Any disease can be imagined in the form of a narrative. It has a beginning (the discovery of symptoms, a diagnosis), a middle (treatment, acceptance or raging against the dying of the light) and an ending, which can be happy (cure) or sad (death). Monica B. Pearls engaging and (in spite of its relative brevity) profound book attempts to delineate the trajectory of AIDS by way of its literary representations. First, Pearl investigates how changing socio-political, cultural and pharmaceutical circumstances since the early 1980s have resulted in different (narrative and medical) arcs in individual descriptions of the illness. In a second step, Pearl uses these individual analyses in order to establish an underlying narrative of the disease itself. This dual focus renders every text about AIDS toujours déjà ambiguous; it is necessarily always both a symptom and a reaction, or in the authors own words, both a response to and also a re-enactment of the narratives of viral infection.