The Wisdom of Whores

2029 Words9 Pages
Elizabeth Pisani's The Wisdom of Whores - Bureaucrats, Brothels and the Business of AIDS is a great book (along with a great website). Elizabeth Pisani is an epidemiologist with years of experience working on HIV/AIDS (or sex and drugs, as she puts, which sounds a lot, well, sexier) at a variety of agencies, including UNAIDS. The book is the story of her frustrations at the way the international community, national governments, NGOS and AIDS activists have dealt with the epidemics, as well as her hopes in some of the progress made. To me, precisely because the book is data-driven, it was not controversial. My reaction was more, "well, if that's what the data show, so be it." But also, I think, the book was billed as controversial…show more content…
The writer on the contrary points out that the initiatives have not achieved the required target because some of them advocate for things which are not practical. Instead, she proposes that emphasis should be laid on educating people about safe sex and not trying to restrict and control individual liberty supposedly for the greater good. She believes the disease is not about poverty and gender related issues, it is behavior change. Many people in African countries get the virus because of having unsafe sex with multiple partners. This is why the rates of infection are not declining despite the billions being spent. The honesty box tries to bring out hidden facts behind the myths told by various researchers concerning HIV/AIDS. Some of these myths are based on the data presented which are usually inflated to favor funding and to act as a precautionary measure that AIDS exists everywhere. The book opens the ‘honesty box’ on drawbacks of medical research within the tropics. Pisani tackles highly contentious issues with zest, including the possible public health shortcoming of antiretroviral treatment, in addition to the benefits of mandatory HIV/AIDS testing. The author also presents data to show that if couples living in Thailand were to have further premarital sex, then their men would be the least likely to use commercial sex workers and the
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