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Showing posts from June, 2018

Six Steps To Cognitive Health; Tips From Harvard

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This article is a shorter version of the one appearing in the Harvard Medical School Newsletter. We shall continue bringing material we hope is for the your health benefit. In this one, we bring you six aspects that make your mental health intact. According to the newsletter, "The heart of our cognitive fitness program, however, involves lifestyle changes. Researchers at Harvard Medical School have identified six cornerstones to any effective brain health and cognitive fitness program. Though we refer to them as "steps," they should all be done together rather than sequentially:  Step 1:  Eat a plant-based diet  Step 2:  Exercise regularly  Step 3:  Get enough sleep  Step 4:  Manage your stress  Step 5:  Nurture social contacts  Step 6:  Continue to challenge your brain  Together, these can yield real results, leading to changes in both your brain's structure and function. But the key word is "together." These fact

Dedicated To Volunteers, Health Workers And Activists Who Work So Hard But Never Get To Be Sung

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Some years back, it was routine for a group of us to do outreach work in rural Uganda. Home-care outreach meant meeting patients living with HIV or families where the bread winner was bedridden or had passed away.  On many occasions, families were in need of helping hands to sort their agro-harvests for storage. At other times it could be repairs to a hut or house. We had no alternative but to don overalls and join in gardening or constructing a hut or two. In these pictures, one will see what it means to work in rural Uganda. In one of the pictures, one will see an electricity power-line with wire sagging daringly.  There are those who decide to go out to far away places from the comfort of their familiar homes. This is what makes HIV care and roll out of medication possible. Some use bicycles, or go to places on foot with back packs, others use SUVs to make longer journeys to different parts of a country. This is the unencumbered resolve that makes it possible to eradicate

On Language And How The Uganda Prisons Service Report 2018 Is Useful

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The Observer, a Ugandan Daily, on  June 27, 2018 started off with a statement  "One of the risk factors exposing people to HIV in Ugandan prisons is homosexuality between inmates and staff, the prisons boss has said." The commissioner of Uganda Prisons Services Byabashaija made this revelation last week, during a breakfast meeting on the Presidential Fast-Track Initiative (PFTI) on ending HIV/AIDS, as a public health threat in Uganda by 2030. It drew commentaries.  A corrosive language was used by a side that maintains denigration, ridicule and attributions of negative association. This scares away those who have solutions as well as fuels contexts within which a small problem becomes bigger.  We should not dismiss the following facts:  Dr James Kisambu the Assistant Commissioner for Health Services, Uganda Prisons Service said, about 4,700 inmates are HIV positive from all prisons within the country. Most of these prisoners come when they are HIV positive because

Homosexuality Is Not A Disease Nor A Germ, It is An Oxymoron That Is Misplaced

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The Observer, a Ugandan Daily, on  June 27, 2018 started off with a statement  " One of the risk factors exposing people to HIV in Ugandan prisons is homosexuality between inmates and staff, the prisons boss has said."  The way this term is used, it depicts it as a germ capable of causing HIV. Used in this style it is an oxymoron and redundant. However, one should look at the real cause of HIV. Among those who identify or practice same sex sexual relations, it is the unprotected rubbing or insertion of genitals and an exchange of fluids takes place. It is this fluid that, if it contains the HIV virus, is passed from an infected person and acquired by such a partner who may not have it. HIV can be prevented and those living with it if they can get medication do live longer. Uganda was a vanguard in Africa when it had a policy of openness to HIV prevention, care and programming. This helped get many people on medication. Uganda has a programme under the patronage of Pre

Renowned Ugandan-American HIV Care and Prevention Activist Speaks Out!

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"First they warn you not to relate with homosexuals, then when you do they say you are a homosexual and that stops all initiative as well as cordial relations with friends and relatives."                                                                                                    Anon My name is Tom Muyunga-Mukasa, I have had the privilege of serving in different capacities and an exposure to communities in Uganda, South Sudan, Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Southern African countries, Turkey, Austria and USA. In Uganda, I worked with orphans, vulnerable children, parents who were willing to stand in as orphan care-givers, I worked with a Kampala Capital City Authority based organization providing housing to children from Karamoja, I worked with island communities, deep rural communities and have equally enjoyed the trappings of an urban office.  I have interfaced with persons whose right to a dignified livelihood has been quashed by those who are privileged

We Believe the Women! We should All Check Our Sexism!

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Protesters Target UNAIDS Meeting in Geneva As delegates streamed into WHO headquarters for the first day of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) meeting in Geneva, nearly 30 advocates demonstrated outside near a highly-trafficked roundabout while chanting " Hey Hey, Ho Ho - Sidibé must go! " and " UNAIDS reform now! "  Government representatives, civil society members and UN officials will attend the three-day bi-annual PCB meeting, where sexual harassment has been thrust onto the agenda. The issue has plagued UNAIDS since news broke that its Executive Director Michel Sidibé attempted to cover up allegations that his former deputy sexually assaulted senior UNAIDS staffer  Martina Brostrom  in 2015.  Sidibé also interfered with the subsequent investigation and  threatened employees  at a UNAIDS staff meeting from bringing forth future claims of abuse.  Brostrom petitioned the PCB to speak at the meeting, but they denied her request citing an ongoing in

Men with penile HPV infection have an increased risk of acquiring HIV

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Risk not modified by circumcision Men with penile human  papillomavirus  (HPV) infection have an increased risk of acquiring HIV, investigators report in the online edition of  AIDS . This increase in risk was irrespective of circumcision status. “Our results indicate that HPV infection is an important risk factor for HIV acquisition in men that needs to be explored further and accounted for in HIV-prevention studies,” comment the authors. It has already been shown that cervical HPV is associated with increased HIV risk for women. Investigators wished to see if penile HPV infection similarly increased the risk of HIV acquisition for men, and if this risk was modified by circumcision status. They therefore designed a prospective cohort study involving approximately 2500 men in Kisumu, Kenya, who were enrolled in the randomised-controlled trial designed to evaluate the impact of circumcision status on HIV risk. All the men were HIV negative at baseline and aged between 19 and

Getting to the bottom of it: Anal sex, rectal fluid, and HIV transmission

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Anal sex is a common practice among men who have sex with men, heterosexual men and women, and transgender individuals and is a known risk factor for HIV infection and transmission. Therefore, it is important that education on HIV prevention includes accurate information on the fluids that can transmit HIV through this type of sex. If one of these fluids is excluded from prevention messaging, it could lead a client to underestimate their risk of HIV transmission. While there is no doubt that semen, pre-ejaculate (pre-cum), and blood can contribute to the risk of HIV transmission through anal sex; it seems there is less clarity among frontline service providers on whether rectal fluid should also be included on this list. This article looks at what rectal fluid is, whether or not it can contain and transmit HIV, and the implications for prevention education. What is rectal fluid? Rectal fluid is the mucus that lines the rectum. Mucus is a slippery secretion produced by certain p

Early adopters of PrEP in Kenya and Uganda more likely to be male and older

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It is feasible to offer pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) as part of community-wide HIV testing campaigns in East Africa, with a fifth of adults who were identified as eligible for PrEP starting it within 30 days, researchers from the SEARCH collaboration report in  Clinical Infectious Diseases.  Early adopters were more likely to be male, older, in a serodiscordant relationship or in a polygamous marriage. The authors suggest that understanding the characteristics of early adopters is important – they may be opinion leaders and PrEP champions who could promote further uptake in their communities. At the same time, identifying people less likely to start PrEP is critical to developing programmes to support them. The researchers found that fewer than a third of community members identified as being at higher risk of acquiring HIV made the same assessment of their risk. Just one in ten of this group took up the offer of PrEP within 30 days. The intervention Until now, there have