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28 Stories of AIDS in Africa, by Stephanie Nolen Essay

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Stephanie Nolen was already known for her work as the Globe and Mail’s Africa correspondent, ranging from the effects of war on women and children, to Stephen Lewis’ fight to end AIDS in Africa, when she published 28 Stories of AIDS in Africa in 2007. 28 is Nolen’s attempt to reflect the 28 million Africans who had HIV in 2007. Nolen gathered the testimonies of 28 individuals including orphans, miners, grandmothers, soldiers, the clergy, and Nelson Mandela. In this book, Nolen seamlessly integrates personal stories of the victims with shocking statistics and engrossing quotes, effortlessly bring a ‘human face’ to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This is a great piece of work demanding both empathy and immediate action.
The issues discussed in 28 Stories of AIDS in Africa are extremely complex, as they are all interrelated and compound the severity of the HIV/AIDS epidemic; however, Nolen does a tremendous job of disassembling the umbrella term of HIV/AIDS into different themes. Nolen’s presentation of poverty is very comprehensive, covering the impact of poverty on AIDS while presenting other points of view, and making the correct decision debunk the connotation of AIDS as a “disease of poverty”. Nolen’s inclusion of all sides of the issue makes her presentation of poverty truly outstanding.
Nolen accurately uses evidence and testimony to offer us insight on poverty, AIDS, their connection, and their impact on each other. She correctly identifies that AIDS not only affects the lives of already impoverished people, but also sucks more people in to poverty by weakening their health and removing their opportunities. When a person is unhealthy much of the time and does not have the energy to perform daily actions, they are not able to earn ...


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...nnect with the destruction caused by AIDS in Africa and in encouraging us to become more active in the face of this crisis. The acknowledgement did not weaken her claim, but rather solidified Nolen’s overall intention of shedding light on the AIDS epidemic in Africa.
In examining 28, we saw Nolen’s literary merit. Nolen seamlessly combined personal stories with factual evidence, included and defeated counter-arguments, and inspired us, people half a world away, to truly care about this urgent issue and care for those impacted. 28 Stories of AIDS in Africa is a must read for all, especially those with common misconceptions about AIDS. Nolen gracefully rejects the misunderstandings while breaking down the wall of stigma and meticulously pinpoints the results of HIV/AIDS on the lives of the innocent. This is a must-read book that can shape opinions as never before.



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