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“We all have so many layers, but we are what we are on the inside. HIV is not who we are.
It is only one of the layers that we have accumulated.” Kithia G.

"Life Don't Have To End." - REVIEWS

With beauty and honesty, Cricket Barrazotto and her friends present a stunning journey of suffering and hope. As you move through these pages, you will discover not only stories, but people, real people, whose lives have profoundly changed. If we give ourselves permission, their lives will change ours too.

– Stephan Bauman
President and CEO, World Relief, Baltimore, Maryland


“Life Don’t Have To End.” speaks to the resiliency of the human spirit and body. Through the voices of individuals who are living with HIV, the reader is challenged to consider how people living with a chronic illness find the strength to live each day while managing complex medication regimens, dealing with the loss of important relationships, and exploring answers to how they contracted the disease. The willingness of each of these individuals to tell their stories provides health care providers with a gift of hearing first hand about the journey of living with HIV. The stories also highlight the importance of having a support network, including family, friends, and programs like the JACQUES Initiative, to accompany persons on the journey.

– Jane Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dean and Professor, University of Maryland School of Nursing
Director Interprofessional Education, University of Maryland


From beginning to end “Life Don’t Have to End.” resonant with raw transparencies of those living with HIV/AIDS. Their stories become our stories as we walk this earth together as family of the human race. Their tears, joys, and triumphs become our tears, joys and triumphs. Hope is the optimal word stemming from the quote, “from problem to purpose the mess becomes a message”. Indeed nothing is ever wasted, no pain ever permanent with God! A must read for all!

– Rev. Dr. A. Qismat Alim,
Pastor - Payne Memorial A.M.E. Church,
Baltimore, Maryland


The personal stories of brothers and sisters living with HIV/AIDS in “Life Don’t Have to End.” are proclamations of triumph and freedom, of prevailing over darkness, and rising out of the ashes. Psalm 118:17 says, “I will not die but live and proclaim what the Lord has done.” These stories proclaim hope; hope of a life lived abundantly and to the fullest, even in the midst of challenge and chaos. The readers are drawn in and challenged to walk alongside brothers and sisters as they overcome. What an encouragement to all who read.

– Erin Donovan
Executive Director, HopeSprings


As a future health professional, this book provides invaluable insights into the patients I may be helping. When treating HIV, it has never been more apparent that we must treat the patient, rather than just plainly treating the disease. Reading these private, deep voyages down memory lane has enlightened me and re-encouraged me not to be so quick to judge others. I am so thankful to the contributors sharing their stories. I’m not sure I’ve really seen anything else like “Life Don’t Have To End.” where we get to peek into people’s lives and see “how it all started” in order to really understand them. It’s easy to sympathize for the HIV positive patient, but this book helped me to better empathize. This book helps decrease the stigma surrounding HIV.

– Amy Cheng, PharmD Candidate
University of Maryland School of Pharmacy Class of 2014


As the Executive Editor of the daily HIV Breaking News back in the late 80's and 90's, I must say that reading Cricket's book has really restored my hope in what once was such a dreaded disease. These people, these beautiful human beings that spoke and provided Cricket with the words to capture their stories, are living with hope and dreams and reachable goals! Yes, some of their stories are sad and heart wrenching, which brings perspective to the challenges that are faced every day; however in the grand scheme of things, we all have challenges! Great book, highly recommended! Every person should have a copy on their coffee table, and when you need that little bit of inspiration, go read Albert C's story or view the great photos that have captured the words so perfectly.

- Deborah E. Gordon
Executive Editor, First Edition Design Publishing
Doctorial Candidate, Theology, LU