Friday, June 13, 2008

The Wisdom of Whores

Always wise to flip back through recent shows on Fresh Air!

I have been taken by the challenge the solving the HIV/AIDS epidemic and enjoyed the interview with the author of The Wisdom of Whores, Elizabeth Pisani. The book floats the idea that we might try "making fun things (sex, drugs) safe, instead of trying to make safe things (abstinence, monogamy) fun". The book Excerpt on the Fresh Air page has some great insight into the UN system.

Also related was a BBC Today debate about methadone (Harm Reduction) and whether it really got addicts off drugs. In grad school, I was very much interested in the concept of harm reduction, also praised in the interview with Pisani. What I thought was amazing is the need for societies to care for those people that are often most looked down upon, not only as an act of charity, but as an act of pragmatism and self-preservation. If Russians, want to stop HIV, it means rethinking the modern "gulag" and helping their drug addicts, who spread HIV; in India, it means caring for the commercial sex workers. I guess with methadone, it isn't a black and white decision, but it is so hard to tell as an outsider. I think, on a basic level, I believe it is better to get issues out in the open so they can be solved, rather than pretending that human can select absolutes (like the Bush administration's use of abstinence programs in trying to stop HIV). On the other hand, the gent criticizing methadone on the BBC had some good points about making sure methadone isn't used as a crutch.

By the way, have also discovered the BBC not uses tags and URL links, rather than just putting up entire shows! My, it is all getting easier!

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