Archive for April, 2008

The beauty of viruses (13/04/08)

Viruses can shut down immune systems and computer systems. They cost lives and money. But they can be works of great beauty. The HIV virus, bulbous and all hung about with stubby projections, is a bit of an exception. But look at “MyDoom”, a computer virus that’s been around since 2003. Alex Dragulescu of MIT […]

Science in Congress: is there any? (13/04/08)

Policies on AIDS, recreational drugs and a warming world are struggling their way through Congress at the moment; they always seem to emerge slimmer on the science once they’ve made it through the endless committees, discussions and debates. If you’re in the New York area, you might pick up some tips on why from this […]

Kenya gets out the scalpel, circumcising men to prevent HIV (12/04/08)

Kenya plans to offer all men the snip, in an effort to reduce HIV transmission. It’s a brave move in a country when circumcision status is a badge of ethnicity and differences in ethnicity are reason enough for rioting, looting and murder. According to a report in The Nation Kenya’s Ministry of Health has published […]

Putting the screws on drugs in UK jails. (The screws are guilty) (11/04/08)

UK taxpayers fund effective HIV prevention programmes for drug users in other countries, but not at home. Perhaps that’s because UK jails are better organised than those in, say Kyrgyzstan, so there’s not that many drugs inside? Uh, no. UK prisoners fork out around 100 million quid a year for drugs, according to the former […]

Gay-bashing, a sport that unites Moslems and Christians (08/04/08)

Five men face trial in Egypt on Wednesday for “habitual debauchery”, a term apparently used as shorthand for being gay. Conveniently, debauchery is illegal in Egypt whereas homosexuality is not. The trials are part of an ongoing crackdown on gay behaviour. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have rallied 117 NGOs from around the world […]

Condoms near the classroom: it works (08/04/08)

It’s five years since the first London school opened an on-site clinic that dishes out contraceptive advice and condoms to schoolkids. And it seems to be working. Not a baby at the school ever since, compared with nine pregnancies in a year shortly before the programme began. Writing in the Guardian, Fran Abrams points out […]

Always do what your mother says (07/04/08)

Maybe RICH countries need to spend more on nurses (07/04/08)

Rich countries must stop sucking nurses and doctors away from the poor countries that need them most, declared a recent editorial in The Lancet. Everyone agrees that it’s not a great thing to drain nursing and medical skills from countries where a quarter of adults are infected with a fatal virus that manifests itself though […]

Librarians fight back against anti-abortion terrorism (06/04/08)

A new type of terrorism is stalking the United States. Development agencies are so scared of being accused of promoting abortion that they’re trying to make the very word invisible, even in a data-based used only by academics and other nerds. USAID employees trawling POPLINE, a database used by demographers and researchers in reproductive health, […]

UK tightens sexims laws: no more bastards (05/04/08)

As of today, UK companies can no longer use the “bastard defence” against claims of sexist abuse. The bastard defence rests on the claim that you’re not being sexist if you call a female colleague a silly cunt, because you’re just as likely to call a male colleague a stupid bastard. This “we’re just as […]

Girl is girl and man will sweetalk (05/04/08)

Jamaican-Ghanain poet Kwame Dawes has been reporting on HIV in his Caribbean homeland, in poetry and prose. He reads his poems on a snappy website, supported by the Pulitzer Center. Annoyingly, the site doesn’t allow for linking to specific items. I commend to you the poem Making Ends Meet, which tells of the delicate relationship […]

Canadian cops support safe injecting, not (04/04/08)

The Canadian city of Victoria (not Vancouver, sorry) is still dithering over a home for its needle exchange programme: no-one wants it in their back yard. British Columbia’s top health official has a solution: open supervised injecting sites around the city. The cops are not too pleased. In an editorial in the British Columbia Medical […]

Mountain Dew prevents pregnancy, Florida teens believe (04/04/08)

If you don’t tell teenagers the facts of life, they’ll make them up. Last year, Florida spent 10.7 million dollars of federal money telling teenagers not to have sex. Nothing else, just “No”. So kids came up with their own stories about how to avoid pregnancy (drink Mountain Dew, smoke dope) and how to prevent […]

Get lippy (but don’t get gay) (03/04/08)

As I zipped through one of London’s less chaotic airports yesterday, my eye was caught by this giant poster behind the cash registers at The Body Shop. In case anyone misses the (very English) pun, lippy is short for lipstick, but also describes someone who is straight-talking, in a rude, counter-culture kind of way. If […]

Earth to Congress: Contraception is NOT abortion (02/04/08)

Fundamentalist Catholics seem determined to save souls without saving lives. But the elected representatives of the American should not be following suit. Today, the US House of Representatives discusses a bill that will take US$ 50 billion out of taxpayers’ pockets and put it on the table for HIV treatment for people in poor countries. […]

Saint Bono’s clap clinic (01/04/08)

Click to expand the Wisdom of Bono

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