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Events Sun Mar 09 2014

AIDS Activist Sean Strub Stops Through Town with a New Memoir

cvr9781451661958_9781451661958_hr.jpgOne of my earliest memories of consuming media is watching barely-understood but scary news reports about AIDS in the late 1980s; today, it's conceivable that many young people might not learn about the disease until they have to take sex ed. The lower profile of AIDS today is, of course, due largely to vastly improved treatment options, but it's also dangerous, says activist Sean Strub in his new book, Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS, and Survival. He contracted HIV right around the time the epidemic hit America, and spent the next years simultaneously battling the disease and, through activist organizations such as ACT UP (where, as he puts it, "high camp and high seriousness [were] uniquely compatible"), the indifference or hostility of the institutions that might have been able to help. As he sees it, allowing this history to fade from view interferes with effectively treating a disease that is still far from cured.

Body Counts is more given to lively narrative than to polemic, but Strub's seriousness of mission is clear even in his choice of reading venues: on Wednesday, March 12, he'll discuss the book at Center on Halsted (3656 N. Halsted, at 2pm) and then at the Test Positive Aware Network (5050 N. Broadway, at 6:30pm). Attendees can expect to hear not only about the battle against AIDS, but about the contours of an energetic life that's included working the elevators at the U.S. Capitol, running as the first HIV-positive candidate for the U.S. Senate, and crossing paths with figures as diverse as Keith Haring and Jesse Helms. Both events are free.

 

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Book Club is the literary section of Gapers Block, covering Chicago's authors, poets and literary events. More...

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