Author : Perry N. Halkitis
For young gay men who came of age in the United States in the 1980s, the HIV/AIDS epidemic was a formative experience in fear, hardship, and loss. Those who were diagnosed before 1996 suffered an exceptionally high rate of mortality, and the survivors -- both the infected individuals and those close to them -- today constitute a "bravest generation" in American history.
The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival and Resilience examines the strategies for survival and coping employed by these HIV-positive gay men, who together constitute the first generation of long-term survivors of the disease. Through interviews conducted by the author, it narrates the stories of gay men who have survived since the early days of the epidemic; documents and delineates the strategies and behaviors enacted by men of this generation to survive it; and examines the extent to which these approaches to survival inform and are informed by the broad body of literature on resilience and health.
The stories and strategies detailed here, all used to combat the profound physical, emotional, and social challenges faced by those in the crosshairs of the AIDS epidemic, provide a gateway for understanding how individuals cope with chronic and life-threatening diseases. Halkitis takes readers on a journey of first-hand data collection (the interviews themselves), the popular culture representations of these phenomena, and his own experiences as one of the men of the AIDS generation.
This riveting account will be of interest to health practitioners and historians throughout the clinical and social sciences -- or to anyone with an interest in this important chapter in social history.
Cover photo courtesy of Fire Island Pines Historical Preservation Society.