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Synopsis

A flame-throwing epidemiologist talks about sex, drugs, and the mistakes (dismal), ideologies (vicious), and hopes (realistic) of international AIDS prevention.

When people ask Elizabeth Pisani what she does for a living, she says, "sex and drugs." As an epidemiologist researching AIDS, she's been involved with international efforts to halt the disease for fourteen years. With swashbuckling wit and fierce honesty, she dishes on herself and her colleagues as they try to prod reluctant governments to fund HIV prevention for the people who need it most—drug injectors, gay men, sex workers, and johns.Pisani chats with flamboyant Indonesian transsexuals about their boob jobs and watches Chinese streetwalkers turn away clients because their SUVs aren't nice enough. With verve and clarity, she shows the general reader how her profession really works; how easy it is to draw wrong conclusions from "objective" data; and, shockingly, how much money is spent so very badly. "Exhibit A": the 45 billion taxpayer dollars the Bush administration is committing to international AIDS programs.

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