If Michael Moore were to dress up in women's clothing and prowl through the red-light districts of Jarkata, we might get a book similar to "The Wisdom of Whores." But this author not only has Moore's street smarts and a lively writing style, she also has a PhD in infectious disease epidemiology. Elizabeth Pisani knows whereof she speaks, because she has spent years on the streets and in the dingy bars where AIDS futures are traded.
"Whores" is one of a rare species of book such as Upton Sinclair's The Jungle (Enriched Classics) or Jessica Mitford's "The American Way of Death Revisited" that has the power to reform an industry. In this case, the author exposes the AIDS prevention industry that sprang up when First World governments started to shovel money into the vital struggle against HIV retrovirus. Or at least, that's where they should have shoveled it. If you think that the U.S. Government's emphasis on chastity over latex is a great way to spend your tax dollars, you definitely need to read this book.
I was particularly interested in learning why the AIDS epidemic in Asia has not taken off with the same alacrity as it did in South and East Africa.
Elizabeth Pisani may resemble one of Dante Gabriel Rossetti's ethereal Pre-Raphaelite models, but she talks about sex, drugs, and AIDS in the language of her subjects: the sex workers of Indonesia, China, East Timor, and Africa (foreskin soup, anyone?). She describes how governments are wasting billions of AIDS dollars on "schoolgirls and housewives and Boy Scouts" when they should be concentrating on preventive measures for the people who are actually at risk for this deadly disease: "junkies and gay guys and the people who buy and sell sex."
If you are someone who believes that "junkies and gay guys and the people who buy and sell sex" are getting what they deserve, this author has a message for you, too: remember who is infecting the housewives, Boy Scouts, and even the unborn children. The HIV-positive carrier could be your boyfriend, your sister, or your grandchild. Is there anyone in this 21st century without a friend or relative who is infected with this deadly retrovirus?
Some people may object to the frank language of `Whores.' Others may object to its message that condoms will do more to limit the spread of AIDS than misguided attempts at abolishing the sex trade. Most of us will have our eyes opened on what really needs to be done with our tax dollars in order to mitigate the worldwide AIDS crisis.
Review copy supplied by author