Monday, December 01, 2008

World AIDS Day. Fiction Spin.

December 1 is World AIDS Day.

And by now most everyone has gotten the message about getting regular testing if they're sexually active, or about how to avoid risks or protect partners related to HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections. Prevention info here. Find a testing site here.

Since fiction often reflects the lives of the society around us, many authors have featured HIV, AIDS, and other STD-related storylines in their novels. In my first novel, Down For Whatever, I featured a "popular with the boys" character Rafael who faces his own health crisis after a number of fun, yet unprotected, encounters in L.A.

Some others that I've read and enjoyed include:

What Seems Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage. Features a main character who discovers she is HIV-positive, and decides how she is going to live her life and future in victory and not defeat.

Just As I Am by E. Lynn Harris. Features a very moving (I remember crying when I first read it) HIV storyline as friends who recently graduated from college learn a member of their clique has become infected.

Lil Mama's Rules by Sheneska Jackson. A 30-year-old woman in L.A. has set very stringent dating and relationship rules. When she finally lets someone in, the results are life-threatening and eye-opening. Absolutely LOVED this book.

The Day Eazy-E Died by James Earl Hardy. When news of Eazy-E's death due to HIV hits the news, it causes the main characters of this novel to reflect on their sexual and relationship choices.

What I most like about these novels and their approach to health education is that the messages aren't preachy or beating people up for their choices. They reflect daily lives of likeable characters who face and deal with challenges head on.

What are other novels you've read that feature AIDS, HIV, or other STD related storylines?


Anonymous said...

There is a 1994 documentary film entitled, "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (No Regret)" by Marlon Riggs.
It concerns five black gay men living with HIV/AIDS. The five men being profiled in the film are all writers and activists you may (or may not) have heard of. The film was put out by Frameline. Everybody has heard of Marlon Riggs' "Tongues Untied" but it seems no one has heard of "No Regret" (or at least no one talks about it). See it and pass the word.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to say that "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (No Regret)" is an absolutely amazing film. At approximately 40 minutes, it's not too long and not too short. The black women's singing group 'Sweet Honey and the Rock' (I think that's the name) provides incredible background vocals. See it and be swept off your feet.

Unknown said...

I will have to check out Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (No Regret) by Marlon Riggs. The only thing I can think of is Noah's Arc Season 2 when Raz B stars as a young man who finds out he is HIV positive and must disclose the news to his boyfriend.