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A 19-year-old girl had a baby and experienced post partum anaemia (anaemia after having a baby) and was brought to the emergency department. She was HIV positive.

Upon talking with her she disclosed that, She had been infected with the HIV disease at birth since both parents were HIV positive. She has lived with the condition all her life and she has been taking her drugs.

Asking about the father of the baby, she revealed that he did not know her HIV status. I asked why she wouldn’t inform him, but chose to have unprotected sex with the man and subsequently have a baby with him. But she refused to say anything and kept quite.

 

Now here’s the kicker. ..

1. There are more young people living with HIV and other STD  than you may think.

2. Unprotected sex is costly so use a condom. It is way cheaper!

3. HIV doesn’t have a look anymore.  People living with HIV look healthy and strong just like others without the condition.  So stop looking out for unhealthy and emaciated individuals. You will make a mistake.

4. Stick to one partner and be committed to each other. That’s the only way to protect yourselves.

5. Always undergo a screening test of HIV before engaging in unprotected sex in a relationship.  Love has everything to do with it. Love protects so protect each other.

HIV is very real so live your life with healthy sexual practices.

#HIVisreal

 

It is time for medical ID use in Ghana :Lets Save our lives.

I have come across so many  chronically ill patients especially diabetics who almost lost their lives or for the very unfortunate ones, lose their lives all because of situations that could have been easily prevented.

20171117_174648“One of such instances was a 42 year old male who was rushed to the Emergency department one morning by the Police in an unconscious state.

According to the police, the patient  was a driver caught in a traffic jam. As they waited the patient’s car started moving, causing the other cars in front of him to also knock on each other. The traffic police then identified the cause of the accidents and noticed that the patient had placed his head on his steering wheel and his leg pressed on the accelerator. He was unconscious.

They pulled him out of the car and poured water on him (a common but wrong practice in Ghana ). When he wouldn’t wake up they put him in another car and drove him to the ED.

Upon arrival, patients blood sugar was checked at the triage and recorded 1.4 mmol/l signifying that he was in a hyooglycaemic state (low blood sugar ). Client was given 50mls of 50% Dextrose after an IV access was secured. The patient immediately regained consciousness and was able to tell us that he was a diabetic. This was actually the second time he has encountered hypoglycaemia. ”

Why the need for Medical IDs

1. Medical IDs save lives: People like this patient have lost their lives because the first responders did not know to do the right thing. But with the introduction and proper education and awareness creation about medical IDs, first responders like strangers, EMTs, Police, etc will be able to know what to do to save the lives of those in need.

2. Minimise delay in treatment:

Having a medical ID can alert the healthcare givers to treat you promptly with little or no delays.

3. Help reduce healthcare costs: Wearing of medical IDs have the potential to reduce admissions, unecessary laboratory investigations, prevent minor emergencies from becoming serious. All these can impact positively on healthcare cost reduction for both individuals and the government as a whole.

There are many other medical conditions like asthma, hypertension, allergies, etc that needs to be known in the state of emergency.

Let’s advocate for the use of medical ID use.

#LetsusemedicalIDtosavelives

Diabetes: Let’s learn some facts

1. Diabetes is preventable! Yes you can protect yourself from diabetes by being physically active. Doing at least 30 minutes of exercise most of the days plus eating healthy can help minimise your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

2. Physical inactivity, overweight and obesity can be said to be the chief cause of the increasing diabetes epidemic in the world.

3. There are 4 types of diabetes which are; Type 1 diabetes , Type 2 diabetes,  Gestational diabetes and Pre – diabetes. But about 90% of diabetes cases are Type 2 diabetes.

4. Globally, deaths associated with diabetes have 80% recorded in low and middle-income countries.

5. Lack of awareness about diabetes, combined with insufficient access to health services, can lead to complications such as blindness, amputation and kidney failure.

6. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death globally.

WHO

NB: Share with a friend.

 

 

7 children who are at risk of rape

There has been a lot of recorded rape cases in the news in our country recently. These acts although frowned upon in our communities, still have not received the needed attention both till now.

It has become very necessary for parents to know how to protect their children from such perpetrators. Although children are being targeted,  not all children are at risk of being abused sexually. Studies have shown that some groups of children are at a higher risk of becoming rape victims than others.

1. Children from a poor family: Poverty poses a great risk to the health of families, communities, and nations as a whole. One of the many risks is the risk of children being raped. This is mostly due to the community or neighbourhood they live in, the level of education of the parents, their lack or inability to seek legal representation if such incidents happened. Children born to poor parents need protection.

2. Children in rural basic schools: Let me ask you,  of all the rape cases recorded in school how many were in Private schools? It is a known fact in Ghana that parents who are well to do send their children to private schools  (Primary and junior high schools ). Therefore there  is an almost 0% risk of getting your child raped in a private school. This is because the people know the parents can take you on.

3. Children from broken homes (with single moms ): Having both parents around to care for a child creates a protective shield for them. But when a marriage breaks and single parenting sets in, especially in cases where the mother is left to care for the children, people with these bad intentions tend to think the mothers are not able to stand up for their kids without the father. Especially in cases when the woman is uneducated.

4. Children who experience poor parent child relationship: Children depend on their good relationship with their parents to form other relationships outside. When there is a gap or an unfriendly one between them and their parents, they are likely to extend that need for attention and care to others who may take advantage of it to abuse them sexually. It is important for parents to strengthen their bond with their children to avoid misplaced dependency.

5. Children who are left at home with no proper  supervision: In this modern-day where parents are mostly busy and have little time to spend watching over their own kids; it is easy for them to be left in the care of an unqualified caretaker. Such practice exposes the children to sexual abuse and other kinds of abuse.

6. Children who live with their step-fathers: It is more common to hear about a step father sexually abusing his step child than to hear about a biological father doing same. Mothers who have their children living with step parents should be aware and vigilant to avoid such malpractice.

7. Children who are in abusive homes: No one likes to live in an unhappy home.  Children who are from abusive homes like to stay out to prevent the negative energy at home. These children are sometimes exposed to people who might abuse them sexually. The sad part is that such children are mostly not heard when they complain to their parents.

 NB: These children listed here are at an increased risk of being sexually abused. But it doesn’t mean that all children in these categories are or will be abused. Prevention is better than cure. And knowledge is power.  Now that you know, you have the power to protect your child.

 

picture by Trevor Cole.

 

 

 

 

 

Is this rabies? Know the signs and symptoms of rabies in dogs and humans.

Don’t miss them!

A dog with rabies has these symptoms. 
1. Bites without any provocation
2. Eats abnormal items such as sticks, nails, faeces, etc.
3. Runs for no apparent reason
4. When there is a change in sound e.g. hoarse barking and
growling or inability to make a sound.  5.  Excessive salivation or foaming at the angles of the mouth – but not hydrophobia (fear of water).

 

Signs and symptoms of rabies in humans.

1.  Pain or itching at the site of the bite wound (in 80% of cases)
2. Fever, malaise, headache lasting for 2–4 days.
3. Hydrophobia (fear of water)
4. Intolerance to noise, bright light or air
5. Fear of impending death
6. Anger, irritability and depression
7. hyperactivity
8. At a later stage the mere sight of water may provoke spasms in the neck and throat
9. The duration of illness is usually 2–3 days, but might stretch to 5–6 days or more when receiving.

Don’t wait for these signs and symptoms to show. Vaccinate your dogs and cats.  Seek help immediately from a health facility after a dog bite.

First aid after dog bite: Prevent rabies with this 3 steps

After a dog bite, most people do not  know what to do. But knowing and doing the right thing after a dog bite can really be life saving for you. After you experience a dog bite, follow these steps to greatly reduce your risk of getting infected with rabies.

1. Wash the affected area with soap under running water for 10 minutes. This is according to the a world health organisation.  When there is no tap, get a bowl of water and let someone pour on you while you wash with the soap.

2. Wash the area with 70% alcohol /ethanol, or you can use povidine iodine.  (Do not apply anything else on it. )

3. Immediately seek care in a health facility.

Follow these 3 steps and protect yourself.

Healthy Pets, Healthy Humans: All about rabies

Protect yourself by protecting your animal; rabies is real.

Pets are adorable and having them is beautiful. But having a pet comes with certain responsibilities that many in Ghana fail to recognize like keeping your pet healthy. This attitude is borne out of the long standing disregard for people’s personal health which transcends into the care of our pets.

But having a healthy pet = having a healthy human.

This equation is so because of the close nature with which we live, relate and play with our pets. The most common pets that people in Ghana have in our homes are dogs and cats. These animals are also prone to certain diseases and illnesses that could cause humans to also get sick if not treated early or prevented. One of such diseases is the Rabies disease.

The Rabies disease is a 100% preventable illness that has a 100% fatality (death) rate if symptoms of the disease starts to show. It is a viral disease which means it is caused by a virus.

How is it transmitted? : Rabies is transmitted through the bite of an animal who already has rabies.

The animals that can be affected by rabies includes dogs, cats, raccoons, bats.

How to Prevent Rabies in animals:

1. Vaccination: The most effective way to prevent rabies in your pet is to vaccinate them against rabies. The anti-rabies vaccine is what protects the animals from the disease. These vaccines are given at the veterinary clinics around the country. This vaccine is given every year to protect the dog/cat, from getting infected with rabies.   Visit a Vet hospital for your rabies vaccine.

2. Keep your pets in the house: It is safe to keep your pets in the house without allowing them to go and roam around alone. In Ghana there are lots of stray dogs and cats in both our cities and villages and these dogs are mostly rabid dogs and cats. When you leave your pets to go out and play with these animals you not only expose them to rabies, but you expose your family too.

3. Keep your kids away from strange animals : Children are found of playing with dogs and cats. It is necessary to keep your kids from animals you do not  know. Educate your child on Rabies and why it is important to stay away from animals that are not owned by the family.

4. Protect the communities against stray dogs: Stray animals like dogs and cats  are animals that do not have a home and are not cared for by anyone. These dogs are dangerous to the people because they have the ability to infect other animals and even people with rabies through their bites. The community leaders are therefore encouraged to do away with such animals to protect the lives of the people.

Prevention is better than cure. Prevent rabies, protect your life.

 

 

 

Protect yourself. Know HIV Trends: What was vs what is.

The world keeps on changing and so are the people, environment, and even the disease conditions. HIV as an illness and the HIV community is no exception. There has been changes in its trends with regards to its transmission, the longevity of persons living with HIV, the overall physical outlook of HIV persons, the age group mostly affected and even its prevention strategies.

Knowing these trends puts you a step ahead in preventing this condition. But unfortunately, most people do not think it necessary so find themselves in the path of risky behaviours that end up making them victims of a highly preventable disease that seems to have no cure now. In this post you’ll learn of how HIV trends have changed over the years in Ghana and even the world at large and how these changes are affecting lives and health especially where people fail gain understanding of the condition.

HIV persons died young vs HIV are persons growing older : Some years ago, people living with HIV did not get the opportunity to live long. This was due to several reasons ranging from the management, treatment, emotional burden, stigma, etc. But currently, researchers have revealed that HIV persons are now growing older with the condition. Although the stigma is still present, the intensity of it is gradually dying out making it much easier for them to live their lives. Also there has been an improvement in the treatment and management especially with regards to its availability and accessibility. All these factors have contributed among others to improve the living chances of HIV persons. As a result of this, the number of years that a person with HIV has to transmit the condition is also increased, and so are the numbers of HIV persons in the country. It is now more than ever crucial to be alert and careful in preventing and protecting yourself against this infection.

People with HIV looked sick vs HIV persons looking healthy: The general outlook of a HIV person some time ago was sick. HIV persons looked lean and unhealthy which made people to associate the disease to lean and ill-looking people  and also increased the stigmatization attached to the condition. But this is not so anymore. The HIV persons in this present day are healthy looking and cannot be identified by just looking at them. There has been a considerable change in their self management and as such, people who adhere to eating well and taking their medications correctly look good. It is therefore highly dangerous to think that people you meet who are healthy looking  cannot be HIV positive. Such thinking has allowed people to get infected because they refused to protect themselves thinking the person they are with looks too good to be infected with HIV. But truth is, HIV persons can also look pretty good.

Older population vs Younger population: Research indicates that there has been a significant decline in the mother to child transmission since the introduction of the prevention strategy to protect babies from getting infected at birth by their mothers. But before this strategy, there were a huge number of babies who were born with HIV due to the mother to child transmission. Although a considerable percentage of these babies died at an early age, some also survived. These survivors have now grown to be young people who carry the condition. There is also the influx of young people engaging in early sexual practices that have caused them to be infected with HIV. The general population is as a result having more young people living with HIV as compared to before when it was more of an older people disease. It has become important for people to be on guard and protect themselves by clearing the notion that young people are free from HIV, or if you have sexual intercourse with a virgin you will not get the disease. Even a virgin could be carrying the condition from birth. Just protect yourself.

The girls are at risk vs both are at risk: In my study on assessing the delivery of sex education in senior high schools, I discovered that girls are paid attention to as against boys when the topic of sex education is being taught. This has mostly been because of the possibility of the girls getting pregnant which is more of a problem for most parents, leaders, and even teachers as compared to the equal possibility of a sexually transmitted infection like HIV. But this practice of leaving the boys out or paying more attention to the girls where sexual health education is concerned especially with HIV prevention is a serious act that needs immediate correction. This is more because of the introduction of gay acts (men having sex with men) in the senior high schools. The boys are now at an increased risk of getting infected and transferring the infection to others due to the nature of their practice. By educating the boys on the effects of engaging in sexual practices with their fellow male counterparts, there is a chance of a decreased possibility of infection spread which generally will affect that of the girls. That said, the attention on teenage pregnancy when the issue of sexual health education among adolescents is raised should be shared with HIV/STD education and prevention because the country stands the pain of being affected more with the spread of infections than the presence of teenage pregnancy.

Knowing these facts and trends can help you better protect yourself. Knowledge is power; so arm yourself , do not be ignorant because ignorance can be costly. Stay alive, stay healthy.

 

Continue reading Protect yourself. Know HIV Trends: What was vs what is.

5 behaviours you overlook but could give you HIV/STDs.

Getting infected with HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhoea can seem very unrealistic for some people who still believe HIV is not real or that they are immune eventhough certain behaviours makes them vulnerable to these conditions. There are people who got infected with HIV and could not believe they have it because they never thought their behaviours were risky.

Behaviours and habits like the ones explained below puts a person at a high risk of becoming infected with HIV /STDS.

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1. Engaging in sexual practice with a new partner  without knowing their HIV status. This is a common practice in Ghana of which the larger population is guilty of. It is the normal practice to meet someone new, date them, get into a relationship and engage in sex without thinking  of finding out whether they are infected with HIV or other STDs. This thought of making sure doesn’t occur before most people engage in sexual interaction with said partners  therefore exposing you to the possibility of being infected with HIV.

Let’s change the norm. Take the time and be bold to ask for the test. Both partners can go for the test and verify each other’s results before deciding to have sex with him/her. This is about protecting each other’s life. It’s also about building trust which is the basis of a lasting relationship.

2. The Ex-lover syndrome : There is a saying that an old flame easily lights up. This generally means that it is very easy to rekindle an old love affair. Some people can come into contact with their ex boyfriend /girlfriend, ex- husband /wife , and they may decide to hit it off from where they left off. These kind of Sexual engagements are mostly done with little or no regards to protecting oneself because in your minds, you know each other.  But the danger in that is, you may know the person very well but not his/her sexual life after you split. You may never know where they have been,  who they have been with and what they may be carrying. By having sexual intercourse with such people, you are exposing yourself to HIV/STDs if ;

  • Condoms are are not used during sex.
  • If both of you do not test and know your HIV status before the sex.

3. Alcohol intoxication and sex. 

quentin-dr-125010Making sexual decisions whiles drunk increases your risk of getting HIV infection. Alcohol intoxication has the potential to cloud your judgement and prevent you from making healthy decisions concerning who you have sex with. People tend to have sex with strangers they meet in pubs, and clubs after they take in alcohol. These strangers could be carriers of HIV infection which is transferred to their sex partners. There is also the increased possibility of having sex without the use of Condoms for protection.

Making decisions about sex should be done in a sober state with a clear mind in order to make responsible decisions.

4. Sharing needles and sharp instruments. Reusing needles after it has been used is a dangerous act that can lead to HIV infection if the person who first used it has the infection. People who inject drugs are more vulnerable to this type of spread due to the less concious state and addictive nature of the drugs.

5. Men having sex with men (MSM). Ghana did not use to have this added challenge or vulnerability to HIV infection transmission in the past. But in recent times, there has been cases of men having sex with men and more seriously, the involvement of boys in senior high schools in the practice.  This act also increases a person’s risk of becoming infected with HIV /STDs.  This is due to the lack of elasticity of the anal region during penetration which bruises the area and as a result causes the presence of blood leading to the direct transmission of the HIV infection. In countries like the USA where the number of Men who have sex with men are large, the HIV rate amongst men is also high.

5. Treating  sex as casual. 

matty-adame-274356Sex for some people is a casual thing that needs no deep thinking. Such people are mostly promiscuous because of their lack of recognition of the seriousness of the act of sex and the consequences that could be born out of it. By thinking sex is casual, people are led to approach it with less thought about protecting themselves and their sex partners through the use of condoms and undergoing testing to know their HIV status. People with this mindset also find it difficult to remain faithful to their partners even when they are married. Although being faithful to one partner can protect both of you from getting infected with HIV /STDs.

As an individual, you owe it to yourself to protect your life and promote your health. Make wise decisions that will not affect your life negatively. Be sex smart, be healthy.

HIV /STD Prevention Action

#HIVisreal, #Besexsmart, #testbeforeyousex, #Befaithful

 

 

 

 

 

 

Think you are cut out from getting HIV? Take this quiz

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The existence and risk of HIV infection is still blur for many people who believe that they will never be infected. Although such a belief is necessary by faith, it is more prudent to take the necessary steps and make the concious effort to protect yourself from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

This quiz is just to help you understand and know how your habits are either protecting you or exposing you to the HIV infection.

Take the Quiz

1. Do you have sex or have you  had sex with a new partner without both of you testing and knowing your HIV status?

2. Do you have more than one sex partners?

3. If you are not married but engage in sexual practice, are you inconsistent with your condom use?

4. Do you engage in sex with commercial sex workers? Or Are you a commercial sex worker?

5. Do you engage sex between two men?

6. Do you or have you engaged in sex with an ex-partner without testing and knowing their HIV status?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be putting yourself at risk of becoming infected with HIV or other sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhoea and syphilis.

Habits like the ones listed above increases a person’s risk for HIV and should be avoided. Always know the HIV status of a person before having sex with them.

It may seem unreal until it becomes your reality. Being careless with your knowledge of your partner’s HIV status is not an act of love and trust  but a risk of death. Protect each other by testing to know your status.

HIV is real, stay protected , love life, protect each other

(HIV/STDchristian-spies-39101