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In the Shadow of the Epidemic: Being HIV-Negative in the Age of AIDS (Series Q) Paperback – July 12, 1995
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From Library Journal
Being HIV-negative is not much discussed in the gay community. On the surface it seems incredible that people would need support services for being "well." But that is only if one does not fully comprehend the identification of AIDS with the gay male community and the issues both AIDS and gayness pose for society in general. Odets, a clinical psychologist in private practice in Berkeley, goes beyond the surface and digs deep into notions of survivor guilt, group identification, isolation, positive/negative relationships, "The Politics and Humanity of Gay Sex," and survival. One may not agree with some of his conclusions, but he will make one think. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.?Lee Arnold, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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As a historical record and account of the period, probably what was wore the worst was all the psychotherapy discussions and theorizing. Granted it was addressing a very specific set of issues at a very specific time, yet today reading these sections I find myself glazing over them.
What is interesting, and I think what makes this book still relevant, are the personal accounts of Odets' patients. Having read a lot of the writings about the AIDS crisis, I find that there is very little that talks about those who were HIV negative, but still were much much part of the trauma of the time. Their story has been very marginalized. In the midst of the long psychotherapy contextualizing sections, you can find their stories. Today the stories are more interesting than the psychotherapy theory.
While the chapter on Loss and Mourning centers in on a key element of the HIV negative experience, the chapters on "Being Alone" and "Being Sexual" really stand out as talking about experiences that were rarely acknowledged during the time.
A nice contribution to our understanding of a small subset of new infections, but that's all it is.