Viral: The Fight Against AIDs in America

By: Ann Bausum

Thirty-five years ago, it was a modern-day, mysterious plague. Its earliest victims were mostly gay men, some of the most marginalized people in the country; at its peak in America, it killed tens of thousands of people. The losses were staggering, the science frightening, and the government’s inaction unforgivable. The AIDS Crisis fundamentally changed the fabric of the United States.

Viral presents the history of the AIDS crisis through the lens of the brave victims and activists who demanded action and literally fought for their lives. This compassionate but unflinching text explores everything from the disease’s origins and how it spread to the activism it inspired and how the world confronts HIV and AIDS today.



Author’s note. Time line. Additional resources. Source notes. Bibliography. Index. Black-and-white photographs, charts, and reproductions.

ISBN: 9780425287200

JLG Release: Sep 2019


Sensitive Areas: Discrimination, Drugs, Homophobic slur, Mild language, Strong sexual themes
Topics: AIDS (disease) , LGBTQ history , US history , History of medicine , ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) , Social activism

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

The Horn Book Magazine*, Booklist*, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal*, Publishers Weekly

School Library Journal

Following Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights, Bausum chronicles another chapter in queer history: the HIV/AIDS crisis. Her three-part investigation begins before the epidemic, describing scenes of queer liberation in the wake of the 1969 Stonewall Riots. The “hedonistic crescendo” of the 1970s brought bathhouses, dance c Following Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights, Bausum chronicles another chapter in queer history: the HIV/AIDS crisis. Her three-part investigation begins before the epidemic, describing scenes of queer liberation in the wake of the 1969 Stonewall Riots. The “hedonistic crescendo” of the 1970s brought bathhouses, dance clubs, drugs, disco music, and free love. For gay men, the sexual freedom also introduced a mystery disease. Initially diagnosed as Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS)—a slow-progressing cancer—the disease shook the queer community and beyond when it began to rapidly spread. Activist organizations like ACT UP and its predecessors pushed the Center for Disease Control and multiple presidential administrations to research an affordable cure, arguing that “SILENCE = DEATH.” Bausum details the revolution while honoring some of the hundreds of thousands of lives lost. Expertly interweaving quotes from a variety of firsthand sources (medical professionals, writers, activists, etc.), Bausum’s precise journalism takes on an engaging narrative quality. Occasional black-and-white photographs or images highlight key figures. Though her focus, like history’s, tends to prioritize the white gay male experience, Bausum adds context to shift the focus onto other marginalized groups (particularly people of color) who were victimized in the HIV/AIDS panic. The structure paves the way for plenty of dramatic tension, resulting in a rousing, sympathetic account of a community’s pain, fear, rage, and resiliency. A timeline, source notes, and bibliography are appended. Well-researched and expertly paced, this compelling title deserves a place in all teen collections.

Horn Book

“The first to die left behind little more than their names and brief stories of chaotic, terrifying deaths. Individual by individual, they went from being seem¬ingly well to perplexingly ill in a matter of months.” When this mysterious illness struck a handful of gay American men in 1980–1981, nobody could know that the AIDS epidemic would u “The first to die left behind little more than their names and brief stories of chaotic, terrifying deaths. Individual by individual, they went from being seem¬ingly well to perplexingly ill in a matter of months.” When this mysterious illness struck a handful of gay American men in 1980–1981, nobody could know that the AIDS epidemic would ultimately kill more than 700,000 people before, in the late 1990s, medical advances made the dreaded disease something other than an automatic death sentence. Even so, more than one million Americans currently live with HIV/AIDS, with more being diagnosed every year. In a tightly written chronological narrative focusing on the bleakest years of the pandemic, Bausum writes compellingly, heartbreakingly, about the earliest days of panic in the gay community, the swiftness and relentlessness of the disease’s progression, disturb¬ing federal government inaction and indifference, grassroots AIDS research and activism, the poignant legacy of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, and breakthrough scientific research. While the narrative is chock-full of informa¬tion—names, dates, acronyms—Bausum never allows these details to obscure or overwhelm the humanity of the story. Interspersed captioned black-and-white photographs, too, underscore the story’s emotional impact. With Stonewall (rev. 7/15) and now Viral, Bausum has proven to be an impassioned and empathetic historian of gay rights for young adults. A moving author’s note, a timeline, a resource list, thorough source notes, a bibliography, and an index are appended.

Book Details

ISBN

9780425287200

First Release

September 2019

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

362.19697

Trim Size

9" x 6"

Page Count

176

Accelerated Reader

Level 0; Points: 0;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 0; Points: 0;

Lexile

Level

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Viking

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Discrimination, Drugs, Homophobic slur, Mild language, Strong sexual themes

Topics

AIDS (disease), LGBTQ history, US history, History of medicine, ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), Social activism,

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