Word on the Street

ILLUSTRATION FOR TIME BY JEFFREY DECOSTER

When Elizabeth Pisani writes about AIDS, she wants people to know the unvarnished details. Her data on prevalence is gathered in nightclubs where researchers ask patrons about their sexual habits. She talks to women across Asia who have chosen prostitution because it pays better than factory work. And she studies the impact of specific sexual activities, explaining scientifically why, say, anal sex is so much riskier than vaginal sex. The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of AIDS is, in other words, unlike most books on HIV policy, which shroud arguments about sex and drugs in abstract, uncontroversial terms....

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