AIDS and Its Metaphors is an intelligent, well-informed, thought-provoking book. Responding, now, to the worldwide crisis surrounding the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, Sontag has written a book that attempts to change the way people think about AIDS and to free both AIDS patients and a population irrationally frightened by AIDS from the spell of emotionally and ethically charged meanings that add unnecessarily to the suffering of AIDS patients. Examining this complex of meanings, she demonstrates how they not only obscure and falsify the medical reality, but stand in the way of humane social responses—effective public health care policies, funding for basic research, adequate forms of medical treatment, and the administration of preventive medicine. There is much to be said for the ethical substance of Sontag's argument, and above all for her aims: to enlighten the public and to "alleviate," as she says, so much "unnecessary suffering."
Astutely perceiving in the panic