The Wisdom of Whores

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 13, 2008 7:53 PM GMT
    is a new book by Elizabeth Pisani (article in the Guardian) which challenges public policy in handling the AIDS crisis.

    I'm interested to hear what other people think, because although some of the soundbites are quite sensationalist, I think the underlying messages are probably quite sound... e.g. a website called posornot that invites you to try to guess if people are positive or not from a photo.

    We suffer from a collective amnesia in the gay community about HIV....I wonder if this sort of confrontational approach is helpful or not?
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    May 13, 2008 8:54 PM GMT
    Well I think something needs to be done. being brutaly honest and open I had a bit of a scare recently from something relatively low risk but what good is relatively. But many times recently I have been asked by guys to bareback (not that I even asked for a shag!) and I hear of so many guys barebacking.

    Its stupid and is less amnesia more collective ignorance. People are burying their head in the sand and almost treating it like blitz fever. But saying that the medical profession doesnt help as both my family doctor and the clinic both gave out the same message that the chances of catching it are very remote due to size of population etc. My answer to that is well how many gay guys do you know and how many of them have you had that "eek" moment with realising that you have shared the same partner once! Maybe its just me but its doesnt seem that uncommon.
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    May 13, 2008 9:07 PM GMT
    Wow, this is a very great topic. You've both got me thinking about this subject alot and that's not easy to do... anywho, I'm going to buy and read this book this week, as well as visit her website. Thanks a lot. Finally, something that actually Help as I transition back into the singles world.
  • MattyC0709

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    May 13, 2008 9:42 PM GMT
    I think the author is Maltese... Pisani is a Maltese surname... lol! icon_biggrin.gificon_lol.gificon_razz.gificon_wink.gif
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    May 13, 2008 9:57 PM GMT
    muttskins saidI think the author is Maltese... Pisani is a Maltese surname... lol! icon_biggrin.gificon_lol.gificon_razz.gificon_wink.gif


    Are there wise whores in Malta? Mostly we know of it as the country that puts most effort into the Eurovision Song contest.... and we love you for it icon_biggrin.gif
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    May 13, 2008 10:01 PM GMT
    Elizabeth PisaniThere are two distinctly separate Aids epidemics, she says - one in Africa, and one in the rest of the world. In Africa, people are contracting the virus through heterosexual, non-commercial sex. But in most of the world, Pisani claims, the data clearly indicates that the risk is confined to drug users, sex workers and gay men - the very groups that Aids organisations have worked so hard to distance from the problem.



    Makes a lot of sense that there are two types of AIDS epidemics. Heterosexual Africans often don't have or are ignorant to the existence of birth control so they do anal as kind of contraception. BOOM Aids. The epidemic here is with substance abuse addicts involving shared needles(another Aids BOOM) and gay men(that would) having anal sex anyway.

    Shouldn't be a surprise Aids isn't going anywhere when people insist on behaviors that encourage the onset of the disease. That's what the dictionary definition of perverse is: Obstinately persisting in an error or fault .

    She's absolutely right about people refusing to see the facts icon_neutral.gif
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    May 13, 2008 10:04 PM GMT
    jeeze the George Cross, The Maltese Falcon, the great Courage they showed in WW2 in the face of the utmost adversity and ya come up with the Eurovision!

    Sorry, very touchy on this one as the Maltese have my utmost respect and admiration yet the world has forgotten!

    and sorry to hijack I know you were only jokin
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    May 13, 2008 10:06 PM GMT
    RyanOji said


    Makes a lot of sense that there are two types of AIDS epidemics. Heterosexual Africans often don't have or are ignorant to the existence of birth control so they do anal as kind of contraception. BOOM Aids. The epidemic here is with substance abuse addicts involving shared needles(another Aids BOOM) and gay men(that would) having anal sex anyway.



    how much of a part has the catholic church played in this tho
  • MattyC0709

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    May 13, 2008 10:07 PM GMT
    TigerTim saidAre there wise whores in Malta? Mostly we know of it as the country that puts most effort into the Eurovision Song contest.... and we love you for it icon_biggrin.gif

    I dunno about wise whores, but yeah, we're great at Eurovision, too bad someone always ends up stealing the gold! If anything, I think it's always biased from the start, I mean take last year... only Eastern countries went into the finals, not even countries like UK, Ireland and Spain went through. icon_mad.gif

    Oh well, let's not divert from the subject... icon_biggrin.gificon_lol.gificon_razz.gificon_wink.gif
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    May 13, 2008 10:08 PM GMT
    My partner is an HIV epidemiologist who has been in the field a good bit longer than Pisani. I'll be interested to hear what he says about the book.

    One thing...I don't think the article fairly represents the history of public health's approach. There's been a long argument about the prevention vs. cure vs. treatment approach, and the three have kind of oscillated in their dominance. Pisani is not advocating anything new at all.

    That said, the politics behind HIV studies are mind-boggling. Many people don't realize that Reagan and Bush Sr. fought funding of any studies of gay men. My partner designed the first CDC study of gay men and that was almost 10 years into the epidemic.

    And, even then, his study was changed to focus on young men of color. Further, they ended up kicking my partner and all other gay men off the study team. This study involved on-site interviews in sex clubs, public cruising grounds, etc., and they were only sending women to conduct the interviews!

    Pisani is not correct in her claim that sex workers are ignored, however. My partner's been studying HIV rates and designing intervention programs among sex workers in Thailand for several years.

    The business about abstinence education is right on, of course. Even the US government's own studies recently concluded that it is ineffectual.


  • MattyC0709

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    May 13, 2008 10:10 PM GMT
    bfg1 saidjeeze the George Cross, The Maltese Falcon, the great Courage they showed in WW2 in the face of the utmost adversity and ya come up with the Eurovision!

    Sorry, very touchy on this one as the Maltese have my utmost respect and admiration yet the world has forgotten!

    and sorry to hijack I know you were only jokin

    VIVA MALTA U IL-MALTIN! Hehe!

    Dammit, I'm the cause of another thread starting to warp away... back to the wise whores! icon_biggrin.gificon_lol.gificon_razz.gificon_wink.gif
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    May 13, 2008 10:15 PM GMT
    obscenewish said
    Pisani is not correct in her claim that sex workers are ignored, however. My partner's been studying HIV rates and designing intervention programs among sex workers in Thailand for several years.



    I think the Dutch would have something to say about that! I think their sex workers are the best catered for in the world in terms of sexual health
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    May 13, 2008 10:22 PM GMT
    bfg1 said[quote][cite]RyanOji said[/cite]






    how much of a part has the catholic church played in this tho[/quote]


    Surprisingly, more than either of us knows. The Catholic church manages to regularily convince same gender attracted peeps to HATE themselves and curse their own existence( can you say,"teen suicide"?) I'd hate to be associated with that kind of church on judgement day...icon_eek.gif

    I don't associate with mainstream Christianity anyway...
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    May 13, 2008 10:25 PM GMT
    I was thinking more of its anti conraception stance
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    May 13, 2008 10:34 PM GMT
    Yeah... doesn't appeal to my logically or biblically either. You're not supposed to just follow biblical rules arbirtrarilly like the Catholic church does. I only maintain rules that prevent harm to my person or to other people.

    No birth control sounds pretty crazed up to me but hey, I don't like females sexually anyway xD


    P.S. I'm not sure if all those "ly" words need two "l"'s or not... but I'm not going to check all of them. =/
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    May 14, 2008 1:00 AM GMT
    My partner informs me that he tried to read Pisani's blog at work, but found that the CDC "sex filter" had blocked it. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    May 14, 2008 1:03 AM GMT
    obscenewish saidMy partner informs me that he tried to read Pisani's blog at work, but found that the CDC "sex filter" had blocked it. icon_rolleyes.gif


    That is a rather wonderful irony!
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    May 14, 2008 1:51 AM GMT
    It's interesting, but like you said OW, nothing new. I'm glad you mentioned Reagan and Bush Sr. C. Everett Coop has spoken in interviews about how the administration he was Surgeon General under considered the virus God's righteous wrath. It took Paul and Elizabeth Glaser's experience with the virus to disabuse Reagan of the notion that it was a cleansing fire sent from on high to purge the earth of undesirables.icon_lol.gif
  • HereNBoston

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    May 14, 2008 2:26 AM GMT
    there definitely seems to be a level of apathy in my generation. we didn't grow up with hiv/aids in the headlines as much. and its become almost a right of passage in the gay community to get your first HIV screening. but i dont think we have those constant reminders like a lot my older gay friends who remember the beginnings of the epidemic...

    and now that the medication regimens are getting a lot better, it kinda takes the urgency away it seems. people don't understand that there really isn't a cure. yeah, people are living longer, with better turn outs, but not EVERYONE has a great outcome. theres resistant strains, or they may become resistant, the side effects can be awful and vary person to person. But the take home people seem to get is... "well its not as huge a deal, it'll never happen to me, and if it does i can just go on meds..." I mean, i think a lot of you would be surprised at how little some people seem to know about the virus. or if they do know about risks and everything, they just feel like it wont happen to them.
  • dfrourke

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    May 14, 2008 2:36 AM GMT

    The posornot website was interesting...I actually got 90% of them right, but in all honesty, I was totally guessing...

    Public Policy as it surrounds HIV/AIDS is antiquated and based on 1980's information...there needs to be a full review of this disease rather than just taking on "amendments" or updates to our already existing policy and practices...

    ...I believe that will take a brave and strong leader to bring about that change...

    - David
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    May 14, 2008 3:17 AM GMT
    dfrourke said
    The posornot website was interesting...I actually got 90% of them right, but in all honesty, I was totally guessing...

    Public Policy as it surrounds HIV/AIDS is antiquated and based on 1980's information...there needs to be a full review of this disease rather than just taking on "amendments" or updates to our already existing policy and practices...

    ...I believe that will take a brave and strong leader to bring about that change...

    - David


    Can you elaborate on what you mean (in the bolded area)?
  • DaToNY22

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    May 14, 2008 4:34 AM GMT
    I feel for the men who live with HIV/AIDS and I also feel for the people who are effected by the cultural stigma. Read the book "Reviving the tribe: Regenerating gay men's sexuality and culture in the ongoing epidemic" by Eric E. Rofes... it is a great read about the development of the individuals and the gay community pre/post/during the epidemic.
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    May 14, 2008 4:54 AM GMT
    Rofes' book is great. Unfortunately, he died a few years ago. He was an important antidote to the hysteria that was at the time emanating from Gabriel Rotello and kin.
  • dfrourke

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    May 14, 2008 6:53 AM GMT

    well, try traveling into this country [as a non-native] or several others in the world as an HIV positive person and you'll know exactly what I mean...can you give blood as a gay man?...and I am not even going to get into debates about whether those of us with a chronic condition can receive organ transplants [although this recently changed]...or be 'worthy' of adopting kids...

    Frankly, the fact that the US still holds these restrictive policies is based off of the scare in the 80's of what this disease was or could do...the pandemic has changed...and much of our policy needs to reflect that change...

    - David