World AIDS Day 2012: What will you be reading?

December 1st is World AIDS Day, an opportunity to raise awareness and to unite people the world over in the fight against HIV and AIDS. As the world looks forwards, searching for a cure for AIDS, we must also remember to look back, to see where this disease came from.

AND THE BAND PLAYED ON by Randy Shilts is the definitive history of the spread of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, which brought this disease to international attention. From 1982 Shilts devoted himself to covering the story of the disease and its medical, social and political implications. A masterpiece of investigative journalism, weaving together the personal stories of those in the gay community and the medical and political establishments with political and social reporting, he exposes how AIDS was ignored, or denied, by many national institutions.

“An astounding piece of investigative journalism, a must-read for those who seek to understand the nature of this dark chapter in gay history.” — Attitude

“A heroic work of journalism on what must rank as one of the foremost catastrophes of modern history.” — The New York Times

Author Randy Shilts was the first openly gay journalist in America. While writing this book he refused to find out his own HIV status, for fear that the knowledge would compromise his journalistic integrity. Tragically, he was diagnosed as HIV positive in 1987, after the completion of AND THE BAND PLAYED ON, and he died in 1994. His legacy remains: a frighteningly powerful report of the origins of the AIDS epidemic, essential reading for all.

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