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HIV: Reaching Global Goals? December 1, 2011

Posted by ToYourHealth in Global Health, Public Health.
Tags: , , , , , ,

World AIDS Day, HIV goalsThirty years of an infectious pandemic, drug research, public health education, and counseling have brought us to the point where we boldly announce the goal of an HIV-free generation in the next three years. This may seem attainable as HIV is a preventable disease. Personal behavior changes will determine the rate of infection. Assuming we will curb behaviors of all people who engage in IV drug use and unprotected sex, especially at a time when economies are struggling, is delusional.

Greece’s troubled economy has seen new infections rise by 52% in 2011, and that rate is expected to increase to 60% by the end of the year. (The US rate of increase is about 7%.) The rate of injected drug use is increasing because people can no longer afford other methods, and there have been heavy cuts to prevention in the form of free needles. The World Health Organization recommends 200 per year per user and Greece is handing out only three. Mobile testing units which frequently hit areas of high prostitution and drug use have ceased, in lieu of free-standing facilities in “posh neighborhoods,” out of reach of those who need them most. Drug therapy is becoming more unattainable, and according to Reuters and the National School of Public Health,

Antiretroviral drugs cost Greece at least 1,000 euros per patient a month. For the state to pay for all those people would cost just over 130 million euros a year. According to Christianna Rizopoulos, who collects data at the Hellenic Center’s HIV office, there is talk among health professionals that the government plans to cut its contribution for drugs to 600 euros per treatment per month, so patients would have to foot almost half the bill.

And this at a time when unemployment is up, hovering around 20%.

Outlooks for the US economy project at least a decade, maybe two, for recovery. Currently, there are over 250,000 Americans unknowingly carrying the virus. Fear of stigma prevents many from being tested, even though access to care is fairly good. Hillary Clinton’s hope of zero new infections by combining prevention techniques may work on paper, but realistically it’s a pipe dream until economies stabilize.

The government is not going to stop new infections. YOU are. David Scondras, CEO and Founder of Search For A Cure/HIV Treatment Advocacy, explains how you can protect yourself:

For confidential testing, find a site near you by entering your zip code. Pass it on.

Peace. It’s Your Business. November 23, 2011

Posted by ToYourHealth in Global Health.
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Humanity for economic prosperity.

Usually, a study of peace is really a focus on conflict. Since 2007, however, a Global Peace Index ranks 153 countries measuring 23 indicators including income, social sustainability, spending, warring, climate change, amount spent on weapons, safety, respect for human rights, education and distribution of resources. The top-rated countries in this index provide an opportunity to study the structure of peaceful nations, and the tools we need to determine the peacefulness and economic environment we can create for our own future.

A nation’s inequalities define its functionality and have a direct impact on its economy. As the Institute for Economics and Peace claims, violence—both internal and external—creates costs for business and government and reduces productivity. This seems obvious, but it translates into billions of dollars. Had the U.S., which ranked 82nd on the GPI, similar levels of peacefulness to Canada, ranking 8th, the U.S. economy would have benefitted by $361 billion per year, and would have stimulated about 2.7 million additional jobs, reducing our unemployment rate by about 20%. In turn, arts and business would also flourish.

The strength of a society’s peace factor determines the likelihood that the society can withstand serious crises. Social sustainability structures are outlined in this short video:

Interestingly, the two social sustainability structures that carry the most weight are Acceptance of the Rights of Others, and Good Relations with Neighbors. The U.S. could begin it’s climb up the index ladder by focusing on these two notions.

For the first time, the United States was ranked according to state and based upon the absence of violence.

US Peace Index, global peace index

Image by ChartsBin.com

We, each of us, can shape our own future both individually and collectively. Ignoring the data for structure of peace would be irresponsible and detrimental to our economic future. We are now at the precipice. How unwise it would be to let another year pass in the same direction we’ve been heading. Our federal government is losing stability and has become an unreliable factor. We, as people and institutions, must start going about the business of peace and hope the government will join us, as it is a necessary indicator on the index. We must rely on ourselves to accomplish peace. Don’t think as an individual you can make much of a difference? Let this woman be your inspiration.

Global Peace Index 2011

  1. Iceland
  2. New Zealand
  3. Japan
  4. Denmark
  5. Czech Republic
  6. Austria
  7. Finland
  8. Canada
  9. Norway
  10. Slovenia
  11. Ireland
  12. Qatar
  13. Sweden
  14. Belgium
  15. Germany
  16. Switzerland
  17. Portugal
  18. Australia
  19. Malaysia
  20. Hungary
  21. Uruguay
  22. Poland
  23. Slovakia
  24. Singapore
  25. Netherlands
  26. United Kingdom
  27. Taiwan
  28. Spain
  29. Kuwait
  30. Vietnam
  31. Costa Rica
  32. Laos
  33. United Arab Emirates
  34. Bhutan
  35. Botswana
  36. France
  37. Croatia
  38. Chile
  39. Malawi
  40. Romania
  41. Oman
  42. Ghana
  43. Lithuania
  44. Tunisia
  45. Italy
  46. Latvia
  47. Estonia
  48. Mozambique
  49. Panama
  50. South Korea
  51. Burkina Faso
  52. Zambia
  53. Bulgaria
  54. Namibia
  55. Argentina
  56. Tanzania
  57. Mongolia
  58. Morocco
  59. Moldova
  60. Bosnia and Hercegovina
  61. Sierra Leone
  62. The Gambia
  63. Albania
  64. Jordan
  65. Greece
  66. Paraguay
  67. Cuba
  68. Indonesia
  69. Ukraine
  70. Swaziland
  71. Cyprus
  72. Nicaragua
  73. Egypt
  74. Brazil
  75. Equatorial Guinea
  76. Bolivia
  77. Senegal
  78. Macedonia
  79. Trinidad and Tobago
  80. China
  81. Gabon
  82. United States of America
  83. Bangladesh
  84. Serbia
  85. Peru
  86. Cameroon
  87. Angola
  88. Guyana
  89. Montenegro
  90. Ecuador
  91. Dominican Republic
  92. Guinea
  93. Kazakhstan
  94. Papua New Guinea
  95. Nepal
  96. Liberia
  97. Uganda
  98. Congo
  99. Rwanda
  100. Mali
  101. Saudi Arabia
  102. El Salvador
  103. Tajikistan
  104. Eritrea
  105. Madagascar
  106. Jamaica
  107. Thailand
  108. Turkmenistan
  109. Armenia
  110. Uzbekistan
  111. Kenya
  112. Belarus
  113. Haiti
  114. Kyrgyz Republic
  115. Cambodia
  116. Syria
  117. Honduras
  118. (blank)
  119. Iran
  120. Niger
  121. Mexico
  122. Azerbaijan
  123. Bahrain
  124. Venezuela
  125. Guatemala
  126. Sri Lanka
  127. Turkey
  128. Cote d’Ivoire
  129. Algeria
  130. Maruitania
  131. Ethiopia
  132. Burundi
  133. Myanmar
  134. Georgia
  135. India
  136. Philippines
  137. Lebanon
  138. Yemen
  139. Colombia
  140. Zimbabwe
  141. Chad
  142. Nigeria
  143. Libya
  144. Central African Republic
  145. Israel
  146. Pakistan
  147. Russia
  148. Democratic Republic of Congo
  149. North Korea
  150. Afghanistan
  151. Sudan
  152. Iraq
  153. Somalia
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