Archive for February, 2008

Burma goes AEDS free (29/02/08)

My gorgeous Goddaughter Poppy and her family live in Kachin state in the north of Burma, close to the Chinese border. The capital of Kachin, Myitkyina, sticks in my mind as the place with the highest HIV prevalence I’ve ever seen in routine surveillance data: over 80% in drug injectors throughout most of the 1990s. […]

Tagged with the 123 meme: hoping for the best (29/02/08)

Tom Levenson of the World’s Best Illuminated Blog the The Inverse Square tagged me with the 123 meme. The rules: * look up page 123 in the book that is nearest to you at this very minute * look for the fifth sentence * then post the three sentences that follow that fifth sentence on […]

AIDS and global warming department: a green sex life (28/02/08)

OK, we know global warming is taking over from HIV as the development fashion of the day. But for those who haven’t quite made the switch, or who have one foot in each camp, here’s detailed advice on how to have greener sex. Looking at some of the advice, I wonder if they can’t see […]

PEPFAR compromise: more money for “innocents” (28/02/08)

After huddling late into the night, US politicians have come up with a compromise. They’ll spend more money on innnocent victims of AIDS, but none to protect those wicked people who sell sex for a living. The US congress house of representatives House Committee on Foreign Affairs agreed to spend an astonishing US$ 50 billion […]

Ayo, hadir ke pameran dan film ini, dong! (27/02/08)

Untuk kawan-kawan pembaca di Indonesia: di CCF Salemba ada pameran tentang AIDS, dan juga akan putar film “Harapan Lahir Dari Pengetahuan”. Menerutku judul aggak norah, tetapi gaya film belum tentu ikut judulnya, kan?

Nerd alert: Why humans take no notice of scientists (27/02/08)


UK’s drug strategy: common sense and controversy (27/02/08)

Britain today published it’s new drug strategy (pdf here or here). It’s actually pretty sensible, but it will probably be howled at by footsoldiers on both sides of the War On Drugs. On the one hand, the government plans to cut benefits (welfare payments) for addicts who refuse to turn up to treatment programmes. That […]

Sex sells. But can it build? (27/02/08)

Anyone who has ever been on the metro in Paris knows that the French use sex to sell everything from dishwashers to floor cleaner. Now the league of students is using it in this (im)passioned plea to the government: Build more housing for students! Thanks to Unspun for throwing back the covers on this one.

Prozac doesn’t work: how depressing is that? (26/02/08)

Now that over 40 million people are taking Prozac and similar medication to cheer themselves up, we learn that they may as well be taking sugar-pills. Waving the Freedom of Information act as a warrant to gain access to data drug companies haven’t wanted to publish, researchers looked again at whether people popping Prozac actually […]

Microbicides: the real disappointment is that women are human too (25/02/08)

Many of us were hugely disappointed when the Population Council announced last week that the microbicide they’d been testing in a huge trial in South Africa didn’t work. But buried in the trial results were some other shocking and hugely disappointing facts. Here’s the real shocker in my opinion: Only one woman in 10 used […]

Orgasm department: That old G-spot thing (25/02/08)

So Italian researchers have looked at just 20 women, and found the G-spot. This has excited comment in the UK, though not much elsewhere. The Guardian’s (rather good) weekly science podcast, wonders at the fact that women can have more than one type of orgasm. Or rather, two male commentators wonder. If they’d asked a […]

Self-healing condoms? (22/02/08)

Also from Scientific American, news of self-healing rubber. If there were a way we could build in an early warning system for the tears, it could open up whole new horizons for safe sex, no? Though I’m not sure whether we’d really want to recycle it….

What’s in a kiss? (22/02/08)

Check out this lovely article on why we kiss from Scientific American. Just don’t think too hard about the relationship between kissing, chewing the cud and HIV.

Does your doctor know you’re gay? Missing HIV diagnoses (22/02/08)

A new study in the UK inidcates that doctors aren’t doing very well at diagnosing HIV. The study looks at diagnosis in primary infection, the few weeks or months when a person first becomes infected with HIV, when the virus replicates like mad and people often feel fluey. It’s an important time to catch infection, […]

Name that AIDS Programme (21/02/08)

The Center for Global Development invites readers to rename PEPFAR, the 15-soon-to-be-at-least-45 billion dollar aid programme for HIV care (and a bit of prevention) in developing countries. The finalists are now open for voting on; they include such inspirational suggestions as American Sustainable HIV/AIDS Relief Plan (A-SHARP) and Program to Encourage Partnerships Focused on AIDS […]

Bush on abstinence: it’s effective for Americans (21/02/08)

Finally, a reporter in Ghana put George Bush on the spot about earmarking over a billion dollars for abstinence-only programmes which Bush’s own scientific advisors say don’t work (recent thoughtful comment here). Here’s what Bush said: “I monitor the results,” he said. “And if it looks like it’s not working, then we’ll change. But thus […]

No tarts in the arts? More nonsense from the gloating Christians (21/02/08)

A week ago, the President of William and Mary college Gene Nichols lost his job. The last straw in a haystack of sins: he supported a show of art by sex workers on campus. This drew outrage from all the usual suspects, and they have been gloating at his dismissal. Organisers and studentsraised their voices […]

What I didn’t do this summer (21/02/08)

For readers who know of my other obsession (besides sex and science): this fabulous image from Thomas Peschak, via Scientist, interrupted. I’ve only ever been this close to a Minke whale; I leave the Great White sharks for braver souls.

Named reporting: scientists can’t manage it (21/02/08)

Public health scientists love to whinge that no-one listens to us. We wring our hands endlessly over what we can do to better communicate the results of research to policy makers and the public. And yet a new study suggests that some scientists can’t even report their own names and e-mail addresses correctly. And the […]

Honest gays and gloating Christians: an unpleasant spectacle (20/02/08)

A week ago, the outgoing executive director of the US’s National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Matt Foreman made a great speech in which he called for proper equality for all Americans, regardless of who they sleep with. He also said this: “Today, right now, more than 45 percent of African-American gay and bi men […]

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