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Recent genetic studies have traced the birth of HIV to the forbidding ...
Recent genetic studies have traced the birth of HIV to the forbidding equatorial forests of Cameroon, where chimpanzees carried the virus for millennia without causing a major outbreak in humans. During the Scramble for Africa, colonial companies blazed new routes through the jungle in search of rubber and other riches, sending African porters into remote regions rarely traveled before. It was here that humans first contracted the strain of HIV that would eventually cause 99 percent of AIDS deaths around the world.
Western powers were key actors in turning a localized outbreak into a sprawling epidemic as bustling new trade routes, modern colonial cities, and the rise of prostitution sped the virus across Africa. Christian missionaries campaigned to suppress polygamy, but left in its place fractured sexual cultures that proved uncommonly vulnerable to HIV. Equally devastating was the gradual loss of the African ritual of male circumcision, which recent studies have shown offers significant protection against infection.
Timberg and Halperin argue that the same Western hubris that marked the colonial era has hamstrung the effort to fight HIV. From the United Nations AIDS program to the Bush administration's historic relief campaign, global health officials have favored well-meaning Western approaches--abstinence campaigns, condom promotion, HIV testing--that have proven ineffective in slowing the epidemic in Africa. Meanwhile they have overlooked homegrown African initiatives aimed squarely at the behaviors spreading the virus.
In a riveting narrative that stretches from colonial Leopoldville to 1980s San Francisco to South Africa today, Tinderbox reveals how human hands unleashed this epidemic and can now overcome it, if only we learn the lessons of the past.
Posted August 31, 2012
It's a well known fact that circumcision has been a cure in search of a disease in the US for well over a century. Halperin has made a career of attempting to promote circumcision as a cure all and this book is no exception to that rule. Independent studies show that one in five new African HIV infections are caused by surgical intervention using non sterile instruments. African men were not given informed consent prior to their circumcision and indeed most were left to believe that they could forgo using a condom if they were circumcised. These unethical practices smack of cultural imperialism and racism and have done more harm to African society and wasted millions of dollars that could have been directed to programs that work, counseling, medication and supplying condoms and clean water. This book belongs in the trash for pushing a harmful and biased agenda.
Posted August 31, 2012
It's an old saw that circumcision prevents HIV. Halperin fails to disclose his religious bias in his promotion of circumcision. Halperin's grandfather was a mohel, or a rabbi specially trained in circumcision. Halperin was a strong advocate of circumcision before his "research."
The United States has the highest circumcision rate for males of sexually active age, yet also has the highest HIV rate for developed countries. Explain that one Haperin!
Halperin also seems to have a fascination in surgically reducing the penises of poor black African men. Why don't we have a psychotherapist research his obsession, I would love to read that book.
Halperin probably wrote this book so his students at John Hopkins would have to buy it for their classes. $$$$$$$$$$$$
Posted April 30, 2012
The writer does a great job of presenting clear readable information on the plight of Africa in regard to HIV . He combines real people with the facts in a way thatis easy to understand.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 24, 2012
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