Focus On Living

Portraits of Americans with HIV and AIDS
An intimate look at the challenges faced by people infected with HIV and AIDS in America


More than 900,000 Americans are now living with the HIV virus. Although thousands of them die each year, advances in medical treatment have allowed many people to control the infection and survive longer. But what are their lives like? This book combines superb photographs and compelling first-person accounts to document the feelings and experiences of a wide range of Americans who are carrying the HIV virus. In these pages, men and women speak candidly about their lives, their relationships, and how they have come to terms with the presence of this chronic and potentially deadly disease.

The forty people in the book come from a diverse array of geographic, economic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. They are young and old, gay, straight, bisexual, and transgender. Some have unexpectedly extended their lives and gone back to work, thanks to protease inhibitors and other new drugs. Others worry about the side effects of the medicines and struggle to maintain their health.

What becomes clear in these interviews is that HIV is everybody's disease—it knows no boundaries. Yet there are some in our society who still prefer to blame the afflicted rather than embrace them. By allowing HIV-positive people to speak openly and movingly about their lives, Focus on Living seeks to remove the curtain of invisibility that still cloaks the disease and to reduce the stigma that contributes to silence.

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