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Book Review

Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV/AIDS, Second edition - Vinod K. Sharma, Editor-in-Chief

DG Saple
 Professor of Dermatology, Venerology and Leprology, Director HIV Clinical Research Programme, Human Health Care and Research Foundation, India

Correspondence Address:
D G Saple
Professor of Dermatology, Venerology and Leprology, Director HIV Clinical Research Programme, Human Health Care and Research Foundation
How to cite this article:
Saple D G. Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV/AIDS, Second edition - Vinod K. Sharma, Editor-in-Chief. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2009;75:554-555
Copyright: (C)2009 Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology

Edited by Dr. Vinod K. Sharma, Professor and Head, Department of Dermatology and Venereology, AIIMS, New Delhi, this book is a valuable addition to work available in the market. If modestly priced, it could be within the easy reach of both students and medical practitioners and would be a very useful addition to their existing reference books. Administrators, NGOs and a tribe of other busy bodies who wish to get a bird′s eye view of the STD field can dip into this book and get to know of the present as well as future methods of prevention and treatment methods.

The book has been divided into 4 sections and 11 parts with each part having several chapters, a tome of almost 900 pages with 48 chapters. The chapters have been written singly or together by specialists from different parts of India; a few specialists working abroad have also contributed to the latest information on vaccines. The book is very exhaustive, with a few new chapters and has updated information on epidemiology, trials being undertaken for treatment, present trend on emphasis on adolescent health, treatment in special situations, especially women and children; HIV/AIDS among homosexuals, and control strategies in prevention of STD /HIV. All chapters cover all essential features of the topic. They have been extensively researched for the latest development on the subject. Some of the research work has been quoted in full to ensure authenticity. A large number of references have been given at the end of each chapter.

A striking feature of the book is that the authors have taken great pains to make it easily readable and understandable. To this end, many simple diagrams and colored photographs relevant to the chapter have been incorporated. It is not a novel for the layman; is meant for a medical person who is well into the nitty gritty of the subject to enhance what he already knows. A large volume of information has been packed into some of the chapters. Unfortunately, though a great deal of work is being done in India, particularly work relevant to Indian racial characteristics, traditional customs, and climatic conditions, developments in complex drug formulations on a herbal basis, which could be cheaper, have not been included.

Much of the cost of foreign drugs is a consequence of the patents and higher research costs abroad. Also, foreign drugs could cost more if the threat of advanced countries to tax outsourcing includes outsourced research in drugs. Some details of research being pursued in India, and with the names of the laboratories would have helped both medical practitioners and laboratories. There could have been a two way dialogue between them.

The chapter on HIV/AIDS is exhaustive, giving more details on epidemiology, the serious impact of maternal transmission, details of MTCT ART. A separate chapter on pediatric AIDS is very well written and comprehensive and comprises all aspects of the disease including various classifications, drugs and monitoring.

The importance of disease control in the homosexual population has been dealt with in detail including enteric infections. This has become all the more relevant as society is advancing towards reorganizing as accepted realities, liaisons which come out now as homosexual marriages, divorces in such marriages and so on; also as they pose a great danger as sources of infection to married women.

A principal service the book has done is to emphasize the importance of early diagnosis and treatment. To this end the chapter on Appendices shows a remarkable vision of what is most needed. It is a ready reckoner for diagnosis and management of STDs, opportunistic infections, PEP, all given in tabular form and very convenient flow charts, making it very useful and practical. A very comprehensive detailing of sexual behavior and risk factors in the adolescent age group, with need for developing a national strategy for adolescent reproductive and sexual health, has been given. The importance of dealing promptly with viral STDs in the context of prevalent HIV infection can be seen from the large number of studies narrated in the field.

The book looks seriously at prevention. Control of STDs has laid out a number of strategies by National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) for this purpose. A whole chapter is devoted to vaccines in use and experimental vaccines in the pipeline.

There is some overlapping of chapters and some repetitions. This perhaps is inevitable when several authors have made them but this is a valuable contribution. The book has been very painstakingly and exhaustively put together; printing and proof reading is excellent, and it makes an entry at a time when such an updated compilation was badly needed. It is strongly recommended as an addition to the present text books available on STD and to every library in hospitals; medical practitioners in this line.

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