By Dana Malcolm
November 29, 2022 – Back in 2020 when Covid-19 began to shut down businesses and terror at the unknown virus was high, evidenced in supermarket rows over toilet paper and lockdowns I can remember asking my mother whether she had experienced anything of this scale before. Her answer? ‘HIV/AIDS.’ Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. If HIV is not treated, it can lead to AIDS Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
“It was terrible, people were just dropping dead, nobody knew what they had or what to do.” she said.
The sexually transmitted disease HIV first started appearing in 1981. It spread rapidly with deadly, heartbreaking consequences.
That was forty one years ago. Now, World AIDS day is celebrated each year on December 1st and while HIV/AIDS is considered a treatable and preventable disease, with verifiable reports that some people have even been cured of ‘terminal illness’, millions of people were consumed by the illness before scientists reached the breakthroughs which now allow patients to live productive lives.
Many of those lost to the HIV/AIDS were men and hundreds of thousands still contract the virus each year.
So how can you prevent contracting HIV/AIDS? The Centres for Disease Control says
- Abstain from sex
- If you are sexually active limit your partners
- Use physical protection (condoms) during sex
- Don’t share needles
If you have had unprotected sex and think you may be HIV positive or you just want to be protected, you can take HIV prevention medicines such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). You must start PEP within 72 hours after a possible exposure to HIV.
For those with a confirmed HIV diagnosis, the FDA says treatment is available.
“Treatment with HIV medicines is called antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART is recommended for everyone with HIV. It reduces a person’s viral load to an undetectable level. Maintaining an undetectable viral load helps a person with HIV live a longer, healthier life. People with HIV who maintain an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative partners through sex.”
Men may shy away from having themselves examined by a doctor, but catching and treating HIV before it becomes AIDS is crucial and greatly lengthens one’s life expectancy.
If you have the virus there are ways to manage it and to keep your loved ones and sexual partners safe.
You can have a relatively normal life. There is still hope.
No More Weekly COVID Updates, says WHO
September 29, 2023 – In a clear sign that the global community has moved past the emergency stage of the COVID-19 Pandemic; the World Health Organization (WHO) is suspending its weekly COVID updates and migrating to a monthly format.
In a September 1 report, they advised: “Please note that this is the last edition of the COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update. Moving forward, as WHO transitions its COVID-19 surveillance from an emergency response to long-term COVID-19 disease prevention, control and management, we will be providing updates every four weeks.”
The WHO, along with other health agencies like the US Centers for Disease Control, had been warning about the reduced reliability of COVID-19 data because of less robust testing worldwide for some time.
The disease was downgraded from a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in May 2023.
New boosters are still being approved and the WHO is predicting that the disease will have to be controlled with yearly vaccines as variants continue to emerge much like the Flu virus.
COVID + Kids, What to watch for
September 29, 2023 – COVID-19 is no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, but the disease is still present and can still affect the population including children.
Cough fever and difficulty breathing are only some of the symptoms that young children and babies might experience when infected with the viral illness, according to a report from Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Other symptoms include muscle or body aches; sore throat; loss of taste or smell; diarrhea; headache; fatigue; nausea or vomiting; congestion or runny nose.
Children may not be eloquent enough to properly convey their illness so parents are advised to pay close attention to their complaints and visible symptoms.
Though COVID-19 can be a mild disease for most, there are some cases that warrant immediate emergency medical attention the hospital says. These include:
- Difficulty breathing or catching his or her breath
- Inability to keep down any liquids
- confusion or inability to awaken
- Bluish lips
Both COVID and the flu tend to spike during the winter flu season so parents are advised to take precautions against them including mask wearing in high risk areas and frequent hand washing.
New report reveals stunning Blood Pressure statistics
#TurksandCaicos, September 29, 2023 – Hypertension affects 1 in 3 adults worldwide, and if countries do not scale up coverage tens of millions of people will die. That’s according to a first-of-its-kind report on the global effects of hypertension from the World Health Organization.
The September 19th report indicated that the number of people living with hypertension has doubled in less than 30 years, between 1990 and 2019, from 650 million to 1.3 billion and nearly half of the affected are unaware.
The WHO is now calling on all countries including the Turks and Caicos to invest in the prevention, detection and management of hypertension as a matter of urgency.
The organization crunched the numbers to show countries what more focused programs could do.
“An increase in the number of patients effectively treated for hypertension to levels observed in high-performing countries could prevent 76 million deaths, 120 million strokes, 79 million heart attacks, and 17 million cases of heart failure between now and 2050,” it said.
Along with saving lives, the WHO says it can also decrease spending on health. Health is usually the largest portion of the TCI budget. The cost of preventing and managing the disease versus treating its effects is massive.
“The prevention, early detection and effective management of hypertension are among the most cost-effective interventions in health care and should be prioritized by countries as part of their national health benefit package offered at a primary care level. The economic benefits of improved hypertension treatment programs outweigh the costs by about 18 to 1.”
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