:: to the teeth ::    thoughts on social justice, medicine, race, hope and beats

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." :: Arundhati Roy ::

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." :: Alice Walker ::
Thursday, December 29, 2005  

Former sex worker leads HIV/AIDS project -- it just makes sense

"My chief goal is to ensure that not a single sex worker offers her service without condoms. We want to bring down the infection rate to zero." -- Bharati Dey.

Who is Ms Bharati Dey? She's a former prostitute who now at age 40 serves as director of the World Health Organization-funded HIV/AIDS project for several thousand sex workers in the red light district of Sonagachi, in Kolkata, India.

Sonagachi's HIV/AIDS control programme has brought infection rates down to around five percent from around 90 percent a decade ago, partly by encouraging prostitutes to refuse sex without condoms.

The Sonagachi programme's success saw the U.S.-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation use it as a model for a $200 million project in six other Indian cities...

"It's very difficult to ensure 100 percent condom use but we will strive to achieve that. We also aim to achieve empowerment of sex workers," Dey said, sitting in her one-room office in the middle of a row of brothels.

Kudos to Dey for rising up as a leader and taking on the grand task of empowerment. And double kudos to the World Health Organization for the audacity to appoint a former sex worker to oversee this agency.

Photo credits - Jayanta Shaw, Reuters. Story - "Former Kolkata prostitute vows to fight HIV/AIDS"

posted by Anjali Taneja | 12/29/2005 07:33:00 PM | (1) comments |

Friday, December 09, 2005  

Are Republicans Conservative?

There's a first for everything, I guess.

Yesterday I was caring for a man with a fairly bad case of cellulitis and abscess from injection drug use. He was on his fifth day of injectable antibiotics to calm the infection in his hand down. Being an opiate user, his pain tolerance is fairly poor so he was hating the intramuscular injections and hoping that I would just give him pills. I was trying to assure him that I wouldn't recommend injectable antibiotics unless it were really necessary. I told him something about how I view myself as "fairly conservative" when it comes to using antibiotics.

Then he looked at me and said, "you must be a republican!" i'm not a republican. and for that matter, i'm not a democrat either. Both parties suck. At the local level, i vote for anyone with integrity and the least amount of racism and homophobia. At the national level, i vote for anyone who can spell (and say) the word - diplomacy. In my heart, i think voting is rigged and the only thing that really matters is individual courage and democratic team power.

So it all raises the question - Are republicans conservative? I don't think so. Bush says he's republican and he and Ronald McReagan both slammed us with huge debt burdens. They don't conserve natural resources. The only thing they really conserve is spending on public programs that usually attempt to decrease the gap between rich and poor. hmmm... conservative.

what does conservative mean? to conserve. to save. i'm conservative. i don't overuse antibiotics. i don't build up huge personal debt (although i already have enough), i reuse and recycle (mostly). okay, so maybe i'm not that conservative afterall...


posted by andru | 12/09/2005 04:47:00 PM | (0) comments |

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