A Memoir and a Manifesto
Positive traces the life of Michael S. Saag, MD, an internationally known expert on the virus that causes AIDS, but the book is more than a memoir: through his story, Dr. Saag also shines a light on the dysfunctional US healthcare system, proposing optimistic yet realistic remedies drawn from his distinguished medical career.
Mike Saag began his medical residency in 1981, within days of the Centers for Disease Control’s first report of a mysterious ”gay cancer” killing young men. Soon, the young doctor’s career was yoked to the epidemic. His life’s work became turning the most deadly virus in human history into a chronic, manageable disease.
In the lab at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Dr. Saag and colleagues made seminal early discoveries about the elusive virus. And at the AIDS clinic he founded, Dr. Saag met people whose fight against a virtual death sentence touched his heart and inspired him to work even harder. As his career stretched across three decades, Dr. Saag found himself battling another foe, this one almost as pernicious as AIDS itself: a broken healthcare system shaped more by politicians, insurers, and lobbyists than by patients’ needs.
Positive is Dr. Saag’s tribute to the unforgettable patients he has known and an urgent call to create a comprehensive, compassionate, accessible healthcare system in the name of those we can save today.