Finished reading: How to Survive a Plague: The Story of How Activists and Scientists Tamed AIDS by David France 📚

A book about a global pandemic that appears to have been dramatically mismanaged at first with some appearances by Dr Fauci seems all too contemporary. But this one is actually about the HIV/AIDS pandemic, primarily in the US.

There was of course a staggering death count - an estimated 40 million lives lost so far - with all the associated heart-breaking pain and misery, physical and mental, for those who caught the disease and those who loved them.

But of course what was particularly insidious in this case was that the large majority of those afflicted with the deadly infection at the start of the pandemic were gay men. And this was a population that the extraordinarily prejudiced mainstream opinion at the time was all too happy to disparage, disregard, ignore or blame. The world just seem didn’t care.

A large part of the book surrounds how in the end activist groups, often largely composed of people very ill with AIDS themselves, simply had to keep fighting for years - sometimes to the extent of basically infiltrating government or medical research organisations - until the government, scientists, pharmaceutical companies, media and indeed the rest of society couldn’t ignore the devastation any more.