H.I.V. Anomalously High in the South

In recent years H.I.V. has begun to take a disproportionate toll on the southern U.S., including rural areas. What explains the disturbing numbers, and what can be done about them?

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While New York and California remain the states most damaged by H.I.V., the southern United States share a surprisingly high burden. Two reasons infection rates have increased in the South, despite what we know today about transmission and prevention, are that individuals delay testing and seek medical attention only in late stages of the disease. "One reason seems to be the strong stigma in the South attached to HIV infection and AIDS, an attitude that is reinforced by many cultural and religious attitudes against homosexuality."

What's the Big Idea?

Another cause of H.I.V. transmission is higher poverty rates in the south as lack of funds delay testing and treatment. "Money cannot cure all the obstacles to improving the HIV picture in the South, but it could certainly help." And while Medicare is facing budget cuts at the federal level, some States are beginning to innovate: "South Carolina has an H.I.V. education program that aims to reduce stigma by reaching out to churches and ministers. Arkansas, for the first time, has allotted funds to test the feasibility of offering routine H.I.V. screening to the general population."

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to good health and well-being

Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.

Image courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
  • As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
  • If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
  • Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
  • By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
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22 months of war - condensed in a 1-minute video

No, the Syrian civil war is not over. But it might be soon. Time for a recap

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  • The War in Syria has dropped off the radar, but it's not over (yet)
  • This 1-minute video shows how the fronts have moved – and stabilised – over the past 22 months
  • Watching this video may leave you both better informed, and slightly queasy: does war need a generic rock soundtrack?
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Bespoke suicide pods now available for death in style

Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.

The Sarco assisted suicide pod
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Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco! 

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How to bring more confidence to your conversations

Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.

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  • To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
  • Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
  • There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
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