevaughn 37
Paula Peterson and Griff Butler 41
Stephanie Rhodes 51
Dierro Muniz 57
Bernard Pechter 63
Dorothy Chapman and Whitney Grant 69
Ricci Jo Moix 75
Susan Rodriguez 83
Michael Naraval 89
Sherri Bennette 95
Connie Amarathithada 101
Demetri Moshoyannis 107
Deborah Scheer, mother of Dillon 113
Arthur Martin 121
Robin 127
Beverly Henry 135
Judi Ricci 141
Ron Wilmot 147
Diane Adams 155
William Mason 161
Stephanie Selisky 165
Ruben Alicea 171
Beth Hastie 177
Marvin Wells 183
Seana O'Farrell 189
Edward L. Kingsley 195
Steven Isenberg 203
Luis Delgado 209
Penny 213
Luana Clark 217
Jerry Peterson 223
Ron Glasser 229
Anya Blackman 239
Donna Nathan 245
Vince Crisostomo 251
Glossary 259
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