The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of AIDS

The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of AIDS

4.3 6
by Elizabeth Pisani
     
 

ISBN-10: 0393066622

ISBN-13: 9780393066623

Pub. Date: 06/17/2008

Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.

A flame-throwing epidemiologist talks about sex, drugs, and the mistakes (dismal), ideologies (vicious), and hopes (realistic) of international AIDS prevention.
When people ask Elizabeth Pisani what she does for a living, she says, "sex and drugs." As an epidemiologist researching AIDS, she's been involved with international efforts to halt the disease for fourteen…  See more details below

Overview

A flame-throwing epidemiologist talks about sex, drugs, and the mistakes (dismal), ideologies (vicious), and hopes (realistic) of international AIDS prevention.
When people ask Elizabeth Pisani what she does for a living, she says, "sex and drugs." As an epidemiologist researching AIDS, she's been involved with international efforts to halt the disease for fourteen years. With swashbuckling wit and fierce honesty, she dishes on herself and her colleagues as they try to prod reluctant governments to fund HIV prevention for the people who need it most—drug injectors, gay men, sex workers, and johns.Pisani chats with flamboyant Indonesian transsexuals about their boob jobs and watches Chinese streetwalkers turn away clients because their SUVs aren't nice enough. With verve and clarity, she shows the general reader how her profession really works; how easy it is to draw wrong conclusions from "objective" data; and, shockingly, how much money is spent so very badly. "Exhibit A": the 45 billion taxpayer dollars the Bush administration is committing to international AIDS programs.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393066623
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
06/17/2008
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents


Author's Note     xi
Acknowledgements     xiii
Preface: The Accidental Epidemiologist     1
Cooking Up an Epidemic     13
Landscapes of Desire     43
The Honesty Box     84
The Naked Truth     124
Sacred Cows     161
Articles of Faith     188
HIV Shoots Up     227
Ants in the Sugar-Bowl     269
Full Circle     301
Notes     327
Bibliography     347
Index     365

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The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of AIDS 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
DotRat More than 1 year ago
Elizabeth Pisani has written an informative book that gives you a solid look at how governments shape how money is used when trying to help people. The book introduces you to people who care about how those with AIDS are treated. You will meet people who although they have this deadly disease live full and interesting lives. This is a book you will not find boring, it has wit and humor and compassion. I recommend this be placed on your reading list.
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Hand_of_Reason More than 1 year ago
After nearly a decade of conducting AIDS/HIV research in Southeast Asia, Elizabeth Pisani recants the lessons she has learned while helping governments and NGO's reduce the spread of this disease. From stressing the importance of adequate disease surveillance to clearly outlining the ways that AIDS/HIV spreads throughout societies, Pisani clearly states the measures that must be taken in order to curtail the AIDS/HIV epidemic. In short, needle exchange programs as well as abundant access to condoms and lubricant for at-risk populations--mostly prostitutes, their customers, and drug injectors--offer the most potential for limiting the infection rate. Response: Overall, Pisani provides an insightful book. She responds to numerous counterarguments, provides a vast array of empirical evidence, as well as many personal anecdotes as case studies. Her passion and demand for policy clearly shows. She has avoided adopting any degree of ideology, developing policy recommendations that stem directly from evidence. Her work should be commended and utilized. Pisani is a staunch advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention and her policies stem from that perspective. In other words, her analysis does not include other perspectives within social sciences. For example, Pisani argues that forcing NGOs to purchase supplies and materials from U.S. companies creates a highly inefficient system for providing AIDS/HIV prevention and treatment. However, she does not provide an economic analysis of this policy. In short, the added revenue to U.S. companies and subsequent boost to the American economy may outweigh the ineffectiveness within the HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment industry. Or it may not. Either way, Pisani neglects to provide analysis and her policies should be analyzed from several lenses before being adopted to avoid any unintended consequences. Lastly, Pisani acknowledges the political dilemma for implementing her policy suggestion: people don't like doing nice things for junkies like needle exchanges. She fails to provide any solutions to overcome this dilemma. Though creating awareness and understanding of the HIV epidemic is certainly one useful strategy (and one assumes this book is part of that strategy), Pisani never explains a framework for moving forward. Then again, Pisani is an epidemiologist and shouldn't be faulted for not developing a strategy of policy advocation. Bottom Line: This book is required reading for anyone involved with AIDS/HIV. Not only has Pisani presented a decades worth of work in an incredibly engaging book, her work has immediate implications for NGOs and governments worldwide. Highly accessible and deeply informative characterizes the entire book. For more reviews and a summary of Pisani's main points, find us at Hand of Reason.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pisani is an excellent writer and makes a crazy topic understandable while allowing us to even laugh at the ridiculous-ness of the HIV/AIDS world. Being un-afraid to call a spade a spade, her frank-ness is refreshing. Too many of us (myself included) count on this industry for our bread and butter and do not have the skills or the networks and authority to share such wisdom. Glad Pisani is there to do it. I hope the global health donors and other decisionmakers all read this and tune into the fact that we are not doing what needs to be done!