Dutch Study: Most New HIV Infections Could Be Prevented With Pill

HIV patients

The pill that prevents HIV is not widely available in Europe. If it were, it would probably drop infections considerably, researchers say.

The pill that prevents HIV is not widely available in Europe. If it were, it would probably drop infections considerably, researchers say.

Nearly two-thirds of new HIV infections in gay and bisexual men in the Netherlands could be prevented with antiretroviral treatment, according to a study published on Wednesday.

This treatment — also known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP — is not widely available in Europe. It’s not clear whether it would lead to a similar drop in infections in the U.S., where a growing number of gay and bisexual men are already getting PrEP as Truvada, the once-a-day blue pill.

Still, the researchers say that the new study adds to other research showing the public health benefits of PrEP, especially when combined with frequent HIV testing.

“I hope that this study contributes to making the case for making PrEP available to as many individuals as possible,” Oliver Ratmann, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London and leader of the new study, told BuzzFeed News.

Ratmann and his colleagues looked at the medical records of 617 Dutch men who were diagnosed with HIV between July 1996 and December 2010.

The Netherlands, like several other countries in northern Europe, is famous among medical researchers because the government routinely collects health and demographic data on citizens, and then makes the anonymized data available for scientific research. “All hospitals have to comply, which is why we have such a comprehensive dataset,” Ratmann said. “Almost everyone with HIV is in it.”
                           Ratmann’s team looked in particular at the specific genetic code of HIV in each of the 617 men. The virus’s DNA sequence mutates rapidly as it spreads from person to person. By comparing these sequences, “you can say that patient A did not infect patient B, because sequences are so dissimilar.”
                          With this approach, it’s not possible to determine for certain who infected who. But for each infected man, the researchers were able to identify three or four other men who could have infected him. By weighing these various probabilities, the researchers found that an estimated 71% of HIV transmissions came from men who had not been diagnosed, and 43% from men in their first year of infection, underscoring the importance of regular HIV testing.
                           The scientists’ mathematical modeling also found that 66% of the infections could have been prevented if: half of all men at risk of HIV were tested annually; those who tested positive were immediately put on treatment; and half of those who tested negative were put on PrEP.

                            The results are particularly exciting, Ratmann said, because the Netherlands already has a high level of HIV treatment once a person tests positive. These results suggest that proactively treating men before the infection could drop infection rates even more.That high level of treatment, however, also makes the Netherlands quite different from the U.S., noted Dawn Smith of the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention.

“The underlying analysis methods are convincing, and findings are in the ballpark of what I would expect,” Smith told BuzzFeed News by email. Still, “this study’s direct applicability to the United States would be a bit different in that we don’t have the high coverage of antiretroviral treatment or retention in care rates here that are present in the Netherlands.”

Although PrEP awareness in the U.S. is on the rise, Smith added, there are still two notable barriers to making it more common. Too few gay and bisexual men know about it (or where to get it), and too few doctors know about it or know which of their patients would benefit from it.

Link of original article: http://realhealthtreatments.info/dutch-study-most-new-hiv-infections-could-be-prevented-with-pill

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Great Men Knocked Down By Women: Will It Ever Come To An End?

Place 2Great men in sex scandals: Top, from left to right, Bill Clinton, John Profumo , Kobe Bryant and below, from left to right, Mike Tyson, Tiger Woods and Jeffery Archer.

Newspapers often come out with stories of great people, including politicians and celebrities in sex scandals, turning their lives upside down. Because they weren’t strong enough to control their sexual desire or too weak to resist the charm and power of attractive ladies. From Biblical times, there are stories of infidelity and adultery, putting many great men in the worst positions.

One of such stories recorded in the scriptures is that of King David, a composer, the author of book of Psalms. He couldn’t control his desire after seeing Uriah’s wife through his window taking her bath. After failing to persuade Uriah to sleep with his wife, to concede his sin and pregnancy of Bathsheba, David sent Uriah to the hottest part of a battle field to get him killed. God severely punished David for his sinful act and the child died after birth.

Giving examples of Biblical records of great men involved in sex scandals wouldn’t be intriguing, so let’s shift to our past and present generation. On June 5, 1963, British Secretary of War John Profumo resigns his post after confessing that he had lied to the House of Commons about his sexual affair with Christine Keeler, an alleged prostitute. The scandal didn’t affect him alone but threatened to topple Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s government.

A couple of years ago, it was revealed that former president of the USA, Bill Clinton, is involved in an affair with a former staff of the White House, Monica Lewinski. I watched as people argued that the story couldn’t be true. Is Clinton different from other great men women had brought to their knees? To make matters worse, after Clinton’s denial of not having any relationship with Monica, he later admitted to having sexual intercourse with Monica Lewinski.

What about the boxer Mike Tyson? He was convicted and jailed for raping Desire Washington. According to the story, Tyson invited her to his hotel room. To do what behind closed doors?  Later Mike Tyson was convicted of rape.  Many believe that Desire lied of being raped by Tyson, unfortunately not everyone believe that. Mike Tyson served his prison sentence but never became the iron Mike he used to be.  In one of his fights, after coming from prison, frustrated Tyson bit the ear of Evander Holyfield. They say the downfall of a man is not the end of his life, but at times some events and situations can be destructive.

Some years back in Britain, the famous British novelist Jeffery Archer, won a libel suit against the Sun newspaper for an article about him sleeping with a prostitute. According to Mr. Jeffery Archer, the story was untrue and it damaged his reputation. The author of ‘Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less’ was finally exposed. He admitted to having asked a friend to lie on his behalf to conceal the truth. So he did really slept with a prostitute. The startling new revelation affected Jeffery Archer such that he stepped down from contesting the seat as the mayor of London. Oh, what a shame?

On September 1, 2004 the criminal sexual assault case against Kobe Bryant, the NBA star, was dropped by the prosecutors because the accuser no longer wanted to participate in the court process.   This was after Kobe Bryant was charged with sexual assault of a 19-year-old woman in a Colorado hotel where she worked. The question is “why is it that the mighty keeps falling from the hands of women?” Is it lust, lack of control or temptation which is causing these problems? I can’t really unfold the mystery behind this.

One of such news about men involved in sex scandals, which shocked the world, was the case of the successful golfer, Tiger Woods. With such a  great career, leading him to all the corners of the world and wining great tournaments, the married man lost focus and hit the golf ball into the under wear  of porno stars, severely damaging his reputation and career.  I am a man, therefore I know the comfort and satisfaction at that place which belongs to a woman, but I am aware of the dangers and temptation, especially if you are a married man.

According to the scriptures, God places people in situations where He tests their faith and commitment.  Why God does tests us when He knew man will fail? Is man trying to get back the rib God used to create the Eve-woman, while the woman fights hard to keep it? If God really tests man, then man should pass the trial by not falling into temptations, because He also gave man power to resist temptation. In this case man shouldn’t blame God or woman for his failure.

Another question worth to bring on the table is: Can these bitter stories serve as a lesson to other men? Time will tell, but I don’t think so. Men will always drift into danger, since the body is weak to resist temptation, moreover Satan is like a hungry lion, lurking around the corner, looking for its next victim to devour, but we mustn’t allow him to catch us.

My Motherland Offers Riches To The Tourist, So Why Are So Many Ghanaians Queuing Up To Come To Britain?

Culture 3

Ghana Says ‘Awaaba’- Welcome

A tale of two countries

Article by Henry Bonsu: A journalist and broadcaster (Originally published in TheGuardian)

While my primary government, in London, has been struggling to persuade people in Britain it has done enough to keep out the huddled masses from eastern Europe, my secondary government, in Accra, has also been preoccupied with travel. But rather than keeping undesirables out, Ghana’s government is more concerned with bringing people in: to spend their pounds, dollars and euros on business and tourism. And Ghanaians living in Britain are being asked to do their bit to help turn their country into Africa’s number one destination.

The tourism minister, Jake Obestebi-Lamptey, wants us to tell people that the former Gold Coast has become a “bird-watcher’s paradise, eco-tourism haven and an adventurer’s dream”. I’ve been wondering, though, how we can persuade the locals that they are sitting on such a goldmine. Stroll past the British high commission in Accra on any given evening and you’ll see Ghanaians bedding down, hoping to be the first in the visa queue the next morning.

And the 35,000 Ghanaians who were granted short-term entry to Britain this year, and the similar number of rejects, are just a fraction of those who dream of fleeing poverty. With doctors, nurses and teachers in the vanguard, ministers have been insisting on loyalty clauses for ambitious graduates. Not for nothing are we called the “Jews of Africa”, with an estimated 200,000 Ghanaians and their descendants settling in this country alone since independence.

Some people are used to thinking of Ghana as a “beacon” country of stability and inward investment – the symbolic destination for African-Caribbeans and Americans who wish to reclaim their heritage. Didn’t the IMF and World Bank lavish praise on former president Jerry Rawlings and his successor John Kufuor for their growth rates of 5%? Haven’t Japan and the EU given Ghana millions of dollars for skills training and poverty reduction?

Indeed they have. But when I visit my motherland this summer, it will, once again, be a tale of two countries. I’ll marvel at the beach hotels, luxury estates and free press, and revel in the power of the pound, which takes me from bohemian Brixton to the elite of Ghanaian society in six hours.

But this is the Ghana of the expatriate, and the rich business and political classes, who travel in and out of Britain, but have no intention of staying because their standard of living cannot be replicated in any European country.

The other Ghana is that of my cousin, a pastor, who ministers in the densely populated areas of Greater Accra. Maamobi is typical; a district of shanty housing, open sewers, malaria and mass unemployment. If you are lucky enough to have a job, your minimum wage has just gone up to 11,000 cedis (65p) a day.

My aunt is a typical resident, full of incredible hospitality, but she talks about her own future with little ambition, investing all hope in the children she’s managed to send abroad. Swatting away flies under the burning sun, she chats about whether things can change in “Mother Ghana”, with frequent references to gye nyame (“only God can help us”).

Perhaps such fatalism is understandable in a 60-year-old, who has witnessed colonial rule followed by decades of strong-man politics. But it is more distressing to see the fight go out of younger people, who can spend years in limbo, waiting for an overseas relative to pay some middle man a £3,000 “connection fee” to ease their passage. Ironically these are the same Ghanaians who, once here, will hold down two or three jobs, and contribute their share of an annual $1.5bn in remittances to sustain their family.

When cousins ask me how life is in Britain, I warn that although the 60s Nkrumah generation – which includes my parents – have largely succeeded in grooming their children for a middle-class future, things are more unpleasant for recent arrivals; that unless they have key qualifications (medical, educational or social work), they will have few choices – hence around 60% of London’s parking attendants are Ghanaian or Nigerian.

Perhaps naively I offer to help them do business locally alongside the mechanics, seamstresses and shopkeepers, who somehow manage to make ends meet, but then I hear of Ghana’s frighteningly high interest and inflation rates, the soaring price of utilities (a consequence of foreign-inspired privatisation), and the stop-go electricity supply. If, like my uncle in Kumasi, you take up farming, which comprises 36% of Ghana’s GDP, could you compete with cheap subsidised goods from the west, without being given access to European and US markets?

Would you wait for change to be delivered by Blair and Geldof’s African Commission? No, in those circumstances, £6 an hour as a security guard or a cleaner in a faraway country may sound like a better way to make money. Perhaps, like the dozens of others who’ll be bedding down outside the British high commission tonight, you’d rehearse your lines in preparation for an interview, and perhaps a passport to life in London’s underbelly. So, if you’re a British traveller huffing at the occasional delay at Heathrow, spare a thought for the other kind of global traffic heading in your direction with tourism the last thing on its mind.

Head Of State

STATE

When a young investigative reporter is found dead on the streets of London few people notice. But when another body – minus its head and hands – is washed up on the banks of the Thames, its grisly condition arouses a little more interest.

There appears to be no connection between the two dead men. But, unsuspected by the electorate, there is a shocking and dangerous secret at the very heart of government. While the United Kingdom approaches a crucial and delicately-balanced referendum on Europe, a group of ruthlessly determined individuals will stop at nothing – including murder – to prevent the truth from getting out.

Andrew Marr’s first novel is a gleefully twisted spin through the corridors of power. Making full use of his unrivalled inside knowledge of the British political scene, Marr has threaded his wickedly clever thriller with a distinctive strand of pitch-black humour, to offer an irreverent glimpse behind the parliamentary curtain.

The Author

State 2

Andrew William Stevenson Marr (born 31 July 1959) is a Scottish journalist and political commentator. He edited The Independent for two years until May 1998, and was political editor of BBC News from 2000 until 2005.

He began hosting a political programme Sunday AM, now called The Andrew Marr Show, on Sunday mornings on BBC One from September 2005. Marr also hosts the BBC Radio 4 programme Start the Week.

In 2007 he presented a political history of post-war Britain on BBC Two, Andrew Marr’s History of Modern Britain, followed by a prequel in 2009 – Andrew Marr’s The Making of Modern Britain focusing on the period between 1901 and 1945.

Most recently, he presented a series, Andrew Marr’s Megacities, examining the life, development and challenges of some of the largest cities in the world.

http://www.amazon.com/Andrew-Marr/e/B001HPXUPY/

Portugal: The Scramble For Africa

This is the history of the Portuguese colonisation of east and west Africa – what is now Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau. The 19th century colonial scramble for AfricaA” found Portugal weak, vulnerable and completely unprepared to deal with the new realities foisted on it by the signatories of the Conference of Berlin in 1884.

Portugal

Between then and the end of World War I, Portugal’s colonial ambitions rose and fell. This carefully researched book documents the events of Portugal’s colonial expansion into the African continent, the characters and personalities, the wars and battles, and the gradually changing social structure of the colonies.

The Author

Paul

Paul Southern

Following an induced labour some time in the 1960s (due date: Halloween night), I had my subscription to a normal life revoked by itinerant parents, who moved from city to city. Lived in Liverpool, Belfast, London and Leeds, then escaped to university, where I nearlydied of a brain haemorrhage. After an unexpected recovery, formed an underground indie group (Sexus).

Met the lead singer through standing on a bee. Made immediate plans to become rich and famous, but ended up in Manchester. Shared a house with mice, cockroaches, and slugs; shared the street with criminals. Five years later, hit the big time with a Warners record deal. Concerts at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Melody Maker front cover, Smash Hits Single of the Week, Radio 1 and EastEnders. Mixed with the really rich and famous.

Then mixed with lawyers. Ended up back in Manchester, broke. Got a PhD in English (I am the world’s leading authority on Tennyson’s stage plays), then wrote my first novel, The Craze, based on my experiences of the Muslim community. Immediately nominated to the Arena X Club (the name Arena magazine gave to a select group of creative, UK-based men responsible for shaping the way their readers lived and enjoyed their lives).

Wrote a second book, Brown Boys in Chocolate, which predicted the London bombings. Fell foul of the censors and subsequently gagged by the press. Got ITV interested in a story on honour killings and inter-racial marriages and was commissioned to write a screenplay (Pariah) based on my life story. ITV balked at the content.

Subsequently, trod the wasteland before finding the grail again: a book deal with children’s publisher, Chicken House. Killing Sound, a YA horror set on the London Underground, was published by them in September 2014

http://www.amazon.com/Portugal-Scramble-Africa-Paul-Southern/dp/094699563X/

The Secret River

Winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize and Australian Book Industry Awards, Book of the Year. After a childhood of poverty and petty crime in the slums of London, William Thornhill is transported to New South Wales for the term of his natural life. With his wife Sal and children in tow, he arrives in a harsh land that feels at first like a death sentence.
River
But among the convicts there is a whisper that freedom can be bought, an opportunity to start afresh. As Thornhill stakes his claim on a patch of ground by the Hawkesbury River, the battle lines between the old and new inhabitants are drawn. Inspired by research into her own family history, Kate Grenville vividly creates the reality of settler life, its longings, dangers and dilemmas.
The Secret River is a groundbreaking story about identity, belonging and ownership. There is no doubt Grenville is one of our greatest writers. A book everyone should read. It is evocative, gracefully written, terrible and confronting. And it has resonance for ever’.
The Author

Kate 2

Kate Grenville was born in Sydney, Australia. She’s published eight books of fiction, including the multiple prize-winners ‘The Secret River’, ‘The Lieutenant’, ‘The Idea of Perfection’, and ‘Lilian’s Story’. She’s also published three books about the writing process that are classic texts for Creative Writing classes, and a memoir about the research and writing of ‘The Secret River’.

Grenville writes about Australia, but her themes are universal: love, violence, and survival. Her characters are often inspired by real historical characters: her own nineteenth century convict ancestor, an early Australian settler; a bag-lady on the streets of 1950s Sydney who quotes Shakespeare for a living; a soldier in the Sydney of 1788 who shares an extraordinary friendship of tenderness and respect with a young Aboriginal girl.
Grenville’s international prizes include the Orange Award, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and a shortlisting for the Man Booker Prize. Her books have been published all over the world and translated into many languages, and two have been made into feature films.

Learn more about Kate Grenville, her books, and how to get hold of them, at

http://kategrenville.com./

http://www.amazon.com/Kate-Grenville/e/B001HMOCTU