HIV: Denial is not Action

Our theme this week has been HIV and our support of the effort to raise awareness in time for National HIV Testing Day. This is an annual event to raise awareness for HIV. Getting tested is important and in many walks of life this is a common and frequent health check. If you have been single for a long time and are embarking on a new long term relationship, it’s sensible to be sure that this subject is not taboo. This year it fell on June 27.

Obviously the first step is to as far as possible prevent getting infected in the first instance. There are many things that you can do, sensible precautions to protect yourself from HIV. Most are common sense, but some are things that people shy away from, like having in depth discussions about previous sexual partners, for fear of causing offense. If more people took this seriously a lot of misery and suffering could be avoided.

News sources like AIDS.gov exist to distribute information about the spread of HIV/AIDS and provide a forum for government strategies to combat the disease. Being aware of initiatives can help you to get involved with helping to shape legislation and the politics of HIV. As the old saying goes, “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.

The statistics about the spread of HIV in the United States are almost too huge to comprehend, and they are not shrinking at all. Awareness helps, and of course prevention and testing, but fundraising and getting involved, even if your life hasn’t been touched by HIV, is a responsibility we can all share.

Although treatments exist for HIV, there is no cure. Efforts to find one are painfully underfunded for some reason, partially the stigma of HIV but partly because people don’t want to talk about it. Be the person who doesn’t mind talking about it, and promote honest and open debate among your friends and family.

Here is a lists of some of our other blog posts on HIV.

HIV: Treatments But No Cure

And finally, there are many modern treatments for HIV to attempt to stall its transformation into full AIDS. The grim truth is that as of this point there is no cure, and all the current treatments can really promise anyone with HIV is to buy time. The hope is that soon a cure for HIV and even AIDS may be found, but until then the medical profession is doing everything in its power to fight back. This detailed information about treatments from the Mayo Clinic gives you everything you need to know about the current treatments for HIV.

Here is a lists of some of our other blog posts on HIV.

Enjoy Fireworks in Safety

It’s soon to be July the 4th, and that means the sky will be lit up with fireworks again. How can you ensure your enjoyment of the big day without risking injury or worse?

Everyone loves the excitement of fireworks at events which traditionally require an explosive celebration, and 4th of July is the big one. However, many of us are worried about fireworks though – and with good reason – but they are perfectly safe to use as long as you observe certain safety protocols. They’re mostly common sense, but it’s worth taking a few minutes to remember the safety rules to prevent tragedy marring the coming holiday.

Protecting the Kids

Of course children need to be supervised at all times. It’s a good idea to make this less of a “looking over their shoulder” process and more of an inclusive event. Include them in your fire safety precautions, and explain everything to them as you go. Let them handle the fireworks and go through how they work and what they do, and explain the dangers. Don’t be unnecessarily scary, but don’t shrink away from the fact that fireworks must be treated with respect because they can be fatal.

Even sparklers need a moderate amount of safe handling as they remain hot after use and should be doused in a pail of water as soon as they’re done. But let the kids take care of this themselves. Make them want to prove they are grown up enough to be involved. If they feel included in what goes on, they will learn more and feel less inclined to experiment on their own.

Keep your Distance

Young people – and indeed everyone who’s not actually lighting any fireworks – should watch and enjoy the display at a safe distance and follow the safety rules. Of course only adults should deal with firework displays and the lighting of fireworks and the safe disposal of fireworks once they have been used.

Planning is everything, both to make it look good and to make it also safe as well as enjoyable. Set your display up as far away as you can from the spectators. At the point of firing, direct the angle of any rocket in the opposite direction from spectators. They are going to go high up in the sky so they will be visible, and apart from anything else you don’t want them craning their necks back to see the display. Make it happen in front of them in the sky.

Handling and Firing

You should keep fireworks in a closed box (metal if you have it) and take them out and use them one at a time. Obviously if the display is a semi-professional one then you will have safety people and experts on hand, but for small domestic displays, keep all fireworks not about to be lit safely in their box. This prevents stray sparks setting off your display prematurely and out of your control.

Make sure you read and follow the instructions on each firework before you use it. Lighting the wrong part of the fireworks can cause them to misfire and cause injury. Sometimes the fuse is taped to the side of the cardboard body and it needs to be detached before use, so make sure you are aware of this before you go lighting anything. Read them just before you light them, but do so using a flashlight, not a by the light of a match or lighter! It’s so obvious, but it does happen still with depressing regularity. Keep all naked flames including cigarettes far away from fireworks and the box they are in.

Light fireworks with a smoldering incense stick rather than a flaming torch or a lighter. Light at arm’s length and walk quickly away. There’s usually a three or four second delay on the fuse giving you more than enough time to get off the launch pad. If you get a misfire, or something doesn’t go off as expected, don’t go back to it immediately to see what’s happened. Sometimes a firework can seem to be a dud, but it’s smoldering inside and will blow just as soon as you get near to it. Make sure you have another launch pad set up in another part of the garden and switch to that for a while, returning to the dead firework only after many minutes have passed.

Never put fireworks in your pockets, even for a moment, as you might forget them and stand too close to a fire pit or bonfire and ignite them close to your body.

Never be tempted to throw fireworks. Apart from anything else, the three second fuse is not an exact science, and sometimes fireworks go off almost immediately. A horrible 46% of all fireworks injuries are to hands, from severe damage to complete loss, usually from people handling lit fireworks and trying to toss them before they go off.

Clean up and Clear

In setting up or breaking down a firework event, you should take care when starting or extinguishing fires. Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire to get it going, and make sure it’s out before you leave. If there were any dud fireworks, leave them for at least 10-15 mins and drop them into a pail of water. Make sure all unused fireworks stay in their box until they can be used.

If you have any unused fireworks, you can store them for a while quite safely in the metal box; black powder is quite stable and won’t catch fire unless provoked by flames or sparks. If the fireworks are quite new, say a year old, they should be fine, so you can just do an impromptu display in your garden to use them up. If they are old or damp and you are unsure about their safety you could also take them to your local fire station to have them disposed of professionally.

Further reading

HIV: Know the Facts

The CDC statistics about the spread of HIV in the United States are sobering indeed. Between 43,000 and 50,000 people per year are diagnosed with HIV (figures based on statistics gathered from 2008-2011). Although the figures seem to rise and fall they are not falling by any meaningful amount so the amount of US citizens with HIV is growing by that number every year. Not all patients go on to develop full-blown AIDS immediately, but of course many do and more all the time. More must be done in terms of public awareness and fundraising to find new treatments, stop the spread of the disease and unfortunately also care for those for whom any treatment is now too late.

Here is a lists of some of our other blog posts on HIV.

Get Tested: National HIV Testing Day

National HIV Testing Day is held every year today, June 27th, to raise awareness and encourage citizens to get tested for HIV. Of course this is especially for those at risk but anyone can benefit from early detection and subsequent treatment.

In an appalling side, note the National Association of People With AIDS closed its doors in February this year after being forced to file for bankruptcy. So if ever there was a time for awareness campaigns for people with AIDS and fundraising efforts to find a cure for HIV, this is it.

Here is a lists of some of our other blog posts on HIV.

HIV: Stay Informed

As well as the many resources at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) there are numerous government sponsored information portals, chief of which is AIDS.gov. On this news and information site you can find up to date news stories about AIDS/HIV detection and treatment, as well as information about government strategies to combat the spread of the disease among the American people.

Here is a lists of some of our other blog posts on HIV.

HIV Awareness for Life

In the 21st Century we are so much more open about sexually transmitted diseases than we were in the past. There are several things that have forced these diseases out into the open and obviously the main reason for this is the rise of HIV/AIDS, our theme for this week.

Even given our newfound comfort with STD talk, the subject of HIV/AIDS is still a difficult one for people to talk about. Engage anyone on the subject and before too long, the subject will be changed. People don’t want to think about it, because the mental image of getting a terminal, painful and incurable illness is too horrifying for most to contemplate. But that is part of the problem. We need to contemplate it and do everything we can to fight it.

Many people don’t have the luxury of changing the subject, because they have HIV and it’s a reality they can’t walk away from. An unwillingness to talk about HIV and raise awareness and contribute to the fight are the biggest stumbling blocks to fundraising, increasing social responsibility and action against the disease.

So please, even if it’s uncomfortable, we urge you to join us this week as we support National HIV Testing Day to raise awareness about what it is, how to prevent it, and what can be done if you can’t.

Here is a lists of some of our other blog posts on HIV.

HIV: Take Precautions

The most effective method that helps stop the spread of HIV infection is prevention from exposure to the virus in the first place. Obviously some members of the public are more at risk than others, but it’s not only drug addicts and sex workers who need to be concerned about HIV. This illustrated resource over at WikiHow gives you an itemised list of things that everyone can do to protect him or herself from potential HIV infection. (The pictures are safe for work, but the text may be a little explicit.)

Here is a lists of some of our other blog posts on HIV.

Blood Is What We Share

This week our focus has been blood and why we need to be more active in sharing ours with those who need it. There are many reasons to give blood. Most people give to help others. To many it’s giving something back, to others it’s the repayment of a debt they owe the persons who donated blood that saved them or a relative. At some time in your life you are likely to need blood and so it’s common sense that you donate and encourage others to do so. Of course not everyone can, but the shocking statistic is that of the 60% who can only 5% do which is something we can all do something about. Find out if you can donate before you assume you can’t. For diseases like cancer, surgery and various kinds of anaemia, blood transfusions are needed to combat the disease itself and the complications that can arise through lack of whole oxygenated blood. Although artificial blood exists, genuine human blood and blood products are the only way to give life to a person in need. Blood products are made from whole blood so each of your donations can help up to three or four people. But in a wider sense it’s socially responsible to give something so precious to those who need it for the good of society as a whole. If we share what we have, then we are all enriched by the transaction.

10 Reasons To Give

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10 Reasons To Give

Written by  on June 22, 2013 · Leave a Comment

And finally, if giving life to another human being wasn’t enough of a reason to donate your blood, here are 10 good reasons from the Some Reasons Blog.  Of the 60% of us who can give blood regularly, only 5% of us do. Clearly there is a need for annual awareness days as every three seconds of every day someone somewhere needs blood to survive.

If we don’t donate – and those of us with more exotic blood types should consider this even more – then people will die when they really shouldn’t have. It’s that simple.