Tuesday, 23 November 2010

An HIV/AIDS Reading List

In the formidable The Invisible Cure, Helen Epstein chronicles our failure to do the right things to curb the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Eastern and Southern Africa - impeded as we are by too much ideology and too much political correctness.  It's not spoiling the ending to tell you that the cure in the title refers to cutting down on concurrent sexual partnerships.

In the equally formidable The Wisdom of Whores, Elizabeth Pisani.Pisani chronicles our failure to do the right things to curb the epidemic in S.E. Asia - impeded as we are by too much ideology and too much money. Here is Pisani talking at TED:



Having just read these two back to back, their similarities are stark. The message in both is - follow the data, not the ideology.  But they do discuss two very different epidemics - in S.E. Asia HIV is concentrated in high risk groups with little danger that the epidemic will explode in the general population. Politcal squeamishness and voter disapproval of directly addressing injection drug use and risky sex has led to health messages which largely miss the point.

Conversely, in Southern Africa, Epstein laments the focus that has been placed on high risk groups despite the vast majority of new infections being  transmitted through heterosexual sex within long-term relationships, meaning not only that the health messages miss their target, but they also add to shame and stigma, which further aids transmission.  One irritating thing about the Invisible Cure is Epstein's frequent talk of 'Africa', I'm sure she knows it's a big continent and that lots of it has about as much HIV as Switzerland. To quote Hans Rosling; 'we have to stop talking about Africa as if it's one place, it's not very respectful and it's not very clever'.

Read both if you can. If you can't, then read The Invisible Cure.

Saturday is for funerals by Unity Dow and Max Essex is a very different book.  Dow writes true stories of lives ravaged by AIDS in Botswana, with each short story followed by scientific commentary by Essex.  Half-way through I became indignant of how anyone could write about HIV/AIDS while barely mentioning sex, but this is a book about the disease of AIDS and it's impact on the lives of Botswanans, not about the spread of HIV. An exploration of how and why such a prevalent disease (one which in the years before widespread anti-retrovirals took up every Saturday for funerals) can be such an impenetrable taboo is unfortunately lacking. But it is a moving, compassionate and insightful book. I recommend it to people looking to learn a bit, but not too much, about AIDS.

Postnote: The Wisdom of Whores is available free of charge as an e-book for the month of December 

26 comments:

  1. The problem is how to protect those people in Africa who are suffering from HIV/AIDS if the government itself won't conduct effective health programs that help their people to save themselves. Stop prostitution, equip Africans with knowledge on how they can survive their everyday lives with better jobs.

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    1. hello great universe, i am Lewis slimberly from south africa, i want to share a wonderful testimonies about the greatest dr who help me get cured from hiv disease, i was diagnosed two years ago with the result of hiv positive, i was so heart broken, and people, friends and family run away from me, i tried all the possible best i can but no avail, until i met a testimonial i mention internet about dr OGWUDIRE, i never believe internet, and i never i never believe that hiv has a cure, i decided to email some of emails i met there, but there was no avail, i emailed dr ogwudire and he told me that i should not have anything to worry about, if only i believe and have faith on him, that my cure will come in three days time, i put hope in his words, the other day, he called and told me that he has cast the spell through air that i should go for check up and which i did, and the dr confirm that there are some changes in me, and which i told dr ogwudire the hiv spell caster and he told me that the spell has already be working, that he need to buy some hiv items which he will use to deliver the cure to me, and he bought them and called me after some days and i went for check up again, and behold dr told me congratulations and i was overwhelmed and i called the great spell caster and he told me that i should not worry that this is just the beginning, the other he sent me some herbal medicines and he told me that i should take them so that it can cleanses and purify my body system, and i follow his words and took it for three days and i feel the changes with my own eyes,....thanks to dr ogwudire i am so happy and i will continue sharing more testimonies about you, email dr now on OGWUDIRESPELLCASTER@GMAIL.COM regards and warmth greetings from lewis

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  2. HIV/AIDS largely caused by prostitution. therefore we must stop it. We should not exclude people with hiv, but we must help them

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  12. This is a couple years old now, so technically doesn’t fit the criteria, but in any case, The Wisdom of Whores by Elisabeth Pisani is terrific. It provides an honest critque of the global response to the epidemic, particularly in regards to most at risk groups.

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  15. MY NAME IS MARIAM BAURICE FROM SOUTH AFRICA...I SAW THIS COMMENT ON POSITIVE BLOGS AND I WILL LOVE TO TELL EVERY BODY HOW MY STATUS CHANGES TO NEGATIVE, AND AM NOW A LIVING WITNESS OF IT AND I THINK ITS A SHAME ON ME IF I DON'T SHARE THIS LOVELY STORY WITH OTHER PEOPLE INFeCTED WITH THIS DEADLY VIRUS...,HIV HAS BEEN ONGOING IN MY FAMILY... I LOST BOTH PARENTS TO HIV,. AND IT IS SO MUCH PAIN IVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO GET OVER.. AS WE ALL KNOW MEDICALLY THERE IS NO SOLUTION TO IT..AND MEDICATION IS VERY EXPENSIVE..SO SOMEONE INTRODUCED ME TO A NATIVE MEDICAL PRACTITIONER IN AFRICA..I HAD A JOB THERE TO EXECUTE SO I TOOK TIME TO CHECK OUT ON HIM.I SHOWED HIM ALL MY TESTS AND RESULTS.. I WAS ALREADY DIAGNOSED WITH HIV AND IT WAS ALREADY TAKING ITS TOWL ON ME.. I HAD SPENT THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS SO I DECIDED TO TRY HIM OUT...I WAS ON HIS DOSAGE FOR 6 WEEKS. ALTHOUGH I DIDNT BELIEVE IN IT, I WAS JUST TRYING IT OUT OF FRUSTRATION... AND AFTER 2 WEEKS, I WENT FOR NEW TESTS... AND YOU WONT BELIEVE THAT 5 DIFFERENT DOCTORS CONFIRMED IT THAT AM NEGATIVE..IT WAS LIKE A DREAM,,I NEVER BELIEVE AIDS HAS CURE..AM NOW NEGATIVE,,AM A LIVING WITNESS..I DONT KNOW HOW TO THANK THIS MAN... I JUST WANT TO HELP OTHERS IN ANY WAY I CAN..HAVE JOINED MANY FORUMS AND HAVE POSTED THIS TESTIMONIES AND ALOT OF PEOPLE HAS MAIL AND CALLED THIS MAN ON PHONE AND AFTER 2 MONTHS THEY ALL CONFIRMED NEGATIVE..BBC NEWS TOOK IT LIVE AND EVERY.. HOPE HE HELPS YOU OUT.. EVERYBODY SAW IT AND ITS NOW OUT IN PAPERS AND MAGAZINES THAT THERE'S NATIVE CURE FOR HIV AND ALL WITH THE HELP OF THIS MAN,,HAVE TRIED MY OWN PARTS AND ALL LEFT WITH YOU,,IF YOU LIKE TAKE IT OR NOT..GOD KNOWS HAVE TRIED MY BEST.ABOUT 97 PEOPLE HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED NEGATIVE THROUGH ME..AND THEY SEND MAILS TO THANKS ME AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED NEGATIVE,,THIS MAN IS REAL..DON'T MISS THIS CHANCE,,HIV IS A DEADLY VIRUS,,GET RID OF IT NOW..
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  16. Been a HIV positive is just like been through hell; well special thanks to God almighty for using Dr. Zaki the greatest spell caster in curing my HIV disease. I was diagnosed of this disease in the year 2008. Thou I was taking my medications buy I was not myself. Until last two weeks. My friend came to me and told me that he saw many testimonies on how a spell caster cured people HIV disease. Thou I never believe in spell, I said to myself "seen is believing" I took his name and searched it on GOOGLE, I saw many testimonies myself. Quickly, I copied his email dr.zakiherbalhome@gmail.com I emailed him, he gave me a form to fill which I did, then he called me and told me that his gods required some items in which he will use in casting a curing spell on me. And di told him to get the listed items needed to prepare my cure because by then i have little faith in him, few hours later he called me and told me he is through preparing the cure. so he send it to me I got my parcel, it was a herbal cure as described by Dr. Zaki. I took the herbal cure and after taking it for a week and some days. He told me to go for check up, I went to the hospital and had a hiv test, I was tested HIV negative. Quickly I called him and tell him what happened he congratulated me. I promise to tell the world about him. You can contact via email or phone number dr.zakiherbalhome@gmail.com

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  18. Been a HIV positive is just like been through hell; well special thanks to God almighty for using Dr. Zaki the greatest spell caster in curing my HIV disease. I was diagnosed of this disease in the year 2008. Thou I was taking my medications buy I was not myself. Until last two weeks. My friend came to me and told me that he saw many testimonies on how a spell caster cured people HIV disease. Thou I never believe in spell, I said to myself "seen is believing" I took his name and searched it on GOOGLE, I saw many testimonies myself. Quickly, I copied his email dr.zakiherbalhome@gmail.com I emailed him, he gave me a form to fill which I did, then he called me and told me that his gods required some items in which he will use in casting a curing spell on me. And di told him to get the listed items needed to prepare my cure because by then i have little faith in him, few hours later he called me and told me he is through preparing the cure. so he send it to me I got my parcel, it was a herbal cure as described by Dr. Zaki. I took the herbal cure and after taking it for a week and some days. He told me to go for check up, I went to the hospital and had a hiv test, I was tested HIV negative. Quickly I called him and tell him what happened he congratulated me. I promise to tell the world about him. You can contact via email or phone number dr.zakiherbalhome@gmail.com

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