Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sober Chinese Hookers: Your Tax Dollars at Work

Here is a great use of our tax dollars for sure. Can't even make this stuff up. Hat Tip: Hot Air

The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will pay $2.6 million in U.S. tax dollars to train Chinese prostitutes to drink responsibly on the job.

Dr. Xiaoming Li, the researcher conducting the program, is director of the Prevention Research Center at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit.

The grant, made last November, refers to prostitutes as “female sex workers”–or FSW–and their handlers as “gatekeepers.”

“Therefore, in this application, we propose to develop, implement, and evaluate a venue-based alcohol use and HIV risk reduction intervention focusing on both environmental and individual factors among venue-based FSWs in China,” says the abstract.

Almost three million dollars to teach Chinese hookers how to hold their liquor? In the middle of a recession? This can’t be real; it’s a “too good to check” item, right? Wrong, although CNS discounts the high-minded motive behind the study:

A $2.6 million grant will help a Wayne State University School of Medicine researcher establish and evaluate whether an alcohol and HIV intervention center can assist in reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS among sex workers in China. …

“The global literature indicates an important role of alcohol use, especially problem drinking (abuse), in facilitating HIV/AIDS transmission in commercial sex venues where elevated alcohol use/abuse and sexual risk behaviors frequently co-occur,” Dr. Li said. “We expect that the intervention will improve protective normative beliefs and institutional support regarding alcohol use and HIV protection.”

It’s still a multimillion-dollar study that essentially teaches Chinese hookers to sober up when plying their trade, the better to prevent the spread of disease. That may be a good idea for a project for the Chinese government to fund — and cynics can point out that the Chinese are funding our budget deficits, so it may all be moot anyway — but the NIH might want to study those effects here in the US instead. After all, if the American taxpayer is funding the study, how about preventing disease amplification here rather than in Guangxi?

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