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

 

 

 

Know the top 5 cancers common amongst men and the top 5 amongst women

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death globally. It is crucial therefore to know what cancer is and the tpes of cancers you might be prone to.

Cancer Basics: Cancer  is caused by the abnormal growth of cells in the body.

Cells are what forms the tissues in the body and the tissues form the organs like the lungs, kidney, heart, brain, etc. These organs together make up the human body.

Because cancer is caused by abnormal cell growth, it also means that cancers can affect any organ in the body. That is why we have lung cancer, cancer of the brain, cancer of the cervix, etc.

Even though cancers can affect any organ in the body,  some organs are mostly affected than others depending on various factors like your gender.

 Top 5 cancers affecting Me globally 

1.lung

2. liver

3. stomach

4. colorectal

5. prostate cancers.

For th

Top 5 cancers affecting women globally 

1. Breast

2. Lung

3. Colorectal

4. Cervical

5. Stomach cancers.

 

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On Real Sickle Stories, the experiences of sickle cell patients and their families are shared to motivate others and to create awareness.

As the most common genetic disorder in the world, sickle cell comes with it a huge emotional and psychological burden to parents of sicklers.

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This picture was taken by my older sister during a very difficult crisis I was having in hospital. She was helpless and pained by my suffering. Despite this my days in hospital are made a little easier with my mother by my side. My dear mother brings me food, makes my bed, helps me with personal care, makes me laugh and prays with me. She gives me so much hope and believes in my life and what God has in store for me. My mother is so special to me and so I dedicate this short poem to all the mothers who care and support us during our weak days. ❤️🙏❤️
Mothers we know you didn’t bring us into the world to suffer on purpose.
Thank you caring for me, being my mothering nurse. Your are my protector, my angel on earth. You heal me with your love and you strengthen my days. You endure my sad days and you brighten up my days. My suffering is your suffering we both feel it in different ways. I thank God for blessing me with you. I love you more and more each day. My mother, my best friend, my everything ❤️❤️❤️ Sarah- Jane

#Sicklecellulite

#theKSSproject

##sicklecellisreal

Just to be clear: Common sickle cell misconceptions Cleared. #Boldlipsforsicklecellawareness

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Sickle cell is a silent condition affecting millions of people worldwide. Although common, there are some misconceptions that negatively affects the way people relate with sicklers and their conditions. These misconceptions have also negatively affected the way some sicklers feel about themselves.

In this post, such misconceptions will be cleared to encourage better understanding of a trying condition.

1. Sickle cell is not a curse but a sickness: For most people in Africa, difficult situations/conditions  are more often than not seen as curses whiles good ones are a blessing. Sickle cell is a sickness or a disease that is inherited from biological parents. Your parents have to be sickle cell carriers or sicklers for you to be sickle positive. It is not a curse!

2. Sickle cell is not a death sentence: Another misconception is that people with sickle cell die young. This is not a fact. Some children and young people living with sickle cell have died and some still die from the complications associated with sickle cell like stroke, anaemia, lung and kidney diseases, there are also a lot more sicklers who have lived long and are still growing year by year with sickle cell. How long a person lives with sickle cell can be influenced by a number of things like the level of knowledge of the parents on sickle cell, the management of the condition both at home and in the hospital, the environment in which they live, their health habits, and others. It is highly possible to live long with sickle cell.

3. Sickle cell persons aren not lazy: For a condition whose crisis can be triggered by sheer exhaustion, too much heat or cold, dehydration, and infections, sicklers can never be too careful. Some sickle persons have been tagged as lazy just because they wouldn’t running during physical education class, or play in the rain like other kids, or join in the weeding in school. But people pass these judgements without taking time to understand their plight. Most sicklers experience loneliness from being left out of these activities whether fun or not because of the bonding and feelings of togetherness that it brings. Si the next time you find a sickler sitting out a strenuous activity, or staying indoors during rainy days, just understand they are trying to  live.

4. You can marry a sickle cell person: Sickle cell is not a deadly condition. They can marry and if you want to marry one, go right ahead. Just make sure you are sickle negative and your status is AA. Sickle cell people are just normal people who need a little extra love and care. Show then that and you’re good to go!

5. Sickle cell is not infectious: Sickle cell is not infectious but rather they are prone to infections. Being close to a sickler will not make you get sickle cell.  But if you have an infectious condition like flu, etc. Please stay away from a sickler. You could make them sick.

Let’s change our attitude towards people with sickle cell. They need the love not the looks.

Spread the word

Let’s make life a little comfortable for them by understanding their condition.

#Sickle cell is real

#Redforsicklecellawareness

Show a little bit of Red: Will it be a lipstick or a tie for the sickle cell awareness month of September.

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September is Sickle cell awareness month. Take advantage of this to learn more about the commonest genetic disorder in Ghana.

Do you know why Red is the colour for sickle cell awareness? 

Red is the colour of blood and love. These two are what sickle persons need the most.

Blood because they suffer from a blood disorder. The haemoglobin cells which makes our blood red has a normal life span of 90 – 120 days. But the haemoglobin cells of the sickle cell person lasts for 10 – 20 days less than that of the normal cells. Because of this frequent breakdown of their cells, sickle cell persons experience anaemia often and most times have to undergo blood transfusion.

The sensitive nature of this condition and the people who have it makes showing then love and care life saving. Sickle cell brings a lot of pain with it during its crisis episodes.  Showing love is one way of making life easier for them.

Show some love…

Show support….

Wear red lipstick or tie this month and take a picture. Tag thekssproject on Instagram. Or on your social media sites with the #Redforsicklecellawareness

Share with a friend

Real Sickle Stories; Let’s make sickle cell a part of the conversation.

 

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My name is Beauty, I am AS which makes me a carrier. I got to know when I was at the training college, but I did not believe it so when I got admission to the university as part of the requirements I did it again and it was confirmed. I traveled to London and over there also I did a series of test and it showed up again.
Then surprisingly, all the nice guys that came my way, were all AS too. It became a fight between my GP (doctor) and I, he didn’t want me to get married to a carrier. I listened to him. Now I can say that God through that man saved me from wahala. I finally got married to a man who is AA and four out of my five children are all AS. I have not checked that of my last boy but am praying that he would be negative.

Stories like that of Beauty’s have ended otherwise because both partners did not find out their sickle cell status. And for those who do, they find it difficult to listen to the advice of their healthcare givers to end such relationships.
Do not take risky chances with the health and life of your future children. Adopt the KSS approach to prevent your child from sickle cell. It’s a choice, make the right one!
#sicklecellisreal
#sicklecellis100percentpreventable
#theKSSproject
#RealSicklestories

Stressing over healthy baby food? Try this homemade Green peas food.

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Choosing and trying foods for your baby can be stressful for a health concious mum. There are lots of foods out there but some of them have questionable health benefits.

Green peas like many fruits and vegetables have health benefits that are good for your baby.

1. Green peas contain vitamin C which is good for building your baby’s immune system.

2. It also has a good source of folic acid.

3. Green peas are very low in cholesterol and even helps to fight cholesterol levels.

4. Peas also contain vitamin K and A.g

Peas are typically recommended for introduction into a baby’s diet between 6-8 months old. Some starts at 4 months. it is recommended that you thoroughly discuss any feeding issues with your pediatrician.

To prepare :

1: Always remember to wash hands with soap and water.

2: Place fresh peas into a steamer basket in a pan with just enough water to slightly show through in the basket.

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3: Steam or boil until very tender.

4: Reserve any left over water to use for thinning out the peas. Or you can add breastmilk to it.

5: Let it sit for a while to cool down then blend.


Pea skins are rather difficult to completely puree. Using a blender rather than a food processor or stick mixer might be better as well.

6: transfer them into the small baby containers. Freeze them. It can be freeze for a month but I prefer one week.

7: thaw overnight if you want to feed baby…simply take out the food, thaw and then reheat.It’s ok to microwave food in a mug or a pyrex bowl. Please don’t use plastic bowl to warm food it causes cancer. or boil hot water and leave container in it till food is warm enough for baby. Or on the stove, not for long.

#HomeMadeBabyFood

By Maame Tiwaa Dadson

Effects of the unhealthy every day snack culture on your child.

brigitte-tohm-147669Not long ago, kids in Ghana went to school with either a home cooked meal or went to school to eat waakye, rice and stew , etc without much worry about drinks and the likes. At least those were for occasions like Our day(end of term celebrations) or for the Dada be’s (rich kids) during weekends. Kids in those days ate better than what we see now.

Today, almost every child attending a private creche, pre-school, kindagarteen, primary and even some JHS go to school with snacks that are unhealthy every day, five (5) times in a week. Parents buy drinks, biscuits, toffees, bubble gum, etc for their kids just because it is now an acceptable practice. But this practice has both long and short term health effects that need to be considered before buying your next snack.

1. Obesity : The snack culture like many other adopted cultures was copied from the western world. But as we copied we did not lok at its pros and cons before embracing it for our children. America is fighting childhood obesity due to this habit of exposing kids to sugary drinks and biscuits, toffees and the likes. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that  from 2011 to 2014, between 2 and 19 year olds, about 12.7 million children and adolescents are affected with obesity.

The snacks kids are being given on a daily basis contains calories, sugar, sweetners and other chemicals that causes an unhealthy increase in body weight.

2. Increased risk of diabetes : Parents who have a family health history of type 2 diabetes increases their chidren’s risk of developing diabetes in future with this snack culture. It is very important for parents to know their health history in order to have control in managing the health of thir kids.

Kids with diabetic parents should not be handed these sugary snacks when it can greatly harm their health.

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3. Dental ill health : One significant cause of tooth decay / dental carries is too much sweets. When kids are given sweets every day for school, we are investing in their weak teeth in a few years to come. Especially when our attitude towards periodic health checks is poor. Giving your child unhealthy snacks daily will harm their teeth.

4. Decreased attentiveness: Sugar gives energy. More so for kids, it makes them hyperactive and difficult to keep still. Every chold is unique in their composition. Some are more active than others. For the more active kids, giving them sugary foods only increases their activities thereby reducing their attentiveness in class. On the other hand, a less active child could benefit from a little sugar to boost his/her activity level.  You should know your child and what will be best for him/her.

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5. Unhealthy future habits: Children learn from adults and form their opinions and habits from what they are exposed to by their parents. By giving your child unhealthy snacks daily, you indirectly tell them it’s good so they keep the practice and continue while the grow. Such habits only lead to obesity, heart diseases, etc for an adult.

Let’s review this unhealthy culture for a healthy future generation.

Follow my blog for more on how to change from unhealthy to healthy snacking for your kids.

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