Archive for the tag "HIV"

What’s wrong with Indonesian penises? (05/03/12)

[Note: I'm still on sabbatical. But even on sabbatical, one sometimes thinks about sex... For reflections on democracy, corruption and other dirty subjects, see my other blog, from which this is a cross-post.] Reading the newspapers in cities across Papua, Indonesia’s easternmost province, I cannot help but notice the full-colour ads for penis extensions. In […]

Music in the blood; it’s going viral (06/10/10)

Though I don’t have a musical bone in my body, I’ve been thinking recently about how to code statistical data about people into melodies. Now I find that there’s a whole industry out there of people who are turning DNA into music. If you know anything about your own DNA, you can plug your genes […]

Men are pigs, women are angels. Not. (17/02/10)

As promised, data on women, autonomy, partnerships and HIV. It’s quite true that I have not developed some magic indicator of “autonomy”. But the World Economic Forum has. Or at least its Gender Equality Index is as close as damnit. Let’s take the sub-Saharan African countries at either extreme, and set their equality index against […]

Microbicides don’t work. Now what? (14/12/09)

Not wanting to be always the purveyor of bad news, I was looking forward to today’s results from the Pro2000 microbicide studies. After hopeful results in an earlier trial, I’d convinced myself the gel would prevent HIV.

Drug Warriors: blind or just innumerate? (08/11/09)

As promised, a note on the UK’s latest data on HIV among drug injectors. Some of the US’s battalions of Drug Warriors have been crowing that the new figures show a rise in infection rates among junkies in the UK: clear evidence that the nation’s policy of making sterile needles and injecting equipment available to […]

As one HIV ban ends, another morphs (03/11/09)

Yesterday the US finally dropped its absolutely senseless law forbidding people with HIV from visiting the Land of the Free. (While Saint Obama is getting patted on the back for ending the ban, he was actually signing off on something that George Bush put in motion last year). That’s unmitigated good news for people with […]

Is AIDS a mass murderer? Not in Germany (09/09/09)

I’ve been roused from my long summer torpor by a row over a German ad that tries to make Hitler the face of AIDS. Predictably enough, activist groups immediately yelled “stigma”! What we should be yelling is “dinosaurs!”. In Western Europe, AIDS is no longer the “mass murderer” the ad claims. In fact, it is […]

It’s not HIV that kills, but hospital administration (01/12/08)

To mark the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, and the 1st anniversary of The Wisdom of Whores, I offer a post stolen wholesale from Michael Buehler. ‘It is actually not HIV that kills us but the hospital administration’, says an Indonesian woman with HIV. Oh, and corruption in the Ministry of Health, complacent self-satisfaction […]

What is old is new: absurd reactions to the origins of HIV (11/10/08)

Sequestered in Indonesia, I’ve let pass many interesting stories in the past week — I’ll get around to circumcision, Nobel prizes and pornography bills soon, really. One story I didn’t expect to revisit was the “news” that HIV has been with us for a century or more. But it has caused such a stir that […]

Halleluliah! (not). Faith healing could spread HIV (02/10/08)

Christian fundamentalism and HIV seem both to be on the upswing in Uganda. I’ve remarked before that enthusiastic support for abstinence-only programmes has undermined previously successful HIV prevention efforts in the country. But now it seems over-zealous preachers are threatening the success of treatment efforts, too. Robert Ochai, director of the trailblazing AIDS support organisation […]

Lost in translation: H. I. V. (25/08/08)

From Heather, at A Minha Vida, I learned of an interesting compilation of HIV-related slang (originally from PlusNews). As they observe, the euphemisms we choose to say the unsayable often tell us quite a bit about our own cultures. In Angola, for example, getting HIV is like “pisar na min” –stepping on a landmine. But […]

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 […]

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 […]

Herpes treatment: another blow for HIV prevention (05/07/08)

Before AIDS, the sexually active teen’s STD joke-of-choice was “What’s the difference between love and herpes?” The answer, of course, was that herpes was for ever. And so it was, although antiviral therapy, acyclovir in particular, has proven quite good at suppressing it and at reducing outbreaks which often lead to genital ulcers. But those, […]

Fire, brimstone and AIDS activists (25/06/08)

I’m sure many readers are aware that there’s been a bit of a debate lately about spending on AIDS in the developing world. Is AIDS crowding out other infectious diseases, other health issues, other development issues? Or has the AIDS epidemic focused attention on the woeful neglect of health in developing countries, and will it […]

UNAIDS knickers in a twist, around a scientist’s neck (11/06/08)

It seems my “I told you so” moment has come and gone. So has my attempt to defend WHO for its softly-softly honesty about where the HIV epidemic is going. The sensible scientist who heads up WHO’s HIV division, and who last week had the audacity to tell the truth about the threat of heterosexual […]

Life after AIDS? Not quite yet (10/06/08)

A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article in Prospect about HIV prevention among gay men now that near-universal access to treatment is making AIDS virtually invisible in rich countries. This excited a fair bit of comment over at Metafilter, not all of it pretty. But in any case, I was premature in declaring […]

Revelation, beat-up or “I told you so” moment? (09/06/08)

The WHO has declared an end to heterosexual AIDS outside of Africa, according to Jeremy Laurance, writing in The Independent. Laurance quotes Kevin de Cock, a thoughtful and honest scientist who happens also to head up WHO’s HIV division, as saying “It is very unlikely there will be a heterosexual epidemic in other countries [outside […]

Recognising HIV in Uganda’s army (not) (08/06/08)

In a comment on an earlier post, Roger Tatoud drew my attention to a story about high HIV levels in Uganda’s army being a threat to national security. Some would say that means Uganda’s First Lady is a threat to national security; her enthusiastic embrace of abstinence as the main weapon against HIV is thought […]

A billion dollars: not enough for gay men in Uganda (03/06/08)

The head of Uganda’s AIDS commission says his country can’t afford to do any HIV prevention work with gay men, according to the Pink News. Though they’ve got hundreds of millions in the AIDS funding trough, and have their snouts raised for more. “Gays are one of the drivers of HIV in Uganda, but because […]

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