Ashamed to Die by Andrew J. Skerritt
Silence, Denial, and the AIDS Epidemic in the South

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By focusing on a small town in South Carolina, this study of the HIV/AIDS crisis in the South reveals the hard truths of an ongoing and complex issue. Skerritt contends that the United States has failed to adequately address the threat of HIV and AIDS in communities of color and that taboos about love, race, and sexuality—combined with Southern conservatism, white privilege, and black oppression—continue to create an unacceptable death toll. The heartbreak of America’s failure comes alive through case studies of individuals such as Carolyn, a wild child whose rebellion coincided with the advent of AIDS, and Nita, a young woman searching for love and trapped in an abusive relationship. The results are most visible at the town’s segregated burial ground where dozens of young black men and women who have died from AIDS are laid to rest. Not only a call to action and awareness, this is a true story of how persons of faith, enduring love, and limitless forgiveness can inspire others by serving as guides for poor communities facing a public health threat burdened with conflicting moral and social conventions.

About Andrew J. Skerritt

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Andrew Skerritt is a longtime journalist who has contributed to publications including the St. Petersburg Times, Charlotte NC Observer, and the Tallahassee Democrat. A native of London, England, he grew up on the Caribbean island of Montserrat. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida, where he teaches journalism at Florida A&M University.
Published November 1, 2011 by Chicago Review Press. 338 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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He cites shocking statistics—while the incidence of AIDS deaths decreased throughout the U.S. between 2001 and 2005, the opposite is the case in the Deep South—but notes that most of the funds to fight the disease have been funneled to the large northern and western cities.

Sep 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Ashamed to Die: Silence, Deni...

Pittsburgh Urban Media

“Those dying of AIDS long for comfort, someone to hold their hands,” since “no one wants to die alone,” Skerritt concludes.

Feb 16 2013 | Read Full Review of Ashamed to Die: Silence, Deni...

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