If you want to learn more about HIV/AIDS and related issues, the number of books available can be overwhelming. Here are a few resources to help if you don’t know where to get started, or just want some ideas. I’m hoping to keep adding new book reviews: the blurbs provided below will link to longer reviews. Scroll down to find suggested reading lists from various sources.
The Skeptic’s Guide to the Global AIDS Crisis (Rev. Ed.)
Dale Hanson Bourke
The Skeptic’s Guide to the Global AIDS Crisis is Dale Hanson Bourke’s invaluable “pocket guide” style handbook on HIV/AIDS basics. Short, well-organized, readable, and virtually jargon-free –- I’ve never encountered anything quite like it. For people just getting interested in the issues, this is far and away the best introduction to HIV/AIDS I know. For those with more background, this could be a much-appreciated reference. I can’t recommend this book enough. (full review)
From Acting on AIDS
Here are three recommended reading lists from Acting on AIDS, with short blurbs on each of the books. Most (but not all) of these are Christian publications; several are directly associated with world vision.
- HIV and AIDS Booklist
Of the books on this list, I’ve only read The Hope Factor. It’s a pretty good resource, though it can get repetetive, as a lot of the essays overlap. Probably not the book to read cover-to-cover, but could be very useful if you want to know something specific.
- Social Justice Booklist
Sadly, I haven’t read any of the books on this list, but I’ve heard great things about many of them (especially The End of Poverty, Mountains Beyond Mountains, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, and Walking with the Poor). Further, The Next Christendom is an incredibly important book. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t read it, but I want to ASAP. I took a class this spring about global Christianity, and it was immensely helpful (the prof said the only reason she didn’t assign Next Christendom because she figured too many people had read it already.)
- Spiritual Growth and Action Booklist
These books aren’t especially AIDS-specific, but I’m sure they’re worth checking out. I’ve read a little Henri Nouwen, and really liked it; I know a lot of people who really love his stuff.
From Partners in Health
Here’s a recommended reading list from Partners in Health. There are a lot of fairly specific works here, which are helpfully divided up by region and/or topic. They aren’t all about HIV/AIDS, but it looks like there’s a lot of great background info here. This is an especially good place to look if you’re interested in health issues in Haiti and the Carribbean. This site has reading recommendations (and a few films) on the following topics:
- United States
- Development and Globalization
- Food, Water, Housing
- Human Rights and Justice (I’ve seen “Amistad”, listed here, and it’s incredible.)
- Structural Violence (I’ve also seen “Born into Brothels,” which is also brilliant. Very raw and sometimes hard to watch due to the situations involved, but a fascinating, unique, and surprisingly hopeful film.)
Here’s a book review from IRIN/PlusNews, talking about Jonny Steinberg’s book Sizwe’s Test. (NOTE: This book is called Three Letter Plague in South Africa, but was published under the title Sizwe’s Test in the United States. This book is about HIV/AIDS in the country of South Africa. Here’s an excerpt from the review:
Steinberg raises more questions about South Africa’s AIDS crisis and what it means for the country than he can answer, but he suggests it is an enigma that Western science alone cannot solve. People, in all their complexity, lie at the heart of the pandemic, and it is their hopes and fears, beliefs and motivations that must be understood before goals like universal access can be achieved.
Have reading suggestions of your own? Leave a comment below, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org!