Tag Archives: AIDS

Book Review: The Origins of AIDS

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover: The Origins of AIDS, Jacques Pépin. This is a revised and updated edition of a book first published in 2011. This edition is timely, as this year marks the fortieth anniversary of the first descriptions of the disease today known as AIDS. In 1981 Gottlieb and co-workers […]

One chaplain’s journey: teaching, hospice, and humanities

Terry McIntyre Forest Park, Illinois, United States   Photo by Ave Calvar on Unsplash Auburn University was an easy choice for a graduate student with two preschool youngsters. Teaching medieval literature was the draw. Later, a divorce necessitated working as a project manager in sub-contracting. When the Lutheran campus pastor in Ann Arbor wanted me […]

The use of language in health and illness narratives

Mariella Scerri Victor Grech  Malta   Portrait of Virginia Woolf in 1902. By George Charles Beresford. Public Domain. Via Wikimedia. “While I was as busy as anyone on the sunny plain of life, I heard of you laid aside in the shadowy recess where our sunshine of hope and joy could never penetrate to you.” […]

Ladies in red: medical and metaphorical reflections on La Traviata

Milad Matta Gregory Rutecki Lyndhurst, Ohio, United States   Illustration by Jason Malmberg. “. . . phthisic beauty[’s] . . . most famous operatic embodiment was Violetta Valery . . .This physical type became not only fashionable but sexy . . . When a society does not understand—and cannot control—a disease, ground seems to open […]

Danse of the virus

S.E.S. Medina Benbrook, Texas   HIV infecting a lymphocyte. © iStockphoto It is born with tens of thousands of identical brothers and sisters when the thin-walled, transparent, fatty bubble of their nurturing womb suddenly bursts—releasing them into the tumultuary rapids of the host’s bloodstream. It possesses no sense of self, no manner of consciousness—even in […]

The gift of life—from whom?

George M. Pantalos Louisville, Kentucky, United States    Students at the “Banned Blood” display outside the University of Louisville Red Barn, where a Red Cross blood drive was being held on campus in 2011.  The student’s goal was to raise awareness about the FDA lifetime deferral from blood donation of all men who have sex […]

Red Cross humanitarianism and female volunteers in Australia

Ian Willis Camden, NSW, Austalia   Red Cross volunteers assist people who were evacuated from Mallacoota to Hastings by Naval ship. Mallacoota was cut off by the bushfires that have been ravaging the east coast if Australia since late 2019. Source: Australian Red Cross with permission “There were a lot of people who had lost everything,” […]

From eponym to advocate: the story of Stephen Christmas

Peter Kopplin Toronto, Canada   Picture of Stephen Christmas. Courtesy of Robin Christmas The 1952 Christmas issue of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) had an unusual but fitting article. It was titled “Christmas Disease, a condition previously mistaken for haemophilia.”1 The seminal patient was five-year-old Stephen Christmas and the title suggested an unusual lack of […]

Vampires and Blood Trafficking: the International Red Cross campaign against Third-world plasma collection in the 1970s

William Schneider Indianapolis, Indiana, United States   1986 photo of Hantchef and successors as head of IFRC Blood program (Cropped) left to right: Evelyn von Steffens (technical adviser), Juhani Leikola (Hantchef’s successor), Polly Dussan (secretary to Leikola), Tony Britten (Leikola’s successor) and Zarco Hantchef. Source: Juhani Leikola One of the cornerstones of the WHO Blood […]

Preparing for a zombie apocalypse

Larry Kerr Carlisle, Pennsylvania, United States   Pieter Bruegel the Elder created this apocalyptic view of a world in 1562 unprepared to handle a pandemic. The painting has been in Museo del Prado in Madrid since 1827. What can we learn from a Zombie Apocalypse? The first thing to learn? It could happen. Anyone who […]