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Letters to the Editor

Looking Beyond the "Lifestyle Left"

Your issue on sex ["You Can't Save Lives if You Don't Talk About Sex," Spring 2008] was a disappointment. It amounted to a triumphal assertion that the "harm reduction" stance of what might be called the "lifestyle left" represents the standard way to address the public health problems tied to human sexuality.

Although we've learned from battling AIDS in Africa that encouraging "partner reduction" was key and have data demonstrating that partner reduction has been decisive wherever HIV rates have fallen, the need to promote this behavioral change when facing epidemics of sexually transmitted disease is never mentioned in the entire magazine even in the section devoted to the "politics of sex." Rather all authors assumed that "we" have the correct point of view and others are simply ignorant ideologues who propose what is unreasonable.

Until there is a more evenhanded conversation on approaches to human behavior, our public health work in these crucial domains will run on political power and faddish presumptions blind to the issues at stake.

Paul McHugh, MD
University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

High Prevalence of Relevance

The entire special issue is so relevant to what I do as an STD clinician and family planning provider. Also, the articles relating to teens are great for our teen clinic population.

We would like to subscribe to the magazine. If this is how your magazine addresses sex and STDs, I can only imagine the other good information we could glean about other public health issues.

Cathy Smith, ARNP
Skagit County Health Department
Mount Vernon, Washington

Taboo Breaking Issue

Last June, I received my first copy of your magazine, which focused on the public health issues regarding sex. Here in my country, it is indeed taboo to talk about sex with family, friends, even with our elders. However, I agree with the magazine that we cannot deal with societal issues if we do not bring the topic of sex into society's conversation.

I pray that you will still include me in the subscriber's list so I can receive future editions of the magazine--and learn from one of the best public health schools in the world. More power to the Bloomberg School and to the Johns Hopkins Public Health magazine!

Ramon Lorenzo Luis Rosa Guinto
Doctor of Medicine, Class of 2012
University of the Philippines

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