The book profiles 28 Africans who have HIV/AIDS, or have otherwise been affected by it. The number 28 was chosen to reflect the 28 million Africans who had HIV in 2007, according to UNAIDS. Nolen spent six years traveling through Africa to gather the stories. The stories range from orphans, a truck driver, a miner, and a grandmother raising her grandchildren alone in poverty, to college educated patients, military members, clergy, and even Nelson Mandela, whose son Makgatho died of AIDS.
Stephen Lewis described the book as "the best book ever written about AIDS, certainly the best I’ve ever read".