Tag Archives: AIDS

AIDS: Thru a glass darkly

S.E.S. Medina Benbrook, Texas, United States   AIDS Cases by Exposure Category and Year of Report 1985-1996, United States. CDC/NCHSTP/DHAP/Jean G. Smith. Courtesy of Public Health Image Library. Via Public Domain Files. Public domain. I sat in the deep, cool shade of a stout, leafy Texas cedar escaping the torrid summer heat, idle thoughts meandering. […]

Dr. Joycelyn Elders: an unwelcome prophet

Howard Fischer  Uppsala, Sweden   Joycelyn Elders, former U.S. Surgeon General. From the National Institutes of Health. Via Wikimedia. Public Domain. “No prophet is welcome in his hometown.” — The Gospel of Saint Luke, 4:24. New American Standard Bible   Joycelyn Elders, MD (b. 1933) was Surgeon General of the United States of America from […]

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, United States   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 […]

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 […]