21 February 2009

In which I try to decide whether to throw in the towel

Some of you have heard me talk about my Epidemiology of HIV/AIDS professor. I hate him. He's an asshat.

He didn't make a good first impression on me when during the first session when he referenced his "contract with Temple" no less than three times (he's an adjunct). He didn't change the impression on the third meeting when he showed us a movie for the entire two hours. Folks, this is a grad-level course. After the movie, he told us that we didn't get to the point that he really wanted us to see (it's called a DVD, moron, and you can start or ffwd to that section). Then he went around the room and asked half of us what we thought about the movie. Not, mind you, "Does anyone have any thoughts about the movie?" or "Does anyone have anything they'd like to discuss about the movie?"

Today was the fifth meeting of the course. Before today, he has blamed the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Haiti on bisexuals. Then last week, he asked us to discuss the following case study: Tony is a homosexual male who has had three sex partners in the past six months, two of whom he did not know well. Pam has been married to John for ten years. John is the only person Pam has had sex with. They use oral contraceptives for family planning. Who is at greatest risk for contracting HIV and why?

Some people said Tony because he had multiple sex partners. Some said Pam because we don't know if John is stepping out on her. I asked if we can say that they're at equal risk because they're both sexually active and we don't know who's using condoms. He said no. Then since we were all arguing about it, he decided to make it an assignment. No more than one page, double-spaced.

After talking to several people about it, I decided to phrase my answer thusly: In terms of population statistics, a homosexual male with multiple sex partners has a greater risk of contracting HIV than a heterosexual female with one sex partner does. However, when assessing the individual risk of Tony and Pam, I would need information on whether Tony is having oral or anal sex, whether John is monogamous, whether any of them are using condoms, whether any of them are using drugs, etc., to make an accurate, informed decision.

Today, he started class by asking us how we answered the paper. He told those of us who chose Pam that we were wrong. He told those of us who answered both or neither, that we were wrong. He took his laser pointer and circled "homosexual," "three sex partners," and "didn't know well." Then he told us that since Pam was using oral contraceptives that she and John are "responsible." WTF???

He then spent the next 20 or so minutes explaining to us that homosexuality is a risk factor for HIV. One woman in class and I vehemently argued against him. Our argument is that sexual orientation (or "sexual preference," as he refers to it -- ASSHAT) is not a risk factor. The BEHAVIOUR is a risk factor. A gay man could have protected sex and a straight woman could have unprotected sex. It's the use (or not) or safer sex precautions that makes on at risk, not eh mere orientation. He told we were wrong.

I hate him.

Nancy had talked me out of dropping the course last week, but I'm 95% sure now that I will drop it.

And I had SUCH high hopes for this course.


  1. Can't argue. He's a bigoted and ignorant individual, and his "contract with Temple" does not reflect well on the institution.

  2. I clicked WTF because srsly WTF?? How do oral contraceptives help?? I mean you don't leave them in your mouth, you swallow them so it doesn't even help there. I mean haven't most aids prevention groups been stressing condoms for like years now?? And I don't even really know what epidemiolgy really means!

  3. If you're gonna drop anyway, stay long enough to be a pain in his arse and ask where he got his statistics on that obviously erroneous conclusion...