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The Action Thread Part Two

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We answer your most Googled questions about HIV and AIDS

28 November 2018 8:49PM UTC | By: SADOF ALEXANDER


Sign the pledge: We’ll do whatever it takes to end AIDS

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WADGoogle_Social-1024x512.pngHIV/AIDS is a global health crisis that impacts the lives of millions of people a year, yet still many people don’t know enough about what it is, what it does to the body, and the best ways to prevent it. That’s why we’ve answered your most googled questions about HIV and AIDS, and added a couple extra in for good measure:

How many people alive today are living HIV or AIDS?

Around 37 million people are living with HIV/AIDS. That’s nearly the entire population of Canada.

What is the difference between HIV, AIDS, and HIV/AIDS?

You probably have a general idea what these three terms mean, but there are some key differences between them.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that weakens the body’s immune system. The virus moves into the body’s “T cells”, which fight off infections, and rearranges the DNA inside them. The infected cell is no longer able to combat diseases, and instead creates more HIV cells.

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is the most extreme form of HIV infection. HIV becomes AIDS when the body has an extremely low amount of T cells left, greatly weakening the body’s immune system. It can take anywhere from two to fifteen years for untreated HIV to develop into AIDS.

HIV/AIDS is a term to describe the two together. The term also serves as a reminder that HIV always comes first. It is possible to have HIV without developing AIDS, but it’s impossible to contract AIDS without first having HIV.

How did HIV/AIDS start?

HIV didn’t begin in humans. The virus was originally an SIV— Simian Immunodeficiency Virus — that infects chimpanzees, and it is generally believed that the virus crossed over into humans through hunting. While this crossover happened around 1920, the virus wasn’t verified in humans until 1959 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

How do you contract HIV/AIDS?

The virus is spread through the exchange of certain kinds of bodily fluids, including blood, breast milk, semen, and vaginal fluids. That means you can’t contract HIV through things like hugging, hand-shaking, kissing, or sharing food and water.

What are the first signs of HIV/AIDS

In the first few weeks after infection, some people develop flu-like symptoms, including a rash, sore throat, fever, and headaches. However, not everyone has symptoms in the first few weeks. As the infection continues to develop in the body, some people experience swollen lymph nodes, fever, weight loss, diarrhea, or coughing.

Since the symptoms of HIV can be mistaken for the flu, or may not be present at all, testing is the only sure way of knowing whether someone has HIV.

If the virus develops into AIDS, the symptoms are more severe. Tuberculosis, meningitis, bacterial infections, and some forms of cancer can all develop due to a weakened immune system.

Is there a cure for HIV/AIDS?

While there is no cure for HIV/AIDS, it is possible to treat. Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs can help control the virus and even prevent transmission to other people. Antiretroviral therapy (ART), the combination of 3 or more ARV drugs, should start as soon as possible after diagnosis to slow the progression of HIV.

Who are the most ‘at risk’ groups for contracting HIV/AIDS

In some hard-hit countries in sub-Saharan Africa, girls and young women are especially vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. Girls make up three out of four new infections among children between the ages of 10 and 19. Young women ages 15 to 24 in the region are also twice as likely to contract HIV than young men the same age.

The most-at-risk groups are men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, transgender people, and sex workers.

How do you get tested for HIV/AIDS?

Access to HIV tests are vital to prevent the spread of infection. An estimated 25%of HIV-positive people are not diagnosed. That means a quarter of HIV-positive people are not receiving treatment and are at risk of transmitting the disease to more people.

Serological tests are tests that examine the antibodies in blood. Basically, they’re tests that take a closer look at how the body’s immune system is working. A serological test with abnormal results could mean a positive HIV diagnosis. If someone has an abnormal result, it’s important to test again to make sure the diagnosis is correct.

How do you prevent HIV/AIDS?

There are lots of different ways to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. Prevention, in all its forms, can’t happen without knowledge. Awareness of HIV/AIDS and how it’s contracted is necessary for someone to protect themselves against contracting the virus.

Safe sex practices, including the use of condoms, can prevent transmission during sex. Voluntary medical male circumcision can also reduce the likelihood of contracting the virus by up to about 60%.

ART not only controls the virus in those living with HIV/AIDS, but also prevents HIV-positive people from transmitting the virus to other people. ART coverage for pregnant and breastfeeding women is at an all-time high of 80%, reducing the likelihood of mother-to-child transmission.

ART isn’t the only way to help to prevent transmission. If you are HIV-negative but considered high risk (if you have an HIV-positive partner, for example), you can take pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) before coming in contact with risk factors in order to prevent infection. When taken consistently, PrEP reduces the risk of HIV infection in people who are at high risk by over 90%. PrEP cannot be used by those who are already HIV positive.

Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) means taking ARVs within 72 hours of potential exposure to the virus to prevent becoming infected. PEP is not meant for regular use and should only be used in emergency situations.

Which countries have the highest HIV prevalence?

All of the top ten countries with the highest HIV prevalence are in Africa. Eswatini, formerly Swaziland, has the highest prevalence, with over 27% of the adult population living with HIV/AIDS. The virus takes a much larger toll on the female population, with over 35% reporting an HIV-positive status.

Lesotho and Botswana take second and third for highest prevalence. In both countries, over a fifth of the population is HIV-positive. Like in Eswatini, gender inequality increases the prevalence among women in both countries.

How long can people live with HIV/AIDS?

With ART, HIV-positive people can continue to live full, healthy lives. Access to this life-saving medication creates near-normal life expectancy. That’s great news for people who have access to ART, but this isn’t the case for everyone.

Last year, almost a million people died from AIDS-related causes. That’s 2,500 people every day, nearly two every minute. This means that the life expectancy of a person with HIV depends on whether they are able to access and afford treatment.

There’s no doubt about it: AIDS is still a crisis. The numbers may be intimidating, but this fight is far from lost. We have the knowledge and resources to help those who are HIV-positive, while also preventing more people from contracting the virus. By increasing access to ART, education, and health services, we can create a world free of HIV/AIDS.

To win the fight against AIDS, we need you. This World AIDS Day, ONE members are turning our outrage into action and putting our leaders on notice – add your voice today!

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La imagen puede contener: 1 persona, comidaToday on #WorldWaterDay we’re celebrating Tencia as our #ActivistoftheWeek, highlighting how clean water is empowering entrepreneurs like her in Mozambique. Before Tencia had access to clean water, she could only make bread as a means for survival. But thanks to charity: water, a brand new drilled well was installed in her community, giving her the chance to turn her bread-making business into a reality. Instead of living day to day, she’s thinking about the future, growth, and opportunity. By joining The Spring, charity: water's recurring giving program, you can help give clean water to someone like Tencia every single month! http://bit.ly/2TZsrSV

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15th March

Making music with cross Border project

By Jessica CampbellReporter
Darcey Pancott, Grainne Reynolds and Marc Hennessy who performed as part of the Ukes4Youth ukulele orchestra.

Darcey Pancott, Grainne Reynolds and Marc Hennessy who performed as part of the Ukes4Youth ukulele orchestra.

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Ukes4Youth is Music Generation Leitrim’s cross border project for teenagers, which has been developed with partners Enniskillen Royal Grammar School and Carrigallen Vocational School under Leitrim County Council’s Peace IV programme. The programme involves over sixty teenagers from across the two counties who have had the opportunity to meet new friends and share in the learning of a new instrument, learn new songs and be introduced to bands and styles that perhaps they wouldn’t otherwise have considered.

As part of the project, the group of young people performed a relaxed concert for family and friends in St. Macartin's Cathedral Hall, Enniskillen on Saturday March 9.

During the event the group performed three songs on ukuleles and also a percussion piece led by the main group facilitator Andy Spearpoint.

Enniskillen Royal Grammar School student Marc Hennessy introduced the first song of the concert, which was 'Teenage Kicks' by the Undertones. Marc explained that the song was first performed in 1978 in the height of The Troubles within Northern Ireland and how it "thrived in a time of such civil unrest."

Following the introduction of the song, Marc was asked what he had enjoyed about the project so far.

He said: "I've enjoyed it immensely. It's mainly the people who you meet that is actually one of the best parts about it. If it wasn't for this programme I wouldn't have met many of the people who are sitting here today who I have got along with so well over the past few months."

He continued: "The ukulele is completely new to me, I had never learned an instrument so I thought this was a great opportunity for me to finally actually learn one and I have enjoyed it very much."

Darcey Pancott who is also a student of Enniskillen Royal Grammar School said: "It's been really fun and I've met so many new people who are all really nice."

Commenting on her experience, Grainne Reynolds from Carrigallen Vocational School said: "Me and my family usually play Irish traditional music so I wouldn't have really played any of the songs that I have learnt today. It's been great because it's opened me up to a whole new genre of music that I never really would have thought of listening to and it's given me new favourite songs that if I'd heard them on the radio I wouldn't have actually stopped to listen to, which has been great."

She added: "I very much enjoyed the project, I have made so many new friends from Northern Ireland."

A great afternoon of live music was enjoyed by all in attendance.

Music Generation is Ireland’s National Music Education Programme which seeks to transform the lives of children and young people through access to high-quality, subsidised performance music education. Established in 2010 by Music Network, Music Generation is co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, the Department of Education and Skills and Local Music Education Partnerships. Leitrim was one of nine new Music Education Partnerships selected to participate in Music Generation in September 2017 and since then has successfully begun to develop new programmes for children and young people in the county. The lead partner for Music Generation Leitrim is Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim Education and Training Board, supported by Leitrim County Council.

Speaking at the launch of the project Therese McCartin, Music Generation Leitrim Development Officer said: "The children and young people of Leitrim are very lucky to have Music Generation in the county at last. It is already creating wonderful and exciting opportunities to learn an instrument and engage in ensemble work in the county."

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Infinite Music is Music Generation dlr's inclusive music performance programme for young people ages 3-14 years with special educational needs. Help Music Generation dlr achieve even more for young people in the programme by voting for them in the Google.org Impact Challenge here: http://g.co/DublinChallenge

More information about the #GoogleImpactChallenge is in the link below. Voting closes next Tuesday 19 March!


Vote now to help Music Generation dlr in the Google.org Impact Challenge!

Vote now to help Music Generation dlr in the Google.org Impact Challenge!

Music Generation Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown (dlr) has been announced as a finalist in the Google.org Impact Challenge 2019 for its Infinite Music programme and now has the opportunity to double its funding through a public vote.

Google today named the fifteen finalists of its Google.org Impact Challenge Dublin, with each receiving €50,000 in grants to bring their ideas to life. Of the 15 finalists, one will receive an additional €50,000 in funding following the outcome of a public vote. To help Music Generation dlr achieve even more for children and young people in the county, you can vote here

Voting is open for one week from Tuesday 19 March – Tuesday 26 March 2019.

Music Generation dlr’s Infinite Music programme is an inclusive music performance programme for young people aged 3 - 14 years with special educational needs. Working together with schools and early years settings, they have developed a dynamic music programme created to meet the young people’s unique needs and abilities. The programmes are designed to provide these young people with the opportunity to participate in music performance and to contribute to future developments for Music Generation dlr, from choirs to instrumental ensembles, so that all group programming becomes inclusive for all children and young people.

The Google.org Impact Challenge supports local nonprofits and social enterprises with big ideas to create opportunity in the Dublin area. Launched last November, the Challenge invited nonprofits, social enterprises and educators throughout Dublin to submit proposals to grow economic and social opportunities in their local communities. The 15 finalists were selected by a panel of judges: Cllr Nial Ring, Lord Mayor of Dublin; Senator Lynn Ruane; Mary Rose Burke, CEO of Dublin Chamber; Dublin GAA legend Bernard Brogan; journalist Róisín Ingle; Tomás Sercovich, Business In The Community CEO; and Fionnuala Meehan, head of Google Ireland.

Support from the Google.org Impact Challenge will allow Music Generation dlr to invest in cutting-edge technology so that every child and young person participating in the programme can enjoy the most accessible, creative and inclusive music-making experience possible. It will enable training and support for the dedicated team of skilled musician-educators to deliver a programme to the highest standards of excellence. 

Vote now for Music Generation dlr!

The winner of the public vote will be announced at a celebratory event on the evening of Thursday 4 April 2019.

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Legendary vocal coach Dave Stroud will return to Dublin next month with a 4-hour Vocal Masterclass. Taking place in the Grifith Conference Centre on 4 April, this masterclass will be a great opportunity to learn how the voice works at its best. More information can be found here: www.universe.com/ds-vocal-magic

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