As the lights go back on we will still remember them. Thinking of my Grandad who won the Military Medal for bravery in the field.
Last month I was a speaker at the 16th Annual Conference of the National HIV Nurses Association. The title of my presentation was, Late Diagnosis - the patient’s experience. Listening to one of the HIV nurses talking about stigma reminded me that it is not only us the patients who have to suffer from stigma but also the people who care for us and that includes our HIV nurses. I remember asking mine why she also had to remain ‘invisible’ and she told me it was to protect us and to protect our families. Because of having to hide and remain anonymous in this manner I feared she would never receive the true acclamation she deserved for all her vital work. HIV nurses play a key role in the lives of HIV positive patients, so on behalf of positive people all over the world all I would like to say a great big thank you.
It’s not only our HIV nurses and specialist doctors who play a huge role in our lives but also the scientists and researchers who will hopefully find the cure for this disease. Tragically many were wiped out in the Malaysian air crash. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude for the momentous goals they achieved before they met their premature deaths in such a shocking manner leaving us with such a devastating loss - a loss of some very great minds and a loss of hope for the future.
Downing of Malaysia Airlines: Effects on International HIV/AIDS Research According to The Richard M. Brodsky Foundation
The Richard M. Brodsky Foundation would like to issue the following statement with respect to the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. There were 100 AIDS researchers, activists, public policy advocates and visionary planners about finding the cure for AIDS on the doomed flight. Dr. Joel Lange, former President of the International AIDS Society, had a novel approach for finding the AIDS cure. He managed to convince the AIDS scientists that while AIDS is a medical disease, it is first and foremost a medical pandemic. His plea to researchers: share your research. It is not about who discovers the cure, but that the cure is discovered. Currently there are 1,600,000 people dying from AIDS every year while there are 2,300,000 new HIV cases every year according to the UN AIDS Report for 2013.
The tragedy of the MH17 airline crash not only extends to the loss of 298 humans lives, but to individuals across the globe. Among the flight's manifest were about 100 contributors that were planning to attend the 20th International AIDS conference in Melbourne, Australia. It's incredibly devastating as there was a loss of knowledge and experiences that could impact the progression of research. The annual conference is very different from traditional medical gatherings. There is a mixture of scientists, clinicians, human rights activists, patients & public health employees that come together in order to collaborate. These events have helped drive understanding and responses to HIV/AIDS in a short amount of time.
Dr. Joel Lange was a Dutch clinical researcher who focused on HIV therapy. He served as the former president of the International AIDS society. He was also the founding Chairman of PharmAccess Foundation, which advocates the improvement of access to HIV/AIDS therapy in developing countries. Dr. Lange played a very active & important role in HIV/AID research. In the mid-1990s, he advocated for the use of combination therapy in the management of HIV/AIDS. This was important as it reduces the development of drug resistance compared to monotherapy! He was an important advocate for providing affordable AIDS medications to African countries. "If we can get cold Coca-Cola and beer to every remote corner of Africa, it should not be impossible to do the same with drugs." Dr. Lange was a charismatic leader who promoted collaboration among doctors and researchers. Additionally, he helped promote the idea of HIV/AIDS being a medical pandemic and not a disease. It is not a question of who gets the glory for discovering the cure to HIV.
About the Richard M. Brodsky Foundation - The Brodsky Foundation's goal is to raise awareness that there are 15,100,000 AIDS orphans living in sub-Saharan Africa who have lost one or both parents to AIDS. A lack of doctors, medicine, affordable healthcare, education, clean drinking water & nutritious food combined with an abundance of poverty, hunger, malaria & tuberculosis is the reason why 2/3 of the people dying from AIDS are from sub-Saharan Africa.
Ibiza - Las Dalias, home of the famous hippy Mercado which was also home to all us hippies in those happy hippy days gone by, is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary. So many memories - I wish I was there right now but unfortunately I’m not, I’m stuck here in Blackburn, home of the ‘boozer’ i.e. pub and the Indian takeaway.
In order to cheer myself up I photo shopped myself in the famous garden of Las Dalias; you can travel anywhere in your mind with the power of visualisation. It works for many things including the HIV virus. Try it and see if you can shrink it (the virus!) in your mind/body to something tiny like a beautiful flower instead of the monster that it is. Flower Power! We shall overcome! etc.
For now, Namaste - "I bow to the divine in you."
This video made me laugh so I thought I would share it in case you also need cheering up.
Woofologies – Lady Doodles here. Pack Mistress send hers apologies but says she is too busy to write blogs because she’s far too busy writing woofin speeches. First there was the eulogy (can’t woof that) for her dear friend Erik. Even though she practised for days beforehand she still choked up apparently when addressing the assembled throngs in the crematorium and sounded like a croaking goat.
“Unaccustomed as I am to public peaking,” she began, tongue in cheek, “I’ve spoken at Blackburn Cathedral, on the sofa on ITV’s This Morning and even on News at Ten, but this is worse.”
Too right it was, everyone just thought she was blowing her own trumpet – she can’t play one of those either, hasn’t got enough breath from smoking too many rollies.
Now she’s working on her presentation for the Annual Conference of the National HIV Nurses Association in Cardiff City Hall, entitled ‘Late Diagnosis.’ She’s going to be late for that too if she doesn’t get a move on. She’s going tomorrow, I know because I heard her arranging for the dog sitter to pick me up.
She’s getting nervous now because there will be hundreds of people there and a great big screen like in the cinema. She keeps reading her dialogue out to practice her timings, so I know it woof by woof; she’s even added a picture of me and that stupid collie with a melon on its head with the caption, “Feeling melancholy - get a dog.”
Get a dog! She means get a dog like me, not any old dog - one who is a multi-tasker, who can chew sticks, toss shoes and write blogs at the same time. She should take me with her; say I’m her therapy dog. I may not be everyone’s idea of a therapy dog, because although I am half Labrador I’m less willing to please than that soppy lot. I’ve got a mind of my own and I like to do things in my own time. Pack mistress excuses me by saying, “Oh, it’s the poodle in her.”
She can talk, she does exactly what she pleases when she pleases since we’ve been living on our own and acting even more eccentric/mad than usual. Not only does she walk around spouting speeches, she’s started talking to the crockery. “When did you plates start getting so heavy?”she asks them - and worse still, singing to them, “You’re the one that I want.... oh oh oh.... the one I need, oh yes indeeeeeeed.”
She’s packing now and faffing over what to wear – I did offer her the shocking pink cowgirl hat I wore to Ebony’s birthday party, but she turned her nose up. Hope she doesn’t end up looking like a dog’s dinner, talking of which, it’s about woofin time she fed me. But she’s wandered off doing something else - must be the poodle in her!