Monday, March 30, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The program "THE HUMAN FACE" has been designed to eliminate misconceptions attached to HIV & AIDS, and so far to give a human face to it. The program will have a significant focus on raising the voice of people living with HIV & AIDS, and the vulnerable groups like drug users, commercial sex workers, youths, street children etc. The program will act on behalf of such groups for the protection of their rights and for generating hope and inspiration to all. Besides, the program will disseminate factual information to educate people on different issues related to HIV & AIDS, which will be instrumental in sensitizing all the sectors for getting their support in a fight against HIV & AIDS. The Program will basically constitute thought provoking messages in order to erase negative images about the issue from the mind of the targeted groups.
The issue related to HIV & AIDS has become a major concern of social economic and political sectors. HIV & AIDS is not merely the health issue, but it is linked with different social, political and economic factors, which posses a negative effect on socio economic condition of human life. HIV & AIDS are the bitter realities of our society, which call for genuine actions against, from all the stakeholders including People living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHAs) (ex) Injecting Drug Users (IDUs), Commercial Sex Workers (CSWs), policy makers, NGO & INGOs.
Understanding the possible threat of HIV & AIDS, majority of first and second world countries have been pouring huge amount of money in the name of “fighting against HIV & AIDS”. Their efforts need to be highly appreciated as they have been trying to eliminate all kind of negative impact of the issues related to HIV & AIDS. Ironically, on one side there are efforts being made, while on the other side the issue is becoming more problematic. A gap has been created between problem and plan implementation.
Specifically, in our country, there are lots of programs in action in the name of addressing the issue. Irrespective to those programs, the issue has become more intensified among people. Instead of becoming more educated, more knowledgeable on HIV & AIDS, they are lacking truthful and factual information leading to misconceptions related to HIV & AIDS.
Lack of genuine effort and commitment from the people working on the issue have created confusing environment within our society. Direct and indirect stigmatization of people living with HIV and understanding their efforts has generated negative attitudes.
All these misconceptions and negative attitudes need to be changed. In this mission of giving HIV & AIDS a human face, every sectors need to show their concern about the issue. Moreover, as a primarily step, programs should be launched in order to correct all the misconceptions and misunderstandings.
The following content below was derived from http://health.msn.com
What is HIV? What is AIDS?
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the immune system, the body’s natural defense system. Without a strong immune system, the body has trouble fighting off disease. Both the virus and the infection it causes are called HIV.
White blood cells are an important part of the immune system. HIV invades and destroys certain white blood cells called CD4+ cells. If too many CD4+ cells are destroyed, the body can no longer defend itself against infection.
The last stage of HIV infection is AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). People with AIDS have a low number of CD4+ cells and get infections or cancers that rarely occur in healthy people. These can be deadly.
But having HIV does not mean you have AIDS. Even without treatment, it takes a long time for HIV to progress to AIDS—usually 10 to 12 years. If HIV is diagnosed before it becomes AIDS, medicines can slow or stop the damage to the immune system. With treatment, many people with HIV are able to live long and active lives.
What causes HIV?
HIV infection is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus. You can get HIV from contact with infected blood, semen, or vaginal fluids.
Most people get the virus by having unprotected sex with someone who has HIV.
Another common way of getting the virus is by sharing drug needles with someone who is infected with HIV.
The virus can also be passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy, birth, or breast-feeding.
HIV doesn't survive well outside the body. So it cannot be spread by casual contact such as kissing or sharing drinking glasses with an infected person.
What are the symptoms?
HIV may not cause symptoms early on. People who do have symptoms may mistake them for the flu or mono. Common early symptoms include:
- Sore throat.
- Muscle aches and joint pain.
- Swollen glands (swollen lymph nodes).
- Skin rash.
After the early symptoms go away, an infected person may not have symptoms again for many years. Treatment usually keeps the virus under control and helps the immune system stay healthy. But without treatment, the virus continues to grow in the body and attacks the immune system. After a certain point, symptoms reappear and then remain. These symptoms usually include:
- Swollen lymph nodes.
- Extreme tiredness.
- Weight loss.
- Night sweats.
How is HIV diagnosed?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved tests that detect HIV antibodies in urine, fluid from the mouth (oral fluid), or blood. If a test on urine or oral fluid shows that you are infected with HIV, you will probably need a blood test to confirm the results. If you have been exposed to HIV, your immune system will make antibodies to try to destroy the virus. Blood tests can find these antibodies in your blood.
Most doctors use two blood tests, called the ELISA and the Western blot assay. If the first ELISA is positive (meaning that HIV antibodies are found), the blood sample is tested again. If the second test is positive, the doctor will do a Western blot to be sure.
It may take as long as 6 months for HIV antibodies to show up in a blood sample. If you think you have been exposed to HIV but you test negative for it:
Get tested again in 6 months to be sure you are not infected.
Meanwhile, take steps to prevent the spread of the virus. If you are infected, you can still pass HIV to another person during this time.
Some people are afraid to be tested for HIV. But if there is any chance you could be infected, it is very important to find out. HIV can be treated. Getting early treatment can slow down the virus and help you stay healthy. And you need to know if you are infected so you can prevent spreading the infection to other people.
You can get HIV testing in most doctors’ offices, public health clinics, hospitals, and Planned Parenthood clinics. You can also buy a home HIV test kit in a drugstore or by mail order. But be very careful to choose only a test that has been approved by the FDA. If a home test is positive, see a doctor to have the result confirmed and to find out what to do next.
How is it treated?
The standard treatment for HIV is a combination of medicines called highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Antiretroviral medicines slow the rate at which the virus multiplies. Taking these medicines can reduce the amount of virus in your body and help you stay healthy.
It may not be easy to decide the best time to start treatment. There are pros and cons to taking HAART before you have symptoms. Discuss these with your doctor so you understand your choices.
To monitor the HIV infection and its effect on your immune system, a doctor will do two tests:
Viral load, which shows the amount of virus in your blood.
CD4+ cell count, which shows how well your immune system is working.
If you have no symptoms and your CD4+ cell count is at a healthy level, you may not need treatment yet. Your doctor will repeat the tests on a regular basis to see how you are doing. If you have symptoms, you should consider starting treatment, whatever your CD4+ count is.
After you start treatment, it is important to take your medicines exactly as directed by your doctor. When treatment doesn't work, it is often because HIV has become resistant to the medicine. This can happen if you don't take your medicines correctly. Ask your doctor if you have questions about your treatment.
Treatment has become much easier to follow over the past few years. New combination medicines include two or three different medicines in one pill. Many people with HIV get the treatment they need by taking just one or two pills a day.
To stay as healthy as possible during treatment:
- Don't smoke. People with HIV are more likely to have a heart attack or get lung cancer. Smoking can increase these risks even more.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet to keep your immune system strong.
- Get regular exercise to reduce stress and improve the quality of your life.
- Don't use illegal drugs, and limit your use of alcohol.
How can you prevent HIV?
HIV can be spread by people who don't know they are infected. To protect yourself and others:
- Practice safe sex. Use a condom every time you have sex (including oral sex) until you are sure you and your partner are not infected with HIV.
- Don't have more than one sex partner at a time. The safest sex is with one partner who has sex only with you.
- Talk to your partner before you have sex the first time. Find out if he or she is at risk for HIV. Get tested together and retested 6 months later. Use condoms in the meantime.
- Don't drink a lot of alcohol or use illegal drugs before sex. You might let down your guard and not practice safe sex.
- Don't share personal items, such as toothbrushes or razors.
- Never share needles or syringes with anyone.
Learning about HIV:
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Click on the image below to view some of the fun moments of SAATH EVENT 2008.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Our Culture, Our Identity
There are certain social issues, which can be effectively dealt with largely by the intervention of Professional Social Workers. Indeed, Social work is a multidimensional approach to tackle various Social and Cultural issues in very effective manner with proper utilization of resources for sustainable benefit of individual, group, society, nation and the world as a whole. Social Workers, apart from dealing with social issues, also take steps in maintaining proper social system with a special focus on preserving culture of that particular community and the country; thus respect the sentiments of local people. Social workers generally regard “culture” as a way of life of people living in that community that provides a guideline for a group of people to act reciprocally for the benefit of each other. Functionalists believe that culture of a group or of a community builds on a common ideology, philosophy, ethics and values that are respected by the people of that community which is necessary for the proper functioning of a society. Indeed, culture binds people to generate a sense of solidarity and we-feeling amongst them despite of their personal values and interests. However, with the lens of Conflict Theory, culture is not always for unifying people as each individual are free to have different ideologies and personal interests. The lack of consensus between different individuals in time and space lead to Cultural conflict.
In our present context, Nepal is going through a cultural conflict with the change in political situation. Sociologists consider this ongoing phenomenon is largely because of politicization of our culture. This has created a havoc situation that is fading our Nepali identity and there are high possibilities of deterioration of our culture, social norms and values. So, it’s a high time to be genuinely concerned about our culture for ensuring the respect towards our diverse culture and taking steps to preserve and promote it. Nevertheless, preserving our culture and identity can be the best strategy to promote Tourism industry in our country, which has also been recognized by the Finance Minister. Nevertheless, it’s not only the role of Government, but all the stakeholders should contribute their right effort in this great mission. With this regard, youth as the important key players can play very significant roles in promoting our culture and preserving our identity. In this scenario, SAATH (A youth group of Social Workers in Nepal) has tried to take some steps with SAATH EVENT 2008 that is to be organized on December 13, 2008 to address the issue - our culture, our identity and for moving forward to contribute its right efforts in promoting Nepali Culture and also to inspire others for their genuine involvement in this mission. SAATH understands the importance and essence of Nepali Culture, which SAATH take it as unique Nepali identity.
In the present context, when most of the young people are indulged into various socially unacceptable activities, there are few young individuals who have a strong determination to work for society and who are really contributing their efforts for our society. SAATH EVENT 2008 being a step put forwarded by such youth can’t be neglected, and obvious intrinsic reason is visible to everyone to call it as a worthy event for our society. Besides, the practical and truthful information to be provided by individuals, experts and organizations will be of great value for everyone. General public esp. youth will be aware about various issues like diversity of Nepali culture, cultural conflict and positive steps to create the sense of “Unity in Diversity”. Reciprocally, SAATH EVENT 2008 will be a platform for our ethnic groups, cultural groups and associations to come together to celebrate each other’s culture in one space and time and also to present their Traditional Culture at National Level. Moreover, we have lots of ethnic groups and traditional cultures that are not so much highlighted are in need to be exposed for the larger population. This Event particularly will provide a room for them to come up to stand in front to make everyone aware of their culture and traditions. Empirically too, it is an event organized by youth to sensitize youth to promote our Nepali Culture, so it holds a larger degree of significance.
It is noteworthy to mention that youths are not only the “future” but are indeed the “present of the Nation”. It is needless to mention that many Nepalese youths are staying abroad. However, there are youths, but few in number, who still believe in their youth spirit and are determined to work hard in Nepal for Nepal. They are the one who, rather than blaming Government sector, are taking genuine actions for social changes. SAATH EVENT 2008 is one of the actions needed in this high time. It is hoped that all the stakeholders including Government will develop the faculty to understand the importance of youth initiated programs like this. The success of this program will definitely inspire many Nepalese youth to take similar kind of actions and create opportunities for themselves in Nepal itself. This ultimately will help in creating sound environment for promoting Nepali culture and also for maintaining cultural consensus amongst different groups of people.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
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What might be the problem??
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520
This information is current as of today, Wed Nov 26 2008 21:32:51 GMT+0545 (Nepal Standard Time).
November 21, 2008
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to Nepal and urges caution when traveling in country. The Department of State remains concerned about the security situation in Nepal and urges American citizens to obtain updated security information before they travel and to be prepared to change their plans on short notice. This replaces the Travel Warning for Nepal dated May 7, 2008 and updates safety and security information following the formation of the coalition government in August, 2008.
Despite the recent smooth transition of government, some unrest remains. The Young Communist League (YCL), a Maoist Party subgroup, continues to engage in extortion, abuse, and threats of violence, particularly in rural areas. Youth groups from the other two main political parties, the Nepali Congress (NC) and the United Marxist-Leninist Party (UML), have also formed and clashes continue among these political rivals. Violent actions by multiple armed splinter groups in the Terai region along the southern border with India remain a significant concern.
While protests and pre-election localized bombing incidents have decreased, demonstrations and disruptions still occur. During demonstrations, protestors have used violence, including damaging vehicles, throwing rocks, and burning tires to block traffic. Given the nature, intensity, and unpredictability of disturbances, American citizens are urged to exercise special caution during times when demonstrations are announced, avoid areas where demonstrations are occurring or crowds are forming, avoid road travel, and maintain a low profile. Curfews can be announced with little or no advance notice. American citizens are urged to consult media sources and to register with the Embassy (see instructions below) for current security information.
Crime in the Kathmandu Valley, including violent crime and harassment of women, continues to rise. Police resources to combat such crime are limited. Police have reported a number of robberies by armed gangs, sometimes resulting in injury to the victims. The U.S. Embassy reports an increase in crime in some popular tourist areas such as Pokhara and the Thamel area of Kathmandu. Visitors to Nepal should practice good personal security when moving about, especially at night, and avoid walking alone after dark, carrying large sums of cash, or wearing expensive jewelry. In several reported incidents tourists have had their belongings stolen from their rooms while they were asleep. Solo trekkers have been robbed by small groups of young men, even on some popular trails. Some Young Communist League members extort money from foreign tourists along some popular trekking routes, and have threatened physical violence to Nepalis and non-Nepalis alike for violating localized strikes.
Travel via road in areas outside of the Kathmandu Valley is hazardous due to erratic drivers and frequent road accidents. Public transportation, such as microbuses and tuk tuks, should be avoided because they are often overfilled, driven unsafely, and mechanically unsound. American citizens should use taxis with meters or negotiate a price with the taxi driver before starting a trip.
Most U.S. official travel outside the Kathmandu Valley, including by air, requires specific clearance by the U.S. Embassy’s Regional Security Officer. As a result, The U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide emergency assistance to U.S. citizens may be limited. Active duty U.S. military and Department of Defense contractors must obtain a country clearance for official and personal travel to Nepal.
The U.S. Government’s designation of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” organization under Executive Order 13224 and its inclusion on the “Terrorist Exclusion List” pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act remain in effect. These two designations make Maoists excludable from entry into the United States without a waiver and bar U.S. citizens from transactions such as contribution of funds, goods, or services to, or for the benefit of, the Maoists.
For additional information, please refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad” found at http://travel.state.gov. Americans living or traveling in Nepal are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy through the State Department's travel registration website (https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/home.asp). The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu is located at Maharajgunj. The telephone number is 977-1-4007200, 4007201. The number for after-hours emergencies is 977-1-4007266, 4007269. The fax number is 977-1-4007281. The Consulate’s e-mail address is email@example.com and its Internet web page is http://nepal.usembassy.gov. U.S. citizens should also consult the Department of State’s latest Country Specific Information for Nepal and the Worldwide Caution, available at http://travel.state.gov. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).