An HIV/AIDS reading list

by Justin J. January 15, 1995


I am often asked, "hey what! do you believe everything you read?" My answer is, not nearly everything I read. Just because someone took the time to write something down, does not mean it is "Gospel" truth. I have been known to browse the supermarket checkout tabloids while waiting in line at a register; pure time killing entertainment! One would have to be naive or a few short of a six-pack to believe such claims as, "Elvis seen boarding UFO on White house lawn," or "Big foot spotted at San Francisco Gay Pride parade, in full leather." Then we get into the world of conspiracies; JFK, UFO's, Tuskeegee, AIDS and I am forced to look deeper into such matters. As a Christian, I know that man in his current state is capable of almost unthinkable deeds. I do not exclude myself from this fallen and broken state, but being a Christian at least makes me more aware that we are not necessarily "lily white" by nature. But then, this is not an essay on religious belief and I will keep most of that for an article dealing with the spiritual dimension of disease.

The explosion of Self help and recovery books seem to have really taken off during the 70's and into the 90's. You can heal/fix just about anything that ails you by just reading a book. This does not take into consideration the work that might be required, beyond reading the book and nothing more. It also does not consider the variability of human experience, "Your mileage may vary." So I raise my hand and admit that I read hundreds of self help books over the years; some were pretty good, many others, not so good. From there, I dipped my feet in the waters of "New Age" readings. Most of what I read rang of snake oil and hocus-pocus. There were others who got a lot out of following new age teachings, but I dropped them before returning to my Christian roots.

When I was a boy (a long time ago, in a galaxy far...far away) you might be able to find a handful of books by a an equally small number of authors on any given times have changed! Now with the ever expanding global information explosion, there are literally millions of opinions on an equally mind boggling menu of topics and sub-topics. So one has to exercise an increasing amount of discernment in selecting materials. Some experts have accused me of fatal levels of! I do not believe in the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, or Elvis sightings. The jury is still out for me in the areas of UFO's, government cover-ups, AIDS and other medical topics. I do not inherently "trust" those in powerful positions, but do my own research on the side. My lack of trust has little to do with paranoia or hanging out in "alt.conspiracy", but again, my Christian roots tell me to weigh what the world tells me. Money, power, fame and fortune have much more to do with what we are told than "altruism."

Within the last year I have added the internet to my resource list of information, "total anarchy reigns supreme!" Actually, I have WOWED my personal doctor and others with materials down-loaded from the Worldwide Web, "be the first kid on your block to know who really shot JFK and where the remains of space aliens are kept." I do try to keep things in perspective, that those contributing materials to the web are regular folks like me, people with their own opinions. You may take what I write with as much or little as you wish. Within the last three months I have down-loaded about 30 meg of text files dealing with aids, hiv, chronic fatigue, cancer, oxygen therapy, UFO's, government dirty deeds, etc. It will probably take me the rest of 1995 to weed out and digest this much material.

All I can say is use some discretion in believing half of what you read. I could be proved totally wrong, that hiv is the sole and only causative factor in aids and I DO have a 100% guaranteed death sentence. A little denial though, can keep you alive. There is that BIG part of me that is skeptical about the experts' total knowledge about any subject....egos and reputations are at stake after all.

If you enjoy, or have enjoyed anything that I have contributed to wherever I send these files, please let the owners of such resources know. I prefer to remain anonymous for various reasons, save to say I AM a real person who really has been dealing with hiv, among a host of other nightmarish experiences for over 10 years. As time allows I would like to forward articles on the spiritual dimension of aids, cancer and dis-ease, some true life examples of people who have been living well with hiv for 10 or more years and the darker side of how homosexuals without hiv have treated those with it. The religious far right do NOT monopolize the fear and hatred market here.

The following list is by no means "exhaustive," but only includes books that I have personally read. Some of these may be hard to find today (out of print). If anyone who reads this reaps any benefit, life saving or otherwise, then that is all I wish as payment. Enjoy, stay well and may God bless you!

Regards, Justin J.
Cambridge, Massachusetts
January 1995