Posts Tagged ‘AIDS’

In a warning that will strike fear into the hearts of all thinking people, the World Health Organisation warns of catastrophic effects of antibiotic overuse that they say are here now, not at some vague point in the future.

This is E.coli. Currently it’s an annoyance, but could it very easily become a killer again?

A global report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that in the very near future if not right now we should perhaps worry at least as much about grazing our knees or developing a tummy bug or UTI than dying of AIDS or cancer

The over-prescription of antibiotics, says WHO, has led to bacteria evolving and developing resistance to which current therapeutics have no answer.

Experts warn that minor cuts, grazes, diarrhoea and flu could soon become fatal as antibiotics lose their power to fight minor infections.

The WHO highlighted seven species of bacteria that are showing higher levels of antibiotic resistence. They are: E.coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Staphyococcus aureus (MRSA), Streptococcus pneumoniae, Nontyphoidal Salmonella, Shigella species and Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

If some of those sound familiar, it’s because they are: they all cause common illnesses like urinary tract infections, sore throats, pneumonia, diarrhoea and even gonorrhea. And this risk compounds for those with compromised immune systems, such as those undergoing treatment for cancer.

Dr Fukuda

Dr Fukuda

Dr Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s assistant director for health security, said: ‘Without urgent, co-ordinated action, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill. Unless we take significant actions to improve efforts to prevent infections, and also change how we produce, prescribe and use antibiotics, the world will lose more and more of these global public health goods and the implications will be devastating.

We should anticipate many more deaths. We are going to see people who have untreatable infections.”

The WHO recommended the public take basic precautions such as such as washing hands to prevent bacteria from spreading.

The surgeon and former UK health minister, Lord Darzi, wrote in the Telegraph: “The world is entering an era where a child’s scratched knee could kill, where patients entering hospital gamble with their lives and routine operations are too dangerous to carry out. Every antibiotic ever developed is at risk of becoming useless. The age of safe medicine is ending.”

Professor Laura Piddock, Director of Antibiotic Action and Professor of Microbiology at the University of Birmingham said: “The world needs to respond as it did to the AIDS crisis of the Eighties.”

Which is all very cheerful, isn’t it?

When we are asked “What is humankind’s greatest discovery?” ( a common dinner-table topic when sex and politics has been exhausted) we eschew the obvious ones: the microchip, space travel, intensive farming, TV, etc, because in our opinion, it’s antibiotics.

In the last 70 years or so, billions of people have lived long, productive lives who within living memory would have died. We are old enough to have known people in our family who died of of infections that today would be cured in a a couple of days, and often without feeling especially unwell.

We need to act now on this warning. And we need to get these thoughts very very clear in our head, people.

ALWAYS wash your hands after using the lavatory, without fail, every time. ALWAYS was your hands before eating. ALWAYS wash your hands after visiting someone in hospital. ALWAYS wash your hands after changing the baby’s diaper.

Minimum. Hot soap and water is good. Some studies show it to me more effective than disinfectants. Now that’s not so hard, is it?

This is a bacterial infection called Cellulitis. It is cured by antibiotics. Without antibiotics, it can turn to septicaemia and be deadly.

This is a bacterial infection called Cellulitis. It is cured by antibiotics. Without antibiotics, it can turn to septicaemia and be deadly.

Remember: ONLY bacterial infections are cured by antibiotics.

Antibiotics do NOT cure colds and flu and other viruses.

Don’t buy them for a simple cold, don’t beg your GP for them, just suffer like the rest of us. You’re going to anyway.

If you get sick, and before you rush off to a pharmacy with the script your doctor has wearily written out without thinking, just ask your doctor whether your body might do a fine job of curing itself BEFORE you automatically guzzle a packet of penicillin.

No, no-one wants you to become very ill – just maybe, having taken his or her advice, monitor the situation for a day or two, with your GP aware of how you’re doing, before resorting to antibiotics. There are also plenty of foodstuffs around with antibiotic properties. Google them, and eat them.

And most of all, NEVER EVER EVER eat only half the packet of antibiotics thinking you are better and you don’t need them anymore. You might be, but you are risking leaving a bunch of germs inside you that manage to survive the antibiotics, which you can then pass on to someone else. If you get the damn pills, eat the damn pills. All of them. Every time.

That is all.

 

"I was taken out of context." Yeah, right.

“I was taken out of context.” Yeah, right.

From the Rachel Maddow blog:

Radical TV preacher Pat Robertson has made a career out of making ridiculous comments, but yesterday, the televangelist broke new ground on his own Christian Broadcasting Network.

For those who can’t watch clips online (or if this clip is removed from YouTube before I can find a replacement), Right Wing Watch spotted a doozy: Robertson told his viewers that that gay men in cities like San Francisco attempt to spread HIV/AIDS to others by cutting them with a special ring when shaking hands.

Co-host Terry Meeuwsen seemed to want to move the conversation along, but Robertson stuck to his crazy guns. “You know what they do in San Francisco, some in the gay community there they want to get people so if they got the stuff they’ll have a ring, you shake hands, and the ring’s got a little thing where you cut your finger,” the TV preacher said.

“Really?” Meeuwsen asked, incredulously. “Yes, really,” Robertson replied.

And while the televangelist’s over-the-top rhetoric is painfully common, this one was especially interesting because of what happened next.

After Robertson’s comments were aired, the Christian Broadcasting Network posted the episode online — but edited out this portion of the program.

In other words, Robertson’s anti-gay hysteria was so ridiculous, even his own network was reluctant to allow people to see it. Indeed, CBN even forced YouTube to take down the clip posted by Right Wing Watch. (It was re-posted by many others, including the version included above.)

Robertson really shouldn’t say things on national television if he doesn’t want people to see them.

When The Atlantic asked for comment, Robertson said he “regret[s] that my remarks had been misunderstood, but this often happens because people do not listen to the context of remarks which are being said.” He added, “In no wise [sic] were my remarks meant as an indictment of the homosexual community or, for that fact, to those infected with this dreadful disease.”

There is no context in which it makes sense to accuse gay people in San Francisco of deliberately cutting others in the hopes of deliberately spreading the AIDS virus.

Robertson’s remarkably active imagination notwithstanding, there is no evidence to bolster his assertions.

Ends …

Senile? Barmy? Waste of useful oxygen? You tell us, Dear Reader. What is MOST worrying is people listen to this nonsense every day, and repeat it as if it is fact. In a week when a transgender woman was beaten to death outside a police station merely for wanting to be who she is, provoking the usual wail of ‘why are people like this?’ the answer is ‘people are like this because they are constantly fed rubbish from those who should know better’.

Rubbish? Spend a moment and consider some of Robertson’s other equally cautiously considered statements:

He wishes, for example, that Facebook had a ‘vomit’ button, so that he could click on it every time he came across a photograph of a gay couple kissing. (Why is he looking? Ed.) Anyhow, a viewer wanted to know how to address images of same-sex couples on social media sites, such as Facebook.

Robertson commented “You’ve got a couple of same-sex guys kissing, do you like that? Well that makes me want to throw up,” he said.

“To me I would punch ‘Vomit;’ not ‘Like,'” he added “But they don’t give you that option on Facebook.”

That was not the first time Robertson, 83, has used vomit to express his sentiments on homosexuality.

Robertson has also said the land would “vomit out” those who disobeyed the commandments of the Old Testament.

Here are some more controversial and colorful comments the “evangelist” has made that have gone viral:

To a man whose wife does not respect him as ‘head of the household”

Robertson  answered a question from a viewer named Michael about how to repair his marriage.

Robertson’s response: “Well, you could become a Muslim and you could beat her.”

Think I’m kidding?

Loathsome.

In case you cant see the video, bizarrely, this comment elicits laughter from Robertson’s co-host, Terry Meeuwsen.

Unfortunately, Robertson didn’t stop there.

“I don’t think we condone wife-beating these days but something has got to be done to make her.”

He also called the woman a “rebellious child” who doesn’t want to “submit to any authority.” However, since the Scripture doesn’t allow for divorce, Robertson urged the husband to “move to Saudi Arabia,” where, ostensibly, presumably, beating the woman would be permissible.

To a woman whose husband committed adultery

“Males have a tendency to wander a little bit. And what you want to do is make a home so wonderful he doesn’t want to wander.”

(Hang on, no stoning? Ed.)

On a man with an Alzheimer’s-stricken wife

“I know it sounds cruel, but if he’s going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but to make sure she has custodial care and somebody (is) looking after her.”

Asked what about the “Till death do us part” part of the marriage vow, he said Alzheimer’s is “a kind of death.”

On Walt Disney World’s “Gay Days”

“I would warn Orlando that you’re right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don’t think I’d be waving those flags in God’s face if I were you. It’ll bring about terrorist bombs; it’ll bring earthquakes, tornadoes, and possibly a meteor.”

On the role of a man and a woman

“I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household, and the husband is the head of the wife, and that’s the way it is, period.”

On feminism

“The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”

On why Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had a stroke

“God considers this land to be his. You read the Bible and he says ‘This is my land,’ and for any prime minister of Israel who decides he is going to carve it up and give it away, God says, ‘No, this is mine.’ He was dividing God’s land. And I would say, ‘Woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the E.U., the United Nations, or the United States of America.’ God says, ‘This land belongs to me. You better leave it alone.'”

(Not because he was a fat old guy under considerable stress, of course. Ed.)

On the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake

“They were under the heel of the French, you know, Napoleon the third and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, ‘We will serve you if you will get us free from the prince.’ True story.

And so the devil said, ‘OK, it’s a deal.’ And they kicked the French out. The Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by one thing after another.”

On homosexuality

“Many of those people involved in Adolf Hitler were Satanists. Many were homosexuals. The two things seem to go together.”

On assassinating Hugo Chavez

“You know, I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it.”

On the tornadoes that ravaged the Midwest in 2012

“If enough people were praying, (God) would’ve intervened. You could pray. Jesus stilled the storm. You can still storms.”

playtimeIn my opinion this man is about as Christian as a housebrick, and as soon as he is gathered unto his Maker, which really can’t be all that far way now now, thank goodness, he will be going straight to his eternal reward, which, incidentally, will be to a loud and persistent soundtrack of wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Robertson is in mo way a minor person, so far on the fringe that he can be idly ignored. In September 1986, Robertson announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for President of the United States.

He said he would pursue the nomination only if three million people signed up to volunteer for his campaign by September 1987. Somewhat astoundingly 9and worryingly) three million responded, and by the time Robertson announced he would be running in September 1987, he also had raised millions of dollars for his campaign fund. He surrendered his ministerial credentials and turned leadership of CBN over to his son, Tim.

Robertson ran on a oft-adopted radical right platform. Among his policies, he wanted to ban pornography, reform the education system, and eliminate departments such as the Department of Education and the Department of Energy. He also supported a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget.

His campaign got off to a strong second-place finish in the Iowa caucus, ahead of George Bush Snr. He did poorly in the subsequent New Hampshire primary, however, and was unable to be competitive once the multiple-state primaries began. Subjected to the oxygen of publicity, Robertson ended his campaign before the primaries were finished. His best finish was in Washington, winning the majority of caucus delegates. He later spoke at the 1988 Republican National Convention in New Orleans and told his remaining supporters to cast their votes for Bush, who ended up winning the nomination and the election. He then returned to CBN and has remained there.

He appears to be – on many levels – a thoroughly horrible individual.

Of the time he spent at Washington and Lee University, where he received a B.A. in History, graduating magna cum laude. Robertson has said, “Although I worked hard at my studies, my real major centered around lovely young ladies who attended the nearby girls schools.” Ah yes, the gals. Nice.

In 1948, the draft was reinstated and Robertson was given the option of joining the Marine Corps or being drafted into the army; he opted for the first.

In his words, “We did long, gruelling marches to toughen the men, plus refresher training in firearms and bayonet combat.” In the same year, he transferred to Korea.

“I ended up at the headquarters command of the First Marine Division,” said Robertson. “The Division was in combat in the hot and dusty, then bitterly cold portion of North Korea just above the 38th Parallel later identified as the ‘Punchbowl’ and ‘Heartbreak Ridge.’ For that service in the Korean War, the Marine Corps awarded me three battle stars for ‘action against the enemy.'”

However, former Republican Congressman Paul “Pete” McCloskey, Jr., who served with Robertson in Korea, wrote a public letter which said that Robertson was actually spared combat duty when his powerful father, a conservative Democrat U.S. Senator, intervened on his behalf, and that Robertson spent most of his time in an office in Japan.

According to McCloskey, his time in the service was not in combat but as the “liquor officer” responsible for keeping the officers’ clubs supplied with liquor. Robertson filed a $35 million libel suit against McCloskey in 1986.* He dropped the case in 1988, before it came to trial and paid McCloskey’s court costs.

*”Evangelist sues over combat story”. The Globe and Mail. (Toronto, Ont.). October 23, 1986. p. A.16.

**”Rpbertson’s libel suit by judge ex congressman ruled the legal victor” Philadelphia Daily News. March 7, 1988. p. 14.

Pete McCloskey

Pete McCloskey

By the way, McClosky is himself an interesting man, warranting more than a footnote in American political history. One of McCloskey’s enduring legacies is his co-authorship of the 1973 Endangered Species Act. A highly decorated war veteran and one-time moderate Republican turned Democrat, he was the first member of Congress to publicly call for the impeachment of President Nixon after the Watergate scandal and the Saturday Night Massacre. He was also the first lawmaker to call for a repeal of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that allowed for the War in Vietnam.

He had sought the 1972 Republican Presidential nomination on a pro-peace/anti-Vietnam War platform, and obtained 11% of the vote against incumbent President Richard M. Nixon in the New Hampshire primary. At the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida, Rep. McCloskey received one vote (out of 1324) from a New Mexico delegate. All other votes cast went to President Nixon, thus McCloskey technically finished in second place in the race for the Presidential nomination that year.

Anyway. Never did two more more vividly demonstrate the ‘broad church’ that is the American Republican Party. Or as I prefer to categorise it, the divide between those worth listening to, and those who should be flung into the outer darkness by some avenging angel.

Unless you are completely humourless, or a fundamentalist religious fanatic of some persuasion, have a long, hard look at this. It’s clever, funny, (in that delightfully witty way that the Europeans do so well), and it is strategically clever and brilliantly well executed.

I have spent some of my working life addressing so-called social advocacy issues, not to mention an active involvement (usually, although not exclusively, behind the scenes) in politics and current affairs. In that time, I have urged countless bureaucrats and politicians to treat the public with intellectual respect, and to use both humour and frankness to convey vital public health messages. Which is why I applaud this ad so much and desire it to have as wide as possible an audience.

I am not sure of its provenance, although given its length I suspect it is viral in nature, if you will forgive the obvious pun. Personally I would run it on mainstream TV in every country in the world.

Let’s just sanity check why this ad is so brilliant.

1) It’s set in a toilet. Why is that clever? Answer: it’s where many young people actually get access to condoms. It’s also (parents of teenagers cover your ears here) where many have their first sexual experience, and not always a protected sexual experience, despite the instant availability of condoms in the location. Once seen, this ad is highly memorable, and will be remembered by the audience at the point of impact, if you will again forgive the pun.

2) It is clearly aimed primarily at young men, who are the sex most likely to try to achieve sexual penetration without a condom. It sells them two messages – first, you are likely to get rejected without offering to wear a condom, (and how brilliantly it conveys the dejection caused by sexual rejection), and secondly the corollary to that message, ie you are more likely to get laid if you do.

In sending this message, it also empowers women to insist.

3) It is aimed at the heterosexual community, the great “unspoken about” marketplace for AIDS education in the western world in particular, and very relevant in Africa and Asia where heterosexual infections outnumber homosexual. In the West, there are a small but significant number of heterosexual infections that occur every year, savaging people’s mental health, their physical wellbeing, and their lives forever after.

As the recipients of penetration, whether vaginal or anal, it is women who are at risk more than men. In sending these messages, the ad is extremely socially responsible.

Young people are going to have sex whatever their elders and betters think. And no, condoms do not make sex “safe”. But they make it a hell of a lot safer.

So bravo, mes amis. And may this ad be seen far and wide, especially in the United States, where the number of unwanted pregnancies, and resulting abortions, are a public health scandal. Oh yes, did I mention that condoms can stop women getting pregnant? Sometimes from their very first, fumbling, uncertain moment of sexual intercourse? How often we forget that simple point.

I urge you to share this ad with your personal network.