New RTI Press book shares first-person accounts of pioneers and survivors of the early days of the AIDS epidemic

“HIV pioneers” sheds light on epidemic through 29 personal narratives

HIV Pioneers

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC— A new book, HIV Pioneers: Lives Lost, Careers Changes, and Survival, captures the riveting stories of doctors, researchers, survivors and their loved ones who battled the virus during the early days of the epidemic. The book was edited by Wendee Wechsberg, PhD, director of RTI International’s Global Gender Center, and the Substance Abuse, Gender and Applied Research program.

Co-published by RTI Press and Johns Hopkins University Press, HIV Pioneers is a collection of nearly 30 first-person narratives and historical essays from pioneers and survivors across the United States and internationally. The collection aims to preserve the historical firsthand accounts, voices, and insights of people who battled the virus or worked on the harrowing frontlines during the early epidemic.

“There is so much we can learn about the prevention and management of global epidemics from the pioneers and scientists who conducted groundbreaking HIV research,” Wechsberg said. “And there are invaluable life lessons to be gleaned from the courage and grace and dignity of survivors and their families and the impact HIV had on their lives.”

These stories take readers on a poignant journey through the frightening early days of HIV by sharing their experiences with and through diverse communities, including the LGBTQ community, substance users, people with mental illness, and the nurses and doctors treating them, among others.

As scientists continue to design the most effective interventions to help people living with HIV, this book provides a timely and moving retrospective with important lessons learned from the past and an eye to applying them to future epidemics.

The book is available through Amazon and Johns Hopkins University Press.