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The medical detective story of Dr. Michael Gottlieb’s discovery of AIDS, his struggle with the medical establishment, and the temptations of Hollywood
In A Plague on All Our Houses, Dr. Bruce J. Hillman dissects the war of egos, money, academic power, and Hollywood clout that advanced AIDS research.
In 1981, Dr. Michael Gottlieb of UCLA cared for five formerly healthy gay men presenting with months-long fever, weight loss, and highly unusual infections, all testing positive for the same defect in their immune systems. He published his findings in a now iconic article in the New England Journal of Medicine and quickly became the medical face of the terrifying new epidemic when he became personal physician to Rock Hudson, the first celebrity AIDS patient.
Courted by the media, the gay community, and Hollywood, Gottlieb cofounded the charitable foundation, amfAR, which has raised vast sums for research and advanced public awareness. Far from supporting him, UCLA reacted with dismay to Gottlieb’s early work on AIDS, believing it would tarnish the reputation of the health center. Denied promotion and tenure in 1987, Gottlieb left UCLA for private practice just as the National Institutes of Health awarded the institution a $10 million grant for his work.
A Plague on All Our Houses follows Dr. Gottlieb’s relationships with his patients, colleagues, and family, during the first decade of the worldwide AIDS epidemic. The book offers a ringside seat to one of the most important medical discoveries and controversies of our time.