The Aids Generation
The faces of AIDS have certainly changed, and now in America, where two entire generations have now lived past the devastation, Perry N. Halkitis' new book "The AIDS Generation" is giving a voice of strength to a community that has long suffered in silence. AIDS is no longer the death sentence that it was once considered, when it was known as the "gay cancer"; the author ventures into the personal stories of survivors who waged the battle, and by example, demonstrate a level of resiliency that is to be admired.
Here are the real heroes, finally profiled and championing the efforts to destroy the stigma that still permeates our culture and those living with HIV/AIDS.
Beginning in 2010 and as part of a continuing project Halkitis began to chronicle the lives of the survivors -- the men of the AIDS Generation -- gay men now living well past their life expectancy and changing the way the world views HIV/AIDS. Though each experience is unique, there is a thread the binds us all, and the fear that once drove many into the bowels of ignorance is no longer a factor. We are essentially, as is revealed, all part of the AIDS Generation.
Halkitis examines the current evolution of the epidemic from all perceptible angles, and easily creates a narrative that is informative, compassionate and illustratively necessary, especially in our disassociated contemporary history. As our community expands, its civil rights crystalize, gay men are aging in a world that is primarily obsessed with its healthy "youth culture." What does this mean? How does it affect the psyche of a group that once believed that AIDS would have robbed them of any chance for a full life? Hope is a powerful thing.
Perry N. Halkitis' "The AIDS Generation" helps to redesign the gay community, and understand more fully the changing scope of gay in America -- as well as embrace a once frightening piece of our history and own it as an empowerment for furthering our place in the grand scheme. Until it's gone, we will still stand resilient.