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The Truth about AIDS met a pressing need in the late 1980s for clear information on the unfolding HIV epidemic. Many Christian doctors grappling with its grave implications appreciated the distinctively biblical approach of Dr Patrick Dixon's book. Any book on AIDS dates rapidly and AIDS and You is the third edition and a shorter, more accessible version of The Truth About AIDS.
Former Archbishop Desmond Tutu estimates that churches and Christian organisations are providing over 60% of HIV community programmes in Africa. Dr Dixon and ACET (AIDS Care Education Trust) have played a part in mobilising the response of Christians in the UK and supporting the response of many Christian groups internationally. The book summarises the role of followers of Jesus as those who should provide unconditional, compassionate care for all affected by HIV/AIDS and teach effective prevention while respecting and upholding the historic teachings of the church.
These principles are used to address issues such as the use of condoms, HIV testing, the relative risks of transmission, stigma, the secret of a good sex life and dealing with death. Dr Dixon's skill at communicating without medical jargon makes the book suitable for a wide audience. Health care professionals involved in education and developing HIV prevention and care initiatives will find it a useful tool.
Such a book would be incomplete without some advice on how to make a practical response and a new chapter has been added on 'Good practice in HIV/AIDS projects'. Inspiring case studies and a valuable section on principles for mobilising a church response were the highlights for this reader. However, the chapter has the look of an overlong appendix and would benefit from being reorganised and trimmed for the next edition.
Royalties from sales of the book are being used to make it more widely available in the countries most affected by HIV where it will undoubtedly be a valuable asset to many communities. The full book text may be found at www.acet-international.orgReviewed by
Specialist Registrar in Infectious Diseases
at King George Hospital, Goodmayes, Essex