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For gay men who are HIV-negative in a community devastated by AIDS, survival may be a matter of grief, guilt, anxiety, and isolation. "In the Shadow of the Epidemic" is a passionate and intimate look at the emotional and psychological impact of AIDS on the lives of the survivors of the epidemic, those who must face on a regular basis the death of friends and, in some cases, the decimation of their communities. Drawing upon his own experience as a clinical psychologist and a decade-long involvement with AIDS/HIV issues, Walt Odets explores the largely unrecognized matters of denial, depression, and identity that mark the experience of uninfected gay men.
Odets calls attention to the dire need to address issues that are affecting HIV-negative individuals--from concerns about sexuality and relations with those who are HIV-positive to universal questions about the nature and meaning of survival in the midst of disease. He argues that such action, while explicitly not directing attention away from the needs of those with AIDS, is essential to the human and biological well-being of gay communities. In the immensely powerful firsthand words of gay men living in a semiprivate holocaust, the need for a broader, compassionate approach to "all" of the AIDS epidemic's victims becomes clear. "In the Shadow of the Epidemic" is a pathbreaking first step toward meeting that need.
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About the Author

Walt Odets is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Berkeley, California. A member of the AIDS Task Force of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, he has spoken and written frequently on the psychosocial issues of HIV-negative men and AIDS prevention for gay men. He is also an editor and contributor for the series AIDS Management: The Role of the Mental Health Community and a contributing author to Therapists on the Front Line: Psychotherapy with Gay Men in the Age of AIDS.

Reviews

Being HIV-negative is not much discussed in the gay community. On the surface it seems incredible that people would need support services for being "well." But that is only if one does not fully comprehend the identification of AIDS with the gay male community and the issues both AIDS and gayness pose for society in general. Odets, a clinical psychologist in private practice in Berkeley, goes beyond the surface and digs deep into notions of survivor guilt, group identification, isolation, positive/negative relationships, "The Politics and Humanity of Gay Sex," and survival. One may not agree with some of his conclusions, but he will make one think. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.-Lee Arnold, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

"Odets presents an often harrowing picture of frailty and vulnerability on a massive scale, and his book is a much-needed corrective to the complacent view that everything is basically OK in the domain of gay men's safer sex education. In the Shadow of the Epidemic will doubtless become an instant locus classicus for subsequent debate about the short- and long-term psychological impact of the epidemic and the types of intervention necessary to reduce wide-scale suffering."-Simon Watney, author of Practices of Freedom: Selected Writings on HIV/AIDS

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