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MY EPIDEMIC: An AIDS Memoir of One Man's Struggle as Doctor, Patient and Survivor

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WHEN YOUNG DR. ANDREW FAULK first learned he was HIV-positive, he was devastated for it certainly meant imminent death. Until then, he’d been an outstanding young physician with years of intensive training. That day, without warning, he faced the great divide of his life. Due to the rigors and stress of training, he considered abandoning his medical career. But, instead, h WHEN YOUNG DR. ANDREW FAULK first learned he was HIV-positive, he was devastated for it certainly meant imminent death. Until then, he’d been an outstanding young physician with years of intensive training. That day, without warning, he faced the great divide of his life. Due to the rigors and stress of training, he considered abandoning his medical career. But, instead, he dedicated the remainder of his life to the fight against AIDS, ultimately participating in the care of approximately 50 patients who died, many his own peers, including his partner. Being HIV-positive, Faulk discovered something other doctors didn’t experience—in every patient he cared for, whatever the symptoms, he saw himself. As patients and friends died around him, at any time he, too, could have “stepped off the earth.” Yet with intuition, insight and compassion, he brought peace and comfort whenever possible to those he called “my guys.” After a long silence he recounts those heroic years and tells this, his true story as doctor, patient and survivor.


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WHEN YOUNG DR. ANDREW FAULK first learned he was HIV-positive, he was devastated for it certainly meant imminent death. Until then, he’d been an outstanding young physician with years of intensive training. That day, without warning, he faced the great divide of his life. Due to the rigors and stress of training, he considered abandoning his medical career. But, instead, h WHEN YOUNG DR. ANDREW FAULK first learned he was HIV-positive, he was devastated for it certainly meant imminent death. Until then, he’d been an outstanding young physician with years of intensive training. That day, without warning, he faced the great divide of his life. Due to the rigors and stress of training, he considered abandoning his medical career. But, instead, he dedicated the remainder of his life to the fight against AIDS, ultimately participating in the care of approximately 50 patients who died, many his own peers, including his partner. Being HIV-positive, Faulk discovered something other doctors didn’t experience—in every patient he cared for, whatever the symptoms, he saw himself. As patients and friends died around him, at any time he, too, could have “stepped off the earth.” Yet with intuition, insight and compassion, he brought peace and comfort whenever possible to those he called “my guys.” After a long silence he recounts those heroic years and tells this, his true story as doctor, patient and survivor.

30 review for MY EPIDEMIC: An AIDS Memoir of One Man's Struggle as Doctor, Patient and Survivor

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amanja

    Thank you so much to Dr Faulk for providing me with a copy of his memoir in exchange for this honest review originally published at https://amanjareads.com/2021/04/01/my... My Epidemic is the memoir of Dr. Andrew M. Faulk, MD. He tells the story of his life as both doctor and patient through the beginning of the AIDS epidemic all the way up to his continuing survival today. Dr Faulk has been HIV positive since the beginning of the most misunderstood epidemic in modern history. He was required to Thank you so much to Dr Faulk for providing me with a copy of his memoir in exchange for this honest review originally published at https://amanjareads.com/2021/04/01/my... My Epidemic is the memoir of Dr. Andrew M. Faulk, MD. He tells the story of his life as both doctor and patient through the beginning of the AIDS epidemic all the way up to his continuing survival today. Dr Faulk has been HIV positive since the beginning of the most misunderstood epidemic in modern history. He was required to keep his HIV status, as well as sexual orientation, private in order to become a successful doctor through this time. Unfortunately, we haven't come far enough as a society for it to be surprising that a gay man might be ridiculed (or much much worse) due to their identity. But Dr. Faulk knew it was all for good reason. He was able to treat his friends and aquaintances when many others were refusing them at the hospital doors. He carries the unbelievably heavy burden of seeing so many of his loved ones die at the hands of this disease. And yet, he stuck the course. He stayed healthy himself in order to care for others. My Epidemic radiates with compassion. Dr. Faulk comes off as absolutely magnificent, but not in a way that feels like he's boasting. He simply writes his own story and the events speak for themselves. Dr. Faulk is honest about how hard his journey has been. How exhausting caring for so many dying friends and brothers was. And honest about how difficult it was when it came time to stop. He discusses many medical conditions and aspects of his life as a doctor using true medical jargon in a way that respects the reader. He doesn't dumb down everything but doesn't sound pretentious either. Since my last two attempts at reading memoirs written by doctors resulted in not finishing the first third of the pages this is extremely refreshing. Dr. Faulk's anecdotes are interesting, heartfelt, relatable, and relevent to the topic at hand. He ties everything together even when some of the individual stories are quite short. His stories about his late boyfriend Jack are heartbreaking. Being a primary caregiver is an impossibly difficult task to undertake, even for a full time doctor. My Epidemic is a story that truly only Dr. Faulk can tell. His life experience is unique. The beauty of reading a good memoir is that you are able to see a whole new perspective and feel connected to someone, maybe even a whole population, just a little bit more. If you don't sympathize with Dr. Faulk and want to give him a big huge hug at the end of this book then I can't help you. Please read My Epidemic. It's a memoir that's as important as it is emotionally moving.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    “This is the story of my epidemic: my personal fight with HIV, my personal and professional struggles with my orientation and illness, and my endeavours to provide my patients and friends with assistance in their walk off this planet.” Can you imagine what it was like to be there at the outbreak of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the US? I certainly can't. In the 1980s, IV drug users and homosexual men started being diagnosed with illnesses very unusual in the immunocompetent person - Pneumocystis carin “This is the story of my epidemic: my personal fight with HIV, my personal and professional struggles with my orientation and illness, and my endeavours to provide my patients and friends with assistance in their walk off this planet.” Can you imagine what it was like to be there at the outbreak of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the US? I certainly can't. In the 1980s, IV drug users and homosexual men started being diagnosed with illnesses very unusual in the immunocompetent person - Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) and Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), then dying. Nobody knew what it was, or how it was contracted. By the end of the 80s, 90,000 people had died in the US from AIDS. Doctor Faulk was there in the middle of it all, right from the onset of the epidemic. He was diagnosed with HIV, sure that his own life would be over shortly, as many of these other men’s had. He saw his partner and countless friends and peers die, and went on to help many patients of his who had been diagnosed with, and later died from AIDS - so many of the men Faulk knew, either by acquaintance or friendship, were dying. I just can't imagine it being almost common to have regular conversations with friends and being told that so-and-so had died. But that's what was happening. In 1995, after 6 years of trial, the first HIV protease inhibitor, saquinavir, was approved for prescription, and death from AIDS in the US sharply declined. This book was a fine portrayal of what these men went through during this time, and was very sensitively written. Thanks Netgalley, Culbertson Publishing, and Andrew M. Faulk, for an ARC of My Epidemic: An AIDS Memoir of One Man’s Struggle as Doctor, Patient and Survivor in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline Allan

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I have no idea how to review this book despite finding it a fantastic read. It feels slightly wrong to say that when the subject matter is so sad, real and in many places controversial and filled with blame. It became evident right from the start of the page that this was no ordinary “AIDS” book. Furthermore, that Dr Falk was no ordinary Doctor. His life has been spent working with, and worki Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I have no idea how to review this book despite finding it a fantastic read. It feels slightly wrong to say that when the subject matter is so sad, real and in many places controversial and filled with blame. It became evident right from the start of the page that this was no ordinary “AIDS” book. Furthermore, that Dr Falk was no ordinary Doctor. His life has been spent working with, and working for, HIV positive men at the very beginning when no one knew much about it. He has given a voice to all those “brothers” who sadly passed away needlessly. His having AIDS himself and treating HIV patients brought a clearer empathy and knowledge to help in whatever way he could. Ironically I write this review today when tomorrow is World AIDS Day but I will be wearing my red ribbon for all those who lost their lives; the families who lost their loved ones; and those who every day seek a cure. It is not just a disease that affects one person at a time, it is a globally continuing problem! This is probably Top 3 of the books I have read this year and would recommend it to everyone, it gave me an insight into something I did not know very much about!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kate Southey

    A beautiful book. Andrew Faulk has written a beautiful elegy to his late patients, friends and colleagues. Having lived through the 80’s and 90’s albeit as a young child in the 80’s this book brought back memories I had since forgotten. Memories of people saying you could catch HIV from a toilet seat, or kissing. The collective gasping society made when it was revealed what Rock Hudson died from. Of discussions with friends as to whether we could be at risk and if it was worth being tested as th A beautiful book. Andrew Faulk has written a beautiful elegy to his late patients, friends and colleagues. Having lived through the 80’s and 90’s albeit as a young child in the 80’s this book brought back memories I had since forgotten. Memories of people saying you could catch HIV from a toilet seat, or kissing. The collective gasping society made when it was revealed what Rock Hudson died from. Of discussions with friends as to whether we could be at risk and if it was worth being tested as this would have to be declared on life insurance applications regardless of the result (I’m still not sure if that was true or urban myth) To now, wondering why it still made the national news that a rugby player had decided to reveal his HIV status. That collective gasp long gone. I know I am lucky in where I live and who I associate with that the prejudice has gone and that it still lingers in other places and I hope this book is widely read and goes some way to dealing with it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Pei

    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Dr. Faulk, for sharing your story! As a medical professional, this book immediately caught my attention. This memoir follows Dr. Faulk's journey through residency and his medical career as he treats patients with HIV while simultaneously dealing with a personal diagnosis of HIV in the 1980s. It is raw and emotional, and filled with individual stories of friends, colleagues, and patients. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Dr. Faulk, for sharing your story! As a medical professional, this book immediately caught my attention. This memoir follows Dr. Faulk's journey through residency and his medical career as he treats patients with HIV while simultaneously dealing with a personal diagnosis of HIV in the 1980s. It is raw and emotional, and filled with individual stories of friends, colleagues, and patients. At some times, the stories seem a little unfinished and some chapters end dramatically on cliffhangers, and I was left wondering what happened, and hoping for the best. This memoir offers a unique inside look, honest and unfiltered, from the perspective of the doctor, the patient, and the family/partner.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Lynn’s BookReviews

    First, I want to thank Andrew M. Faulk, M.D.,and Author Marketing Experts for providing me with this book so I may bring you this review Dr. Andrew M. Faulk is incredibly brave and strong to open up and share his personal story in My Epidemic: An AIDS Memoir of One Man’s Struggle as Doctor, Patient and Survivor Second Edition. This book is educational with lots of information on the subject, personal patient stories, etc. It is a very powerful read. Treehouse Studios did a fantastic job on the c First, I want to thank Andrew M. Faulk, M.D.,and Author Marketing Experts for providing me with this book so I may bring you this review Dr. Andrew M. Faulk is incredibly brave and strong to open up and share his personal story in My Epidemic: An AIDS Memoir of One Man’s Struggle as Doctor, Patient and Survivor Second Edition. This book is educational with lots of information on the subject, personal patient stories, etc. It is a very powerful read. Treehouse Studios did a fantastic job on the cover design of the book. It was a perfect fit for the theme of the book. Dr. Faulk would like to thank his husband Frank Jernigan for providing constant support. He would also like to thank his patients who gave him his trust and intimacy, insight and instruction, they helped him not only help create the manuscript but the man he is today. My Epidemic Is Dr. Faulk’s very personal story of his experience with AIDS in which he is not only a Dr. but he has been a patient and a survivor. For over 30 years he has been infected with HIV. Dr. Faulk has written a beautifully written book on a subject he is very passionate about. This book is filled with educational information. Not to mention experiences he and his patients have lived through. I thought it was commendable that in the book he apologized for not mentioning or being able to assist the Lesiban and straight allies who came to their aid. However, he gave them big praises for all their efforts they gave to this cause. In this book Dr. Faulk also discusses Covid-19. Dr. Faulk shares some very personal stories about his life that are very interesting. There was a story he shared of a patient that had a near death experience at CPMU in California that really got my attention. Here they were trying to save the man’s life and he didn’t want to be saved. What he saw on the other side sounded beautiful and picturesque! I felt bad for the Dr.’s and staff who had to hear the wrath of that patient go off on them. There was a chapter that touched my heart because it showed how thankful the patient was to the staff at the hospital. How they cared and showed that to the patient meant so much to that one patient that was dying. Some interesting words of advice Dr. Faulk gives us that we could all use especially this year are several specific phrases that may be used to help achieve clarity and closure with friends and loved ones who are dying. Those are listed in this book. Dr. Faulk ends with a truly intense and powerful epilogue that brings the past with the present together.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Shani

    In a world filled with stigma, stereotypes, and negativity, this is a very emotional book, but in a very important way. The author shares his own story of being not only being a doctor during such a huge moment in history. I found myself connecting to not only his journey but him as a person. To not only be faced with a life sentence that at that time was far shorter than it is now, was incredibly life altering. But the way he responded to being a doctor, taking care of all of these patients as In a world filled with stigma, stereotypes, and negativity, this is a very emotional book, but in a very important way. The author shares his own story of being not only being a doctor during such a huge moment in history. I found myself connecting to not only his journey but him as a person. To not only be faced with a life sentence that at that time was far shorter than it is now, was incredibly life altering. But the way he responded to being a doctor, taking care of all of these patients as they went through the various stages of emotions and physical changes was so much more than I expected. His worst fears were things he had to face on a daily basis as he assisted so many. I’m even more thankful for my own life and feel empowered to do more and do better things. Dr. Faulk’s story is a mix of heartache, triumphs, personal growth, and shedding light on a very real problem. I couldn’t imagine the ups and downs he went through beyond what he shared. I felt so many emotions being pulled from me as I read, which is such an important thing in my opinion. I was utterly engrossed and captured by this book. I’m humbled by Dr. Faulks's journey and grateful I had the opportunity to have the insight.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Star Gater

    A beautifully crafted, and told so well story of a man who has lived and seen more in his young life than most would if they had multiple lives. I loved the narration. For me, I would have a fresh hot mug of coffee, visualize Dr. Faulk (his picture is on the back cover) talking and I could empathize. He tells a sad, witty, and sometimes funny story. The story is his life. The heartbreaking truths as well as the character of family members, he saw firsthand. I do hope Dr. Faulk is able to post an A beautifully crafted, and told so well story of a man who has lived and seen more in his young life than most would if they had multiple lives. I loved the narration. For me, I would have a fresh hot mug of coffee, visualize Dr. Faulk (his picture is on the back cover) talking and I could empathize. He tells a sad, witty, and sometimes funny story. The story is his life. The heartbreaking truths as well as the character of family members, he saw firsthand. I do hope Dr. Faulk is able to post an update on Mr. Bucci.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Marion Jones

    This is not only a memoir but a unique perspective into the life of an HIV-positive doctor who is working to treat patients as he fights his own battle. Reading this book is almost like sitting down with the author and having a conversation. This is an emotional read that allows us to walk along with the doctor on his journey. Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for the opportunity to review this book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Standa

    Such a truly heartfelt story, I would like to thank the author for sharing it with us. As a physician Andrew Faulk faces the AIDS epidemic as a Dr to those affected and a patient with the HIV virus. I have read previous books about the epidemiology and the treatment options for HIV and AIDS but this a story of love and kindness. It tells of the isolation that patients suffered, about the loneliness, and the heartbreak that so many deaths in a close community triggered. This is the human impact of Such a truly heartfelt story, I would like to thank the author for sharing it with us. As a physician Andrew Faulk faces the AIDS epidemic as a Dr to those affected and a patient with the HIV virus. I have read previous books about the epidemiology and the treatment options for HIV and AIDS but this a story of love and kindness. It tells of the isolation that patients suffered, about the loneliness, and the heartbreak that so many deaths in a close community triggered. This is the human impact of a devastating disease, an epidemic. The only criticism I would have is the order of some of the chapters but I am sure that final editing will look at this.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Joann Hnat

    Dr. Faulk writes with raw honesty and compassion about his first-hand fight against HIV and AIDS.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Keith

    Thank you Dr, Faulk for writing this book and taking such good care of our community during our pandemic.

  13. 4 out of 5

    wendy barnes

  14. 5 out of 5

    Penny Sansevieri

  15. 4 out of 5

    Megan Laplante

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ditale

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marlena Griesse

  18. 4 out of 5

    courtney Prior

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kate Rieck

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lucianna Wolfstone

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ellyse

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kelen

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mac Sintes

  24. 5 out of 5

    Monique

  25. 4 out of 5

    Veleka Setsor

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cristie Underwood

  27. 4 out of 5

    RutaG

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lynette Sheppard

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nan W

  30. 5 out of 5

    Betsy A Izes

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