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PAINFUL WORDS ON AIDS

Do the editors of Book Review or reviewer Arthur Kleinman begin to realize the pain that has been caused to thousands of your readers who are HIV Positive or have ARC/AIDS, by the excessively descriptive review of “AIDS and Its Metaphors” by Susan Sontag (Book Review, Feb. 26)?

While many people with AIDS are carrying on a close to normal life, imagine you are one who is housebound and The Times is one of your important links to the outside. You read the review and the words and phrases used or quoted tear into your emotions: “Terrifying new disease,” “epitome of evil,” “alienating repulsive taint of deadly sin,” “degrading pain,” “terminates in the preparation for death,” all hang in your mind.

AIDS patients will not analyze the philosophic content. They will hear only the words, added to the other words that have been aimed at them.

The agony of those in pain is far more important than fuzzy political rhetoric of either author or reviewer. The review could have been done in a factual manner without hurtful pejorative phrases being used. That way, only those who bought the book would be hurt.

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I am a “straight” WASP woman with five children. I don’t have AIDS, except in the way that we now all have this disease. . . . “Is it nothing to you, all ye who pass by?”

MARION GENTRY

SUN VALLEY, CALIF.


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