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Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media
The third edition of Pediatric AIDS, edited by Drs Pizzo and Wilfert, is a fine example of how an excellent reference can be kept up to date, even in a rapidly changing field. The latest edition has a tremendous amount of new information and encompasses every area of interest, from the basic molecular biology and immunopathology of HIV to the clinical problems and social issues of infected patients. It includes all the exciting new advances, such as the decrease in vertical transmission and new markers of disease progression but highlights the areas where much still needs to be done, particularly in the developing world. I, again, congratulate the editors on a superb and timely update!
This edition of the book has a new feature, a capsule summary at the beginning of each chapter. These "bullets" are quite useful as they give the reader a clear idea of what will be found in the chapter. The final sections on case management and public policy issues have been reorganized and are again superbly done and extremely useful. The remainder of the book has a format similar to previous editions and is well organized and user friendly.
There are some minor ways in which I think the book could be improved. The first suggestion would be for the editors to give individual authors more direction about what to include in each chapter. Some chapters give enormous amounts of background about topics for which such information is readily available elsewhere. For example, the chapter on otitis and sinusitis could be tailored to give a brief summary of these entities in the normal host, so that it could focus on issues unique to children with HIV infection. Many other chapters, such as those on fungal infection, gastrointestinal disorders, and the central nervous system, do this very well.
I would also suggest a few more algorithms to assist the physician faced with a patient. Topics such as the patient with pneumonia (etiology not yet diagnosed) or fever without a source would lend themselves to algorithms, which would make the book even more valuable.
Improvement could also be made in the presentation of the material. There are many spelling and grammatical errors, and some of the diagrams are not really book quality but look as if they were made on a poor quality home computer. Although I suspect that these relatively minor problems occurred in the attempt to produce the book promptly, I hope they will be addressed the next time around.
Again, the editors have put together a fantastic reference in a constantly evolving field. I don't know of any comparable publication, and Pediatric AIDS remains a unique resource for libraries and physicians caring for pediatric patients.
Pediatric AIDS: Pediatric AIDS: The Challenge of HIV Infection in Infants, Children, and Adolescents. JAMA. 2000;283(2):262. doi:10.1001/jama.283.2.262-JBK0112-4-1
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