Global Efforts to Eradicate HIV

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Why More AIDS-Centered Movies Are Coming Out

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Same Same But Different. Philadelphia. Beats Per Minute. Dallas Buyers Club. The Normal Heart. What do you think these movies have in common?

Well, their central focus is AIDS and how it affects the lives of people who have contracted it.

I cannot call it a trend, but it seems like producers, directors, and writers are getting bolder than ever when it comes to the movies they make. There have been films with a lot of sexual content that appear on the silver screen, yes. You may have also seen gory and extremely violent movies. However, a sexually transmitted disease like AIDS is such a sensitive matter that people used to stay away from in the past. Even if there were several movies about them in the 80s, people hardly paid attention to them.

The reason for the latter is that HIV/AIDS was a taboo topic for decades. No one wanted to talk about it as if merely uttering the words would give them the disease. As you would see in most movies, the individuals who got tested positive lost everything, including their job and their family and friends. As a result, they tend to lose themselves, too.

The thing is, the 21st-century movies about AIDS are starting to thrive and become known now. They may never be as popular as sci-fi films, but they gain a new audience every time a similar flick comes out.

Why, you may ask?

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More People Are Beginning To Care About AIDS Patients

The primary reason I can think of is that there is a growing number of AIDS-free individuals who care about people with a sexually transmitted disease. They may be empathic; they want to know how to act around AIDS positive folks. So, the best way to learn that is by watching a movie that revolves around the condition.

The Characters Are Relatable

Although it’s sad, the truth is that more people are living with HIV/AIDS now than in the past. What’s worse is that the age range continues to expand as kids and teenagers contract this disease as well. There is no way out of this situation, but they at least find solace in seeing what the characters in the movies have done to make their life worthwhile.

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People Want To Learn How To Prevent Getting AIDS

Another reason why AIDS-centered films are no longer shunned away is that people want to know how they can avoid contracting the illness. After all, the story usually shows the life of the ill character before and after testing positive for AIDS. When you focus on the former, you will figure out what not to do, such as having unprotected sex with multiple partners.

Final Thoughts

It feels liberating to realize that the world is opening up individuals living with AIDS. The silver screen is one of the many tools to demonstrate that. It may be small, but the fact that filmmakers in various countries – not only in the US – use it can make a significant impact on society.

Let’s continue supporting AIDS-centered movies!

How To Turn Your Life Around After Feeling Like Ending It

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Many people who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS a few decades ago have had to live in isolation. No one understands the disease at the time, you see. All they know is that it is a transmittable illness and that being around a patient will cause them to acquire it, too. Of course, the virus does not work like that, but there is not enough information about the condition before. So, getting depressed to the extent of attempting suicide used to be common back then.

In the modern age, things have moved forward significantly. People have already realized that they cannot contract HIV even if they hug a patient or kiss them on the cheek. Instead of ridiculing the latter, therefore, they welcome friends or family members who have been diagnosed with the disease. 

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Now, even though there may not be a lot of individuals who feel isolated due to HIV/AIDS, some still think about ending their life at times. The typical reason is the fact that the disease eats away at their immune system. Because of that, viruses from all directions are quick to attack their bodies. No matter how many vitamins they take every day, coughs, colds, and other illnesses continue to persist. It is as if there will never be a day when they can revel at how healthy they are.

Without trying to invalidate your emotions, life will always be too beautiful to end with a rope or a slit on the wrist. You are having HIV/AIDS will not change that. Here’s what to think about to stop wanting to end it.

You Have Unfulfilled Dreams

The minimum age limit for the patients continues to decrease every year as more kids subject themselves to unprotected sex. What it entails is that a teenager can have HIV/AIDS right now and maybe finding it challenging to inform their parents about it. There may be a young man who keeps on hiding all the medicine they need to take to (hopefully) counter the vi rus.

Even if you are 15 or 50, you will always be too young to die. Dreams do not end at a certain age. For sure, you still have plenty of unfulfilled dreams at the moment. Focus on fulfilling them instead of looking for a quick way out.

You Cannot Ascend To Heaven If You Take Your Life

Whether you are religious or not, you may always want to go to heaven instead of hell when you pass away. The thought of being among the angels and living without pain is more exciting than the idea of getting tortured every day. You may think that you have experienced hell on earth, after all, so it is understandable if you want to seek peace when your soul departs.

We are not experts about heaven and hell, but based on what we’ve heard, you cannot ascend to heaven if you take your life. God has given it to you, so He is the only one who can reclaim it.

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Final Thoughts

The topic is honestly saddening because it happens all the time all over the globe. The more people get diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, the more the suicide rates continue to rise. We can only hope that this blog will deter you from doing the same thing if you have been dealt with the same cards.

Good luck!

Dietary Tips For HIV/AIDS Patients

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Having HIV/AIDS entails that there is now a virus in your system that will practically never go away. Your body will be battling it every day, even though there is no chance of winning against the disease. Still, you should stop eating fast foods and make healthy dishes to boost your immune system to give HIV/AIDS a great fight.

Not knowing what to cook and not having the time to prepare are very lame excuses for eating unhealthy stuff. If you have time to get your hair and nails done in the salon, if you have time to go to a bar with your friends after a day of work, then you surely can find the time to prepare healthy meals for yourself. As for what you can cook, you can go to any search engine to look for recipes. 

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Of course, salads should always be a part of your day, and you can change it up by adding fruits and vegetables so that your palate will always have a new taste to experience. Salads are great because they give you energy while helping you stay fit. Lots of doctors suggest having this food every day. You can also bake, steam, or grill your vegetables and some white meat. 

How To Embrace Healthy Eating 

The reason why a lot of people do not eat healthy stuff is that they become overwhelmed by the common belief that anything healthy tastes bland. The truth is, they can be as tasty as regular foods. If you are a fan of steak, bacon, and other meat products, you can always add them to your vegetarian dish, but only have them grilled. If you want eggs, only add egg whites. If you want chicken, boil or bake it. You cannot have white rice, white bread, or any forms of sweets all the time because they increase your carb content, but you can have brown rice, whole wheat bread, and brown sugar. Remember that you do not have to limit yourself with dull food; there is a healthy alternative for everything you eat.

Dietary Tips 

  • Choose ingredients that are free from fats, cholesterol, and sugar.
  • Do not use a lot of oil.
  • If you wish to fry something, use olive oil.
  • Always cook white meat instead of red meat.
  • Some dairy products like butter and cheese can make you fat.
  • Hotdogs and other processed foods are not suitable for your diet.
  • Say no to junk foods.
  • Stir-fry or grill your vegetables instead of frying them.

 

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Final Thoughts

The things mentioned above are just some of the basic ideas that you should know. There are many more, and you need to search for them on the internet. You also have to find the time to learn how to cook meals in a less fattening and healthier way. Just a rule of thumb, for your dish to be considered healthy, there should be more vegetarian items there than non-vegetarian ones. Always have fresh fruits and vegetables in your fridge, eat them whenever you get hungry, and you will be surprised by the difference that it will make on your weight and overall well-being after several weeks. 

Dealing With Rejection After Revealing Your Disease To People

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Hearing a specialist confirm that you have AIDS tends to make you wonder about a lot of things that you may have never thought of before. For instance, “Can I sit in the subway without people figuring out that I have a sexually transmitted disease?” “Is it okay for me to kiss my parents on the cheeks like I used to do?” “Can I hug my nieces and nephews without passing on the illness to them?” In short, AIDS can push a confident individual to doubt everything that they can or cannot do regularly.

The silver lining when it comes to acquiring AIDS in the 21st century is that disease-free people are more accommodating to the ill ones than ever. Most of them do not feel isolated and even have friends to defend or support them in times of need. Others get invited to become a public speaker and talk about social awareness regarding AIDS prevention. They are highly credible to do the latter because: a) they know how awful it can be to have AIDS, and b) they can teach life lessons to everyone based on their experience.

Despite all that, the individuals who have this sexually transmitted disease are not exempted from rejection. Sometimes, jobs and dates turn them away. Other times, their families cannot accept the fact that they have AIDS. 

It is impossible to sugarcoat how sad it feels to get rejected by the people who are supposed to support you, but that’s life. All you can do is deal with rejection after revealing your disease to people. Here are a few tips on what to do.

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Avoid Listening To Ridicules

The first thing is to stop absorbing the negative words that your bashers throw at you. You already know how negatively they feel about you. They may have expressed it in front of your face several times, and their ridicules have always hurt you. So, try not to be a masochist by staying idle when they start saying mean stuff about you. Retreat and look for other genuine people instead.

Be Okay With The Reality That Not Everyone Will Understand

Even if your illness may not be AIDS, people are ready to give their negative opinions if you do something that’s out of the norm. For instance, you drop out of college on your last semester to become a freelancer. You start dating right after splitting with your boyfriend. Not everyone will be supportive because they do not understand how your life works, and that’s nothing to get frazzled about. 

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Seek Support From Groups

In case your family and friends no longer want to get associated with you, you can seek support from non-profit organizations. They are the ones who are spreading AIDS awareness and helping the patients live freely in society. For sure, they will not hesitate to take you in if you ask.

Final Thoughts

Getting rejected after revealing that you have AIDS can usually feel like death. You may get depressed and think that no one will love you anymore. You may not be able to stop replaying the ridicules that keep on rolling in your direction. However, you should not dwell on such ill feelings because you need all your strength to survive with this disease.

Good luck!

Clinical Depression Increases Death Risk Of HIV-Infected Patients According To Psychologists

A study by psychologists emphasized the high depression rate among individuals living with HIV. According to them, 60 out of every 100 patients have clinical depression. Yes, sadness and grief are normal emotions whenever people find out that they have HIV. However, morphing this into a full-blown clinical depression is a serious story. It has turned into an epidemic that’s rapidly growing across genders and races. The illness affects the quality of life of the afflicted, and their whole world crashes and burns.

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Causes Of Clinical Depression In HIV Patients

There are various reasons why patients experience clinical depression. Contrary to popular belief, HIV infection does not necessarily translate to depression mainly because there are several “crisis points,” which a person with HIV can enter.

Some of these crisis points start with the initial HIV testing and diagnosis. Even if patients have not confirmed yet whether they are positive or not, they get paranoid and anxious. Some also do not pursue their testing because of the emotional crisis they are experiencing. Once these people know that they are HIV-infected, it adds to the burden they are carrying.

Another common crisis point is when these people are deciding whether to share this sensitive information to their family and friends. Keeping this information is another stress trigger for them. They feel that disclosing that they are HIV-positive will not only lead to disgust and judgment from other people but will also be a reason for their loved ones to abandon them.

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Other patients also feel more unstable whenever it is time for them to return to their regular lives. After finding out this big news, it is harder for them to make their way back to their routine – waking up in the morning, having breakfast, driving to work, having lunch with workmates, and driving by the road late at night. They feel more stressed out, knowing that it will never be the same for them after finding out their disorder.

Lastly, they get pressured whenever they are in the medical setting. Some crisis points in this environment include the introduction of new medication, presence of physical illness, recognition of depression symptoms, and hospitalization. The higher the exposure to these kinds of things, the higher the chance that they spiral into depression.

Symptoms

If you have been tested positive of HIV, make sure to go for medical visits regularly. Doing this is the best way to control the infection. Outside these physical examinations and treatments, you should also ask your doctor to conduct a mental health assessment. Make sure to choose a clinician who is comfortable with you as sometimes they hold back information so that they will not insult a patient.

Your doctors are not the only ones responsible for tracking your symptoms. You should also know the signs which can translate to depression.

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Feeling of self-guilt
  • Unable to sleep well
  • Problems in sustaining attention and concentration
  • Loss of pleasure and interest
  • Substance abuse
  • Disturbance in psychomotor
  • Pessimistic attitude
  • Challenging behavior in the medical setting
  • Persistent agitation
  • Constant changes in fatigue and energy level
  • Lower sex drive
  • Feeling sluggish all day
  • Inability to make decisions related to HIV infection treatments

Higher Death Risk

According to experts, HIV is not the only reason why these people die. Clinical depression also has a significant role in why there is a higher death risk among them. A study by the HIV Medicine tested the link between HIV, clinical depression, and mortality.

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“Our findings reinforce the need to assess and treat depressive symptoms and major depressive disorder in patients with and without HIV infection to potentially reduce mortality risk,” shares co-author Kaku So-Armah, Ph.D., a Medicine assistant professor at Boston University School of Medicine.

The data came from the study of 129,140 veterans in 13 years – from 2003 to 2015. According to the survey, among these veterans, 30 percent of them were affected by HIV. Out of these 30 percent, more than half receive a diagnosis of depression. From here, the researchers found out that there is a 23 percent increased risk of death for those who are HIV-positive as associated with their depressive symptoms.

Treatment

There are several ways to treat depression, even if you have HIV. For one, you have to attend your medical checkups. Make sure not to stop taking both your depression and HIV medications unless your doctors tell you too. There are also different types of therapies you can go to, such as traditional counseling, stress management, acupuncture, and massage.

Helping A Loved One With HIV – Suggestions From Therapists

We all know that HIV is a sexually transmitted virus that attacks our immune system, leaving us without protection from other illnesses. There is a lot of misconception about HIV, and one of them is that HIV cannot be treated. That is false information. HIV can be prevented and treated, but if left without medication, our immune system will get weaker and weaker until we can no longer fight off viruses. It can lead to severe diseases. This can also lead to AIDS, and that would be a bigger problem. So, what happens when you find out that your loved one is HIV positive? It will be hard to grasp. With that therapists have some suggestions.

Continue reading “Helping A Loved One With HIV – Suggestions From Therapists”

Raising Awareness At The 2016 Los Angeles HIV/aids Surveillance Program

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The 2016 Los Angeles HIV/aids Surveillance Program successfully achieved its goal to raise more awareness about HIV/aids and the possibility of treatment. In the program, one of the speakers mentioned that in 2014, almost 50% of the one million Americans who were diagnosed with HIV experienced viral suppression, meaning that their virus was effectively managed. This is one of the primary goals of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention because viral suppression greatly improves the lives of HIV patients and dramatically decreases their risk of contaminating others of their infection.

The speakers also emphasized the importance of campaigning and organizing events to empower Americans and people across the globe who are infected with HIV/aids to live hopefully and learn to open up in order to help others as well. Some activities that are simple yet effective include:

The Use Of Social Media. Using Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram are powerful ways of promoting awareness about many things. One can either create content and involve other netizens by providing a survey for them to answers. He may also want to include links in his post on topics about HIV/Aids.

Engaging The Community. If you’re a community leader, you can effectively help the young and old to know more about how to avoid HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases by holding symposiums and inviting speakers to talk about the importance of taking care of one’s sexual, physical, and mental health. As a member, you can also help by setting a good example to the youth and being diligent in following preventive measures during sexual intercourse with your spouse or partner.

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Distributing Promotional Supplies. Give a portion of your time for helping the community create cards, posters, and banner ads that can be found online for free. Distribute these to the community and the neighboring communities as well. There are big organizations who are willing and able to donate HIV/Aids campaign materials – all you have to do is search for them and communicate with them.

 

You, too, can make a difference in this world. Do your part now.

 

The 2016 Hawaii National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

There are a lot of things to get from the 2016 Hawaii National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. One of them is the prevention of a sexually transmitted disease. There are things that people should consider since the condition seems pretty rampant as of today.

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The Goal And Limitations

The awareness day aims to overcome some of the medical barriers by encouraging the natives to get tested. The promotion of receiving medical care is a way of reducing the toll of HIV/AIDS. The World Health Organization believes that the battle is not about the growing numbers of natives suffering from the disease. But preferably it is the knowledge of what safe sex should have to be. Since the condition already affects most of the youth, people should consider looking for preventions as well as solutions to the problem that targets a massive amount of people.

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Reducing The Risk

It is important to note that the protection for HIV requires steps. With this, couples who talk with each other about their conditions can significantly increase awareness. The act of indulging in less risky sexual intercourse should be given importance. These include using condoms and avoiding multiple sexual partners. That’s because the more partners a person has, the more likely he or she is prone to developing a transmitted disease. If in case there are already symptoms of the infection, never hesitate to seek out for help. Get tested and follow procedural treatments that can stop the diseases from becoming an autoimmune disorder. Always make time to understand the principles regarding the use of antiretroviral drugs, develop a healthy lifestyle, and schedule for regular checkups.

It is necessary that people should talk and consult a professional healthcare provider to understand the condition. It is not something to be disconcerted about and preferably not the best state to hide.

Development Of Aids From HIV

 

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Nowadays, a lot of people who are HIV positive have a longer lifespan compared to the past. Fortunately, having HIV does not mean you are going to die immediately. Many things can still be done so that the HIV-positive individual can live healthy and happy for years. But first, it is important that he remains positive and hopeful. It would be helpful if support from family and significant others is available to help him cope with his anxiety, stress, and emotional needs.

An individual who finds out that he is HIV positive will initially feel angry, guilty, shocked, and scared. These are normal emotions, but they should not persist for a long time. The individual must be able to overcome these emotions and learn to strengthen himself so he can face his daily challenges.

For the HIV-positive individual and his family members, it is important that they know the progression of HIV from infection to being sick with AIDS and eventually will lead to death. There are six stages that compose this process.

 

Primary HIV Infection

Also known as Acute primary infection, this stage begins with the person being infected with HIV until the immune system works hard to produce antibodies to help combat the virus in the body, which usually occurs between four and eight weeks. It can also last up to 12 weeks. During this window period, the individual is very contagious. The virus is replicating fast, but the damage is not visible on the outside. For some, they may manifest with flu-like symptoms, which include:

  • Fever, sore throat, and headache
  • Swollen lymph nodes on the inguinal and neck areas
  • Muscle and joint pain sometimes accompanied by rashes in the skin

These symptoms appear quickly and are frequently mistaken as just the simple flu or cold.

 

The Silent Stage

The affected individual experiences perfect health, as if he doesn’t have an illness. It is often called the silent stage since during this time the person doesn’t show to be active. However, on the inside, it is continually attacking the immune system.

 

Minor Stage

During this phase, there are minimal complications that are starting to show because the targeted immune system is slowly weakened. The lymph nodes may not be swollen initially, but at this stage, it will be visible and will persist to be swollen for quite some time, about three months or more. Signs and symptoms that may appear at this phase include:

  • Persistent fever and cold sweats
  • Decreased energy and appetite, which leads to weight loss
  • Vaginal and mouth thrush infections
  • Repeated throat infections and mouth ulcers

 

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Symptomatic Stage

Five to eight years from the onset of the infection, the immune system is markedly damaged, and it finds defending the body more difficult to do. At the same time, the virus is continuously increasing and spreading throughout the body. The symptoms seen at this stage have already become severe. These include:

  • Continuous fever, cold sores, and blisters
  • Repeated vaginal and oral thrush (Candida albicans)
  • Chronic bacterial infections and skin rashes
  • Obvious weight loss
  • Swollen lymph nodes

 

Full Blown AIDS

It is at this stage where anything infectious can practically attack the individual’s body. These infections practically infest the body and take advantage of the already weak immune system. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Skin rashes
  • Unexplained chest pains and coughing due to pneumonia and tuberculosis
  • Rapid weight loss, weakness, and fatigue
  • Chronic diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
  • Severe headaches and convulsions due to brain infections
  • Reduced ability to focus
  • Significant memory loss
  • Swollen lymph nodes, spleen, and liver
  • Blindness

 

AIDS is the progressive stage of HIV infection. It is usually declared as AIDS when an individual’s CD4 cells fall below 200. Additionally, one is also diagnosed with AIDS if he has a defining illness, such as pneumonia or lung disease and Kaposi’s sarcoma and other skin cancers.

 

Terminal Stage

Within a window of six months to three years from the development of full-blown AIDS, death typically occurs. Individuals who are living with AIDS undergo periods of being very ill, alternating with periods of being healthy. It would be uncommon to hear about someone ‘dying of AIDS.’ Technically, that is not true. A majority of these individuals suffer from different diseases caused by the proliferation of opportunistic infections, which ultimately lead to the individual’s death.

 

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People who know they have AIDS but still don’t take medications mostly only last about three years or less, particularly if they acquired a deadly infection. However, if one is hopeful and is consistently taking his medications and is living a healthy life, he can very possibly live a long, long time.

 

 

 

 

The Three Stages Of HIV Infection

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Once you have been infected with HIV, it is imperative that you receive treatment. The medication used for HIV is called the antiretroviral therapy or ART. It helps in slowing down or preventing the progression of the infection from stage one to two to three, given of course that it is taken properly. It also helps in reducing the risk of spreading the virus.

Continue reading “The Three Stages Of HIV Infection”

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