Wearing red on Dec. 1 World AIDS Day

GlobeMed at Northwestern encourages everyone to recognize World AIDS Day this coming Wednesday, December 1.

In America, someone is diagnosed with AIDS every 10 minutes. In South Africa, someone dies due to HIV or AIDS every 10 minutes. HIV/AIDS is often described as a disease of developing countries, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at the end of 2006, there were 1.1 million HIV positive adults and adolescents in the US.

In neighboring Chicago,

  • In 2006, there were 21, 367 people living with HIV/AIDS in Chicago.
  • In 2006, there were 754 new diagnosed AIDS cases in Chicago and 1,557 HIV cases.
  • Among news diagnoses, 74% were male and 26% were female.
  • Overall infection rates have declined by 20% in the last six years, but the rate among adolescents age 15-24 has increased by 42%.

(All statistics are from the Chicago Department of Public Health, STD/HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, Summer 2008.)

So here are 5 things you can do to commemorate World AIDS Day

  1. Find out the facts about HIV and talk to your friends, family, and colleagues about HIV — make sure they know the reality, not the myths.
  2. Know your HIV status: get tested if you have put yourself at risk.
  3. Talk to all new sexual partners about using condoms. Using a condom during sex (especially vaginal or anal sex) is the best way to protect yourself and your partner from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
  4. If someone tells you they are HIV positive, treat them with respect and don’t tell others without their agreement.
  5. Wear a red ribbon as a symbol of your support for everyone affected by HIV, and to raise awareness. The red ribbon has been an international symbol of AIDS awareness since 1991. It has been worn as a sign of support for people living with HIV. Wearing a red ribbon for World AIDS Day is a simple and powerful way to show support and challenge the stigma and prejudice surrounding HIV and AIDS that prevents us from tackling HIV. –KATIE SMILEY

Getting excited for 2010-2011…


This past year, GlobeMed at Northwestern (along with the rest of the GlolbeMed network) increased campus awareness for global health issues and fundraised thousands of dollars for the H.O.P.E. Centre in Ho, Ghana. Though the 2010-2011 school year begins in a few weeks at Northwestern, GlobeMed at Northwestern has been hard at work planning events and programming to further GlobeMed’s goals this coming school year. Least to say, get really excited for 2010-2011…

Updated: Giving credit where credit’s due: Amy Yang of GlobeMed at University of Michigan created the fantastic video above. Thanks to Laura for letting us know!

Powerful insight

Photo courtesy of Allyson Westling / GlobeMed at Northwestern.

Nurse Beauty gives a lecture on healthy eating practices to mothers who came for the monthly child welfare clinic. Photo courtesy of Allyson Westling / GlobeMed at Northwestern.

Photo courtesy of Allyson Westling / GlobeMed at Northwestern.

A busy day at the H.O.P.E. Center. Photo courtesy of Allyson Westling / GlobeMed at Northwestern.

Last week, we had the opportunity to have a meeting with a visiting physician from Ethiopia. He has had extensive experience in public health, spending a number of years working in a refugee camp. He also has a wide knowledge of the Volta region and a thorough understanding of the challenges faced by the communities serviced by the H.O.P.E. Center.

Our time talking with him provided us with deep global health insight as well as exciting avenues to take the Center’s outreach programs. For instance, he recommended more efficient ways to train peer educators for the sexual health program. There has recently been a lot of interest among church groups in the area for nurses to give lectures at their facilities. While this is great, it adds an additional work burden on the Center’s staff. Instead, this doctor recommended that we train a few peer educators within the church, who can then train others in their organization. This makes the program more sustainable in that it reduces the work burden on the nurses (who can now become the overseers of the program instead of the ones running the entire show). It also eliminates the need to keep retraining peer educators every year (a problem currently faced in the schools where the sexual health program is running). These principles can be extended to the childhood nutrition program as well: we will need to place more emphasis on making the program sustainable in the communities through peer education and personal farming tactics.

Our discussion provided us with a lot of valuable insight and great ideas to advance this partnership moving forward. The coming weeks will keep us busy working out a concrete partner agreement with the Ghana Health Services, outlining a strategic “5-year plan” for many of the Center’s activities, and developing new ways to advance outreach programs. We all came away from the meeting encouraged, inspired and committed to making our remaining time in Ghana the best that it can be!

Photo courtesy of Allyson Westling / GlobeMed at Northwestern.

Allyson and Joey at the beach in Cape Coast (before Allyson got pushed over by a monster wave!) Photo courtesy of Allyson Westling / GlobeMed at Northwestern.