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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: John A. Robinson, MD (Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine)
Description: This book is Seattle's contribution to the continuing blizzard of HIV/AIDS treatises in formats ranging from manuals or handbooks to epic encyclopedias — how many more are needed?
Purpose: It is intended as a guide for the treatment of AIDS, a worthy but well-worn objective.
Audience: The audience would include medical students, residents, general internists, and family practice physicians.
Features: As a starting point, a purist might interpret a misspelling in the preface of this manual as a bad omen. At a deeper level, while the editors have attempted to maintain its currency, the timing of this publication is unfortunate in the face of the extraordinary new revelations in the areas of multiple drug therapy and clinical efficacy and the requisite need for no more than only CD4 receptors to establish infection. Neither milestone could be discussed. One could look at the bright side and debate whether or not the chemokine co-factor, no matter how exciting, is important for the physician on the front-line diagnosing and treating HIV/AIDS, but the technical impossibility of actually making such a guide, manual, or handbook "current" might prompt future authors attempting to do so to think twice and forego the challenge. In our case at least a third of this manual could have been deleted to make it more workable as a pocket companion for the treating physician — for indeed it does provide good source material for drugs available, drug side-effects, drug interactions, and schema of conventional modes of treatment. It also has a helpful tabulation of drug companies providing medications for indigent HIV-infected patients. The manual suffers from serious clutter and fragmentation. More than a few chapters are 2 to 4 pages long and strict editorial enforcement of consolidation into regional organ systems or any other grouping would have made this book more reader efficient. Like many other AIDS manuals or guides, the book descends inevitably into an infectious disease/dermatology format.
Assessment: Overall, the book is an adequate source for the physician who occasionally encounters AIDS patients; it provides little help to ones deeply immersed in the care of these complex patients. It is unfortunate that, as a hardcover book, it will not be readily accessible in the outpatient and inpatient setting but instead may languish on a hospital library shelf.