A straightforward manual, probably most useful for newly diagnosed women, with lingo simply explained: “These tests include ‘routine’ laboratory tests (called ‘labs’) that check your blood count, blood sugar….” The introduction assures HIVers that we aren’t alone and needn’t be embarrassed—comforting even to a long-termer like me. And the appendix lists everything from print and online resources to phone hotlines.

The 19 other chapters cover concerns including labs, meds, opportunistic infections, gynecology and reproduction. Social issues such as disclosure, substance abuse, domestic abuse and depression turn up, too.

The big letdown? Sexuality. This crucial, complex issue for HIVers is barely mentioned aside from safe(r) sex. Another complaint: In this book—authored by so many people with initials after their names—Viramune was consistently misspelled. Still, the book spells much-needed help for women HIVers.