Archive for July, 2008

Wisdom in Cuba (31/07/08)

Mariela Castro, daughter of Cuban leader Raul Castro, has been a crusader for the rights of gay men and women and for transgenders in Cuba. One result is that Cuban hospitals will soon begin offering sex change operations. (Perhaps Bangkok’s sex change clinics should start worrying). I am honoured that Ms. Castro has cracked open […]

More is less in HIV, according to new UNAIDS figures (30/07/08)

When UNAIDS put out their new figures yesterday (in a stonking 357-page report), they accompanied it with a press release that began: “New HIV infections and HIV-related deaths declining — however AIDS epidemic not over in any part of the world”. If you made it to the second page of the press release, you’d find […]

Thongs of Praise: Knickers to abstinence (30/07/08)

The Daily Christian proposes that you Earn Your Right to Wear White. You can do it for just US$ 8.99. This next-to-nothing knickers are sure to ward off over-enthusiastic boyfriends with their trenchant message: I’m wondering whether the Daily Christian’s aestehtics might achieve what their messages don’t. They suggest you “Size up for a looser […]

Australians told not to follow those wild Swiss (28/07/08)

Since the Swiss noted that people who take their meds correctly and don’t have other infections are unlikely to pass on HIV, the public health establishment has been in a tizz over how to react. Predictably enough, Australian researchers have done what epidemiologists with a point to make so often do: — they’ve reached for […]

Housekeeping and the movies (27/07/08)

I’ve had lots of fun in recent weeks pontificating in talks and interviews about sex, drugs and the AIDS biz, usually to people who know a lot more about all of the above than I do. (My favourites of recent weeks: sex worker radio XXBN and Sex Goddess radio Susie Bright, not pictured below). But […]

Paid to pleasure oneself: nice work if you can get it dept (25/07/08)

I’ve been known to take the piss out of scientists who think people make decisions about sex the way they make decisions about what stocks to invest in, nice and rationally. My published references even include “Sex is fun, remember?”. In my experience, a hard-on (or its female equivalent, a wide-on) tends to disrupt rational […]

Off topic: don’t e-mail when you’ve had too much rosé (24/07/08)

Can I get away with posting this e-mail from restaurant reviewer Giles Coren to the Times on the grounds that it has a blow job in it? Or that its author is a wanker (of which more tomorrow)? Read. Enjoy. Remember never to e-mail your colleagues when you’ve had a few. Even if they have […]

Will Big Pharma get littler in HIV research? (21/07/08)

Last week, Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche said it was giving up on HIV-related research. I expected some cynical “told you so” comments from industry analysts, but the reaction to the announcement was surprisingly muted. Even AIDS activists were mousy. Activists have done a spectacular job in slapping down the price of antiretroviral drugs in the […]

Everyone’s at risk, ¿verdad? (20/07/08)

You don’t need to speak Spanish to get the message of this “AIDS awareness” ad. Will this sort of generalised pap make you use a condom the next time you get lucky with someone you don’t know too well? Perhaps. And perhaps it will stop you smoking or overeating — it’s that specific. Thanks to […]

HIV-friendly genes (and good science writing) (19/07/08)

Our genes are amazing. They win battles for us against some pathogens (malaria), but their victories can leave us exposed to others (HIV). That’s the lesson from a fascinating paper published recently in Cell and Host Microbe. Researchers looking at data from a large group of American servicemen have found that a genetic mutation which […]

Chart junk-ies (18/07/08)

Though I’ve been wrestling the dreaded PowerPoint more than I’d like to recently, I haven’t posted for a while on data presentation. So I’m stealing this absolute gem that Environmental Graffiti ran under the title “World’s most expensive place to have sex” and Presentation Zen relayed under the title “When bar charts go bad”. What […]

Looking the PEPFAR gift horse in the mouth (17/07/08)

The bill allowing another US$ 50 billion of US taxpayer’s cash to be spent on HIV in developing countries has finally been given the thumbs up by the Senate. There’s good and bad drafted on to the PEPFAR legislation. The good is the dropping of a law which forbids foreigners with HIV from sullying the […]

Condoms = death, part 2 (16/07/08)

Bush may be quacking around with a limp, but the fundamentalists that support him are squeezing all they can out of these last, lame-duck months. For me, the first sign that US Christians were prepared to terrorise people into dropping contraception was this poster in the Tanzanian capital Dar Es Salaam. But it now looks […]

Dys-Lexia? (13/07/08)

I’m spending a few days making hay with friends in the hills near Geneva. I leave you with this priceless image courtesy of the rectal microbicide folks. What can Ana have been thinking of?

Psycho alert (and a mea culpa) (12/07/08)

If you live your life among people whose lives, jobs or natural curiousity open their minds to the world, it is easy to forget how rigid some people are in their views. Today, I was sent a shocking reminder of the vitriol that comes with a small mind; it made me understand why some of […]

PEPFAR creeps (11/07/08)

The PEPFAR authorisation circus drags on. Senate leader Harry Reid is trying to force a vote on the bill. A handful of stubborn Republicans continue to stamp their feet about it. One of their worries is “mission creep” — PEPFAR money might be used to do things that are not 100% related to showing America’s […]

The Wisdom of Whores love charm (10/07/08)

“What motivated you to write this book?” interviewers like to ask. And I give all the worthy, change-the-world type answers, though what I really wanted to do was to write a cracking good book about sex and drugs that would make people laugh and perhaps save some of their tax money. Of course if I […]

What’s wrong with Malay girls? (09/07/08)

So a Russian girl is worth twice as much as a girl from north China, huh? And Malaysian girls are discounted fairly heavily. There are 460 million young adult women in China. That’s 60 times more “girls” that you’ll find in Malaysia (even if you count the Chinese Malaysians). My rudimentary understanding of economics suggests […]

Strange bedfellows: feminists, fundamentalists and orgasms (08/07/08)

One of the things I noticed on the left hand side of the Atlantic was how many people took the dust jacket off my book before taking it out in public. No one wants to be seen in the company of “Whores” on the subway. But who is the word offending? Both left and right, […]

Dealing in health: do we dare? (07/07/08)

Still on the topic of sensible policies to prevent disease among drug injectors, I’d like to pass on the idea of Wisdom reader Pierce Wetter. Pointing out that blackmailing brothel owners delivered very high levels of condom use in Bangkok’s brothels, Pierce suggests we use the same technique for drug dealers. Enlist them to sell […]

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