John J. Potterat
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Order John Potterat's book "Seeking The Positives"

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What’s it like to be on the front lines of sexually transmitted disease control? How do public health workers figure out patterns of transmission?

Answer: by persistently tracing, and working with, those at high risk: adventurous young people, drug users, prostitutes, street gangsters, gays, “tri-sexuals" (those who try anything), and people one would not suspect to be at risk.

The author draws from his more than three decades of experience running an exceptionally effective local STD/HIV control program — exceptional because this program habitually challenged the received wisdom, bringing scientific rigor to an area that previously lacked it.

It also introduced innovative tools, such as network analysis, to elucidate STD propagation dynamics on the community level. Science is the major theme unifying both this control program and this book.

Lastly, the author details the failures of both the international health agencies (CDC, WHO, UNAIDS) and researchers in academia to implement scientifically rigorous studies of HIV transmission that could reliably answer the question: “Why Africa”?

"Part memoir, part tribute to the art of contact tracing, the book is a testimony to Potterat’s tremendous faith in his subject, and his results speak for themselves in terms of distribution analysis and subsequent successes in STD curtailment. The current scarcity of contact tracing application certainly seems a shame, because understanding the transmission patterns of any disease remains a highly logical step on the road to curing it."

—Rhiannon Howe, Lancet Infectious Diseases, Book Review Section, vol. 16 (Aug 2016), p. 904