Reviewer: Mark D. Goodman, MD (Creighton University Medical Center)
Description: This is a collection of well written essays exploring the legal, social, and political ramifications of HIV/AIDS.
Purpose: The purpose is to explore the role of law and policy for those living with HIV/AIDS, and for the communities dealing with this epidemic. These worthy objectives are met. In his preface, Professor Gostin attempts to show how HIV/AIDS affects the entire population, "by influencing our social norms, our economy and our country's role as a world leader."
Audience: The book is written for "advocates, lawyers, health professionals, scholars and the concerned public," as stated in the opening. The author is a noted AIDS activist, governmental advisor scholar, and scientist, and brings tremendous credibility to the book.
Features: The book is divided into five major sections dealing with AIDS in the courtroom; rights and dignity; policy, politics and ethics; special populations; and AIDS in the world. Numerous illustrations, as well as tables and maps, are scattered throughout the chapters. The book is especially to be celebrated for its regard for the rights of patients as individuals. It provides an interesting and refreshing alternative to many books on this subject, which tend to favor public health measures over private rights. A thorough review of the current state of the law follows, including such subjects as blood donors/banking, partner notification, HIV-specific criminal statutes, and perinatal testing to name a few. The subject is enormous, but Professor Gostin does an excellent job of corralling the information and presenting it in an instructive and comprehensive way.
Assessment: This book is of the highest quality, and of a much more humanistic tone than others in the field.