FOF #1184 – You Can Learn a Lot from a Whore

May 3, 2010 · 1985 views

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Elizabeth Pisani has interviewed hundreds of sex workers from all around the world to figure out how best to fight sexually transmitted diseases and what she found out, may surprise you.

Today Elizabeth talks about her fabulous book, “The Wisdom of Whores,” on how sex and drugs relate to AIDS and how your government foolishly spends money trying to deal with crisis.


  1. Ahh! It’s so nice to hear a british voice! Wonderful show, guys! A very intellectual and engaging interview!

  2. Derrick Bowman says:

    Still been listening for years now. Still love you guys everyday I get. Thanks for asking my questions to the lovely Elizabeth Pisani. This is one of your best! So insightful and intelligent! Thanks!

  3. That was a fantastic show! The statistics of AIDS prevention is really interesting stuff and it was so great to hear such a prestigious academic speak about it. It’s unfortunate however that nearly all the news was bad. Heh.

  4. cristalconnors says:

    Loved the show, darlins. I always enjoy hearin’ about whores, but especially whores that help. A+ as usual boys!

  5. Saulo says:

    Hello guys! This was one of the best podcasts this year. Elizabeth is smart, insightful and adorable. Great show! Kisses..

  6. Andy says:

    That was a fantastic show! Elizabeth is such a well educated, smart and nice woman.

    I absolutely agree with her, prostitution should be legal. Since 20002 when the German government have improved the legal situation of prostitutes many things improved. Prostitutes pay taxes but they have healthcare and HIV infectione are relatively low in Germany.

    Isn’t it wonderful to be a slut? 😉

  7. Awesome show!!! I really think this is one of your best – entertaining, educating, and thought provoking. In my mind, this took you guys to an even higher level.

    Also, thank you for always using my questions on facebook in your podcasts. You guys do an amazing job of making this show seem like a “mom and pop” program while having production and content of a HUGE media outlet.

    I am blown away by the amazing honest info that came out of this show! So refreshing….no agenda, no corporate bullshit, honest answers.

  8. Andreas says:


    I loved this episode. But I have to correct you guys on one thing.

    In sweden we have a law against sexbuyers. But not against sexsellers.

    But not everybody is in favor for this law.

    The problem is that the legislation has moved the sexmarket from the streets to the internet where it is harder to find and meet up with the people who are in the business. Making it difficult to secure the population.

    And that the legislation is driven by an idea that women are victims to the patriarchy, more or less.

    The interesting thing is that two studies made in Sweden and Norway show that there are more guys then women that is selling sex in the Scandinavian countries. But, guys tend to go out and in of selling sex. Where the women tend to stay longer period of times selling sex making them overrepresented.

    Unfortunately it seems like other countries within the EU will adopt this law and other repressive laws that Sweden has when it comes to fighting hiv/aids.

    Thank you for a fabulous show and sending tons of love from Sweden.

  9. peripheries says:

    • What is Tenofovir? asked one of the host show.
    • PrEp having been found in parrot infected with HIV ?
    • HIV infection making people horny?

    What kind of show is that? Hearsay central? I hope listeners are more educated than the show hosts.

    • I asked what Tenofovir was for the benefit of the audience. I should have said like Terri Gross does “This may be obvious but…” FOF is not an AIDS/HIV podcast for people in the health field and many of our listeners are not familiar with AIDS medication so it’s important to us to make it accessible and to explain things as best we can.

      The theory that HIV and other STIs making people horny as a way to spread themselves has been around for a while, and while amusing or sensational, we never presented as fact.

      As far as the parrots go, I’m not familiar with what Fausto was referencing but I didn’t find it that unusual that they used animals to study disease.

      If you have anything constructive to add, I’d be happy to hear back from you.

    • Thanks for your feedback Peripheries. On talk shows, sometimes questions that may seem obvious to some people are brought up in order to give the guest the opportunity to speak on the issues. Not everyone knows what Tenofovir is, but it’s great that you do.

      There also was a confusion between PRE & POST Exposure Prophylaxis treatment programs, my apologies.

      From what I recall on hearing about the first PEP research,
      there were studies done on mice, primates, people and even parrots. Can’t find the link to that, and maybe I’m wrong, but I always remembered that unusual part of the story from way back when I first hear about this in 2001.

      As a pre-med student in college, there was a lot of discussion about seeing things from the perspective of the pathogen, since it is also a living creature. It would be biologically advantageous for any sexually transmitted disease to cause sexual arousal in its host, since it would increase it’s chances for survival. Evolution. That’s why when people first get infected with any STD, their ability to spread it doesn’t shut down. Didn’t Elizabeth say that a lot of people get infections from people who look healthy.

      As far I know there isn’t any hard evidence to show that some STD infections cause sexual arousal, but it remains a fascinating possibility, and I wanted to know if there was any truth or research done on this aspect.

      Thanks again for writing in!

  10. Bachir Sarr says:

    Epidemiological theories are sometimes romantic but not be taken as hard science because they allow interpretation and human bias, stigma and discrimination. It becomes worrisome if policy is based on them.

  11. I absolutely loved this podcast! Mz. Pisani was so well versed and informative! Plus she has a personality and voice that’s perfect for radio! Seriously, this show was stellar and NPR should be jealous. I wouldn’t be surprised if I heard Elizabeth on my local NPR station talking about her research someday soon.

  12. Fantastic show guys! Dr. Pisani is Brilliant! I just recommended her book (and work) to my colleagues on the email list of the LGBT Round Table of the American Library Association.

  13. Xavi says:

    thanks for introducing us to Elizabeth. WOW! what a GREAT show. i was on talk of the nation a few years ago (2004) and asked what the difference was between starting to smoke and bareback sex, at least in the US. does anyone not know that smoking causes cancer and bareback sex may lead to HIV (and both can kill you)? I got a lot of shit from my friends for asking the question at the time. It was great to hear Elizabeth’s point of view. If only politicians listened to what she is saying!

    ps…laughed so hard when you responded to someone sending you a text while you were taping the show! 😀

  14. Xavi says:

    also, i’m a very well informed listener and i didn’t know what tenofovir is. i know enough to know that anything ending in -vir is some sort of antiviral, but glad you clarified.

  15. Cray says:

    This was by far one of the most interesting and thought-provoking FoF episodes. Great job. I wish more people were like Elizabeth Pisani!

  16. Listening to this show now, finally. I’m not super-far in yet, but I wanted to comment before I forgot. I thought it was kind of controversial that she doesn’t call herself an AIDS activist, simply because of semantics.. Isn’t that comparable to saying “I’m not a gay rights activist, but I think gays should be treated as equals, politically and socially, etc.” or “I’m not a feminist, but I sure am glad I’m allowed to own a home, have a job, and have birth control pills”? I understand that she wants to distance herself from the ideology, but I feel like you can’t NOT be an activist for something when your academic specialty is preventing HIV/AIDS. She even talked about handing out clean needles, which sounds like a preventive proactive way to prevent AIDS and HIV to me! Don’t get me wrong – I’ve already added her book to my kindle queue – but I just wanted to comment on this, since comments are currency 😉

  17. Also, her accent is so interesting 😛 It’s like one minute, she sounds Irish, and then she’s British, and then she sounds like she has a Southern twang (“fer”, for instance). Love it 😛 Keeps me engaged lol

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