Your Health & Happiness: WHO: “Learning by Doing” is key to achieving universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment
Rio de Janeiro – To achieve universal access to HIV
prevention and treatment, the scientific and public health community must
respond quickly to developments on the ground to narrow the gap between
discovery and intervention.
Dr Charlie Gilks, head of treatment, prevention and scale up
at the World Health Organization’s (WHO) HIV/AIDS Department, stressed the
need to “learn by doing” at the 3rd International AIDS Society Conference
on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment, a biennial scientific meeting, in Rio de
Janeiro, Brazil. Gilks stressed that the scientific community must be committed
to applying the results of scientific studies quickly to AIDS programmes while
they are being implemented.
The goal of achieving as close as possible to universal
access to HIV treatment by 2010 was recently endorsed by G8 leaders in
Gleneagles, Scotland at their annual meeting. Achieving this goal will require
a significant new investment of resources and effort in research, says Gilks,
who cited new formulations of HIV drugs for children and simpler tests to
diagnose and monitor patients as major research priorities for scaling up
treatment in resource-limited settings.
“The list of research questions is long,” said Gilks.
“But if we are going to achieve universal access, we will need to invest in
applied research and move new products and approaches quickly into the
Gilks remains confident that the scientific community can
meet this challenge, and that prospects for rewarding scientific work in the
field of HIV/AIDS have never been better. “We have the knowledge to answer
many of these questions,” he said. “In fact, I would argue that in no other
field are the opportunities to translate evidence into action so great as they
currently are in HIV/AIDS. Not only can researchers have direct impact on
policy and practice, they can reduce inequities by helping to make scientific
advances available more quickly to the millions of people who need
The Rio conference brings together leading AIDS researchers,
activists and policy makers to discuss recent advances in HIV/AIDS research and
ways of translating research findings into practice.
The WHO and UNAIDS strategy to ensure treatment for three
million people living with HIV/AIDS in low- and middle-income countries by the
end of 2005 (the “3 by 5”) has been a major catalyst for mobilizing support
and action and was an important first step towards the goal of universal
access. Access to antiretroviral treatment (ART) in developing countries has
expanded significantly. Since the initiative started in 2003, the number of
countries establishing national treatment targets has risen from four to 40,
and the number of countries that have developed national plans to scale up
antiretroviral treatment now numbers 34, up from only three. In the last 12
months, more than 50 countries have doubled the number of people who are on
treatment. The recent G8 endorsement of achieving as close as possible to
universal access to treatment by 2010 is seen as a major boost to continuing
Gilks emphasized the importance of research on HIV
prevention in addition to more effective ways to deliver treatment. “While we
work to keep people alive and healthy with the tools we have now, we also need
to ensure that future generations will have access to better prevention
technologies,” said Gilks, referring to the importance of vaccine and
For more information about WHO, please visit www.
The Doctor's Consultation:
- Is it a good idea?
by Dr. Iain Corness
The correct answer, in my book, to the question of DIY
monitoring of chronic conditions is a qualified ‘Yes’ but with the proviso
that it should be done in conjunction with the medical attendant who is
looking after you for that condition.
I am not backing all the horses in the race with the above
statement, but since your doctor has been trained in the treatment of chronic
ailments, and is treating your particular one, it makes good sense to monitor,
but with the doctor’s assistance and directives.
A good example of where the patient can assist in their own
treatment by self-monitoring, is in Diabetes. Blood sugar (glucose) levels can
vary enormously over the span of one day, and sometimes it is very difficult
for the doctor to gage just “how much” medication to give, to keep the
blood sugar within acceptable limits for the entire 24 hours. A few readings,
before and after meals can certainly make life easier for the prescribing
doctor, and make life better for the person suffering from diabetes.
With electronic everythings these days, electronic blood
glucose monitors are fairly common on the shelves of the better pharmacies, so
it is quite simple to become your own blood technician.
First: Keep a Log Book. Keep a record of your blood sugar
values in a log book or diary, which should show dates, times, sugar levels
and relationship to meals.
To get an accurate blood sugar result, you need to make
sure that the meter is clean; the meter has the correct code that matches the
strip you are using; you have a clean finger and you have collected a good-
sized drop of blood.
To get a good blood sample, before pricking your finger,
wash your hands with warm water, shake your hands below your waist, use the
lancet to the sides of the tip of the finger, then gently squeeze or milk your
finger a few times.
Generally, the best times to check are before breakfast,
before lunch, before dinner and before bedtime snack. Sometimes it is useful
to check blood sugar two hours after a meal to see the effect of the food on
your blood sugar levels.
Remember that the routine that you select may have to be
changed during periods of stress, illness, or surgery, if you become pregnant,
if low blood sugar is suspected or when there are changes made to your
treatment program, such as a change in medication, dosage, meal plan or
At those times it is also of value to carry out testing
your urinary ketones, which is done by the old dipstick method in freshly
passed urine. Ketoacidosis, which can occur with high sugar levels should be
dealt with promptly.
The other important blood sugar test is Glycated
Haemoglobin (HbA1c). While your home monitoring gives a reasonable indication
of how you are doing at that moment, the HbA1c, gives your doctor a picture of
how well controlled you have been over the past three months, but this is a
lab test, not a home monitor.
Each individual has his/her own target range. This depends
upon many factors, including your age, your type of Diabetes and how long you
have been a diabetic. This is where your doctor will guide you as to what
levels you should be attempting to maintain.
A rough guide would be: HbA1c(%) between 4.5-6.5, and blood
sugars (fasting or pre-breakfast) of around 80-120 mg/dL, but it is something
about which your doctor will give you a much better indication.
I am trying to buy a second-hand car. I don’t have
much to spend, but I want a good one. I have trudged in and out of so many
car sales outlets, I am starting to get depressed. The sales people
don’t want to talk to me and none of them seem to be able to speak
English. Don’t they want to shift the vehicles in their forecourts? Have
you any foolproof way to make sure I don’t buy a lemon?
What you need is obviously some “lemon aid”, my Petal, but what do you
think I am running here, girl? A used car lot? A car buying service, or
what? In your defense, I must admit that when reading the outpourings from
the hearts of many of my letter writers, they have definitely been
‘used’, so I will excuse you. So you want the sales people to speak
English to you - would you please repeat after me, “The Country I Live
In Is Called Thailand”. Amazingly, the locals speak Thai as well. Now,
to avoid the lemons, buy oranges. More expensive, but leave a sweeter
taste in the mouth afterwards. There’s plenty at the local markets. To
be honest, the best way is to save up the deposit and buy a new one if you
must have a car. With interest rates around three percent, anyone can
afford one (other than me, as I spend my allowance on champagne and
There has been a crackdown recently over copy goods -
CD’s, golf shirts and watches and the like. Why is this? Everyone knows
that you go to Asia and buy real bargains. I always bring back with me
three or four watches for the girl friends and a couple of footy shirts
for the blokes down the pub. What’s wrong with this. If I can’t get
the stuff in Thailand, do you know where I can get them? I’m coming over
in a couple of weeks, so if you can let me know early that would be good.
Dear Copy Kid,
Put the boot on the other foot. Imagine you are the manufacturer of a high
quality “name brand” item. How would you feel if you found that cheap
copies were being marketed at half the price you sell them for? They look
like yours, but the quality is not the same. Mind you, I think that many
of these overseas goods are highly over-priced too, especially when they
are made in low-cost manufacturing countries like China, for example.
Having said all that, copy goods are still available at the local markets,
but don’t tell the police where. Unless the officers are running the
How do you work out what size shirts you are supposed
to buy in this country? In the UK I am a Medium (M) but over here the shop
girls all say I am XL. So I believed her and got three shirts at the
markets, all with XL tickets, but only two of them fitted, the third was
miles too big. When I went back the little shop wasn’t there any longer,
so I am left with this big shirt. What’s your suggestion, Hillary?
Just a crazy thought, but have you ever tried just holding the shirts up
against your body, before parting with the cash? Seems fairly obvious to
me, Petal. So the shop’s done a midnight flit, give the large one to a
large friend, or wait till you grow into it yourself. Most farang males
seem to get bigger as they get older. It’s something to do with the
refreshment they drink. By the way, it wasn’t copy shirts you were
buying, was it?
This is what happens to single males in this town. I
was sitting on my own in the bar and I didn’t want to listen to the
usual inane chatter that the bar girls think is inviting, “Hello sexy
man. Where you come from?” that kind of stuff. Giving the girls the cold
shoulder, I started to talk to the service lady and she seemed a nice
enough woman, so I bought her a couple of drinks, but then went home
(alone). The next day I was so embarrassed because she arrived at the
office with a container of food for my lunch, as I had told her that I had
to get my own food because I haven’t got a maid or a steady or anything
like that. What do I do now ? The last thing I need is unwanted visits at
work and polystyrene boxes of food.
Dear Office Johnny,
How did this girl know where you worked? If she is clairvoyant, then I
think you should keep her, my Petal, and cash up on all the winning
lottery tickets she will predict for you. But if, on the other had, it was
because you gave her your business card, then you have nobody to blame but
yourself. If you don’t want to be followed up, don’t hand out your
business cards. Of course you can always use someone else’s card (like
Camera Class: How to give your portraits a knock-out punch
by Harry Flashman
This week’s column is designed to make you look critically
at your photos and see how to get some ‘punch’ into your portraits, in
particular. Remember that the most common subjects in front of camera lenses are
people, and yet for many photographers, the results of picture taking of loved
ones, pretty girls or even one’s own family members can be disappointingly
a look at the four pictures of people I have included this week and you will
immediately see a common theme that runs through them all - these portraits fill
the frame. There is no doubting who is the ‘hero’ in these shots.
Now let’s look at them and dissect what gives them that
punch. It certainly is not eye contact, with the women, one does have eye
contact, the other has her eyes closed. With these two photos, the common factor
is that their faces fill the frame to almost overflowing. There is nothing else
in shot. You are looking at a close-up portrait.
the two photos of the men, you are again left in no doubt as to who is the hero.
One shot has the frame filled with the sitter, the other shot, which has more
dynamism, captures the man having filled his plate at the buffet, and his
anticipation of eating it was caught on film. While there is another person in
shot, she is very much a background item and that is all. Once more you are
looking at a close-up portrait.
To immediately improve your shots, firstly walk up closer to
the subject, but use a portrait lens (about 135 mm) if you have one, or use the
‘telephoto’ position if you are using a compact point and shooter.
best technique is to look through the viewfinder (or at the digital screen) and
physically walk in closer until the portrait begins to fill the frame to
overflowing, if it is a straight glamour shot. Mentioning ‘straight’ reminds
me, try to get the subject to stand at an angle to the camera, and not straight
on. You are making a pleasing portrait, not a head shot for a passport!
The other factor to make sure you get that satisfying shot is
to take a few frames. Not just one or two, but several. With flash photography,
many people will close their eyes at the wrong moment, but you should get one
that is usable out of every 12 shots. Remember to try a few portraits in the
‘landscape’ (horizontal) format too. Sometimes the different framing adds
interest to the shot. This is something you should get used to doing with all
shots, not just portraits.
that I did not mention lighting in this article. You can use shadow to emphasize
shape and form, but three of these shots were taken with a simple on-camera
However, you will find that your people shots will improve as soon as you
move in closer and fill the frame to overflowing. Try it this weekend.
Dogs - Man’s best friend:
Companion and Toy breeds (group 9)
All around the world dogs are kept for entertainment,
their warmth and especially their companionship, something that is central
to our relationship with them in present times. It is as if they can
understand our emotions.
King Charles Spaniel, famous for its friendliness.
Companion dogs consist generally of the smaller breeds,
of which all have their ancestors in the other breed groups, although most
were never used as working dogs. Well-known examples in Thailand are:
Miniature and Toy Poodle, Maltese, Pekingese, Chihuahua, (Cavalier) King
Charles Spaniel, Shih Tzu, French Bulldog and the Pug.
Their sizes became so small as a result of dwarfism,
through selective breeding or both. Dwarfism occurred naturally in primitive
dogs. And probably for their odd looks, such as their relatively big domed
heads with big eyes and short-legs, they were kept as pets.
Companion dogs date back over 2,000 years on old Chinese
paintings. Some of these breeds assumed an elite role such as the Pekingese
in the Chinese Royal Court, the Japanese Chin of the Japanese Aristocrats
and the King Charles and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels of the English Royal
As most were solely bred for their companionship with
humans, their characters should be easy-going and friendly. They should get
along with adults and children as well as with other animals. And generally
they do. They are soft little playful creatures. Nevertheless, very
sensitive and sometimes fearful characters also exist. This together with
often a lack of proper education, also something these little animals need,
and misunderstanding of dog language on the part of their owners (many are
treated more as children than as dogs), these little dogs can quickly turn
into shaky, fearful, snappy creatures. Also over attachment occurs
regularly, which can lead to anxiety problems when left alone. Many of the
breeds are quite alert in their environment, barking at visitors and
For more information on dog issues, dog and cat boarding, training or
behavior please contact LuckyDogs: 09 99 78 146 or www.luckydogs.info
Money Matters: False profits?
MBMG International Ltd.
From last week: Cobus realized that one of 4
situations can happen:
- Dividend Yields can be above the net mean and can actually still be
- They can be above the mean, but be falling
- They can be below the mean but rising
- They can be below the mean but falling
Grouped this way performance data for these periods is
very consistent: as you’d probably expect below average and rising or
above average and falling are the most common scenarios (just under 60% of
the time since 1946 and just over that since 1972). Also, as you’d expect,
when the yield starts to fall (whether from above average or below average)
returns are negative, volatility is high and the Sharpe ratio (risk/reward
co-efficient) turns very ugly.
Is this coincidence? Dividend yields are driven by
the expectations of the people running the businesses as to the future
performances of those businesses in relation to the amount of capital
employed (the stock price multiplied by the number of stocks). If the
business prospects can’t keep pace with the stock price, the yield will
fall. If there is a lot of fat in the business it will fall from a higher
level. If it falls from a low level, then we’re in a nightmare scenario,
indicating that the stocks might be overpriced, the future performance of
the business might be none too clever and confidence may be turning
increasingly negative. We’ve just moved into that pattern now and could be
expected to remain there for up to 3 years.
The fact that we have just entered this phase should be
seen as extremely negative and a cause for real concern -
“Distribution IV generates a consistently negative
Sharpe ratio, suggesting that risk taken in this conditional distribution
has historically been uncompensated by return in excess of the risk-free
Another indication is stock activity by business owners
and SEC filings by connected persons show that those in the know are dumping
stock at the fastest rate for 4 years, although that is more of a short term
and less of a structural indicator than the one above.
Finally, technical analysts looking at the 200 day moving
average trends are seeing indications that stocks are looking ugly and bonds
are looking set for a reversal. Again technical indicators are notoriously
unreliable in certain conditions but technicals, fundamentals and strong
co-incidentals all point towards a big stock move down and a bond market
rally. However you look at it, this does not look like an ideal time to be
in the S&P 500.
We currently face an extremely dangerous juncture in
world economic events as evidenced by the release of the US Federal
Reserve’s last policy meeting and news of the record trade deficit in
February. The minutes cited the Central Bank’s growing concerns about
inflation, but downplayed the need for a faster pace of monetary tightening.
The minutes also revealed that several members had become
less certain about their previous benign outlook for US inflation; while
some said that the Fed’s pledge of a “measured pace” of rate increases
should be dropped.
What is our view of the Fed minutes? Most mainstream
economists have been fretting about the word “measured” for months. The
minutes clearly state that they were considering dropping the word, yet
there was no real reaction. These economists must have forgotten about last
months’ issues? Our fundamental view remains that the worsening of the
structural imbalances in the world’s largest economy and its growing need
for daily capital will erupt at some point.
As we recently touched on in our criticisms of the
Fed’s plans to allow the US$ to drift further down (copying an economic
blueprint from Ireland, Israel and Greece), a weaker US$ is only part of the
problem and the bigger issue is that domestic consumer spending/debt needs
to be addressed.
The interest rate increases by the Fed are a step in
right direction in this regard, but the extent of the leverage within the
system means that using higher rates to control the supply of new money will
merely cause major problems with imbalances elsewhere in the system. The
danger is that the dam will spring leaks and every time one gets covered, 2
more will appear.
You can’t simply turn on and turn off inflation like a
switch; over time the pressures build up, inventories become habitual, usage
patterns become established so even a recession doesn’t necessarily dampen
prices immediately, especially in a high risk environment when paper
currencies and intangible assets are locked in a depressionary spiral.
Commodity prices can carry on rising long after the onset
of a recession and this stagflation has been evidenced many times over the
years and spiralling tangible assets and collapsing paper ones should be
familiar to any students of the Great Recession.
We’re advisors and planners, not economists - we take the view that you
don’t have to be right; just take the right investment action for whatever
actually transpires - the scenarios could play out in a whole host of
different ways right now (Heck, Saul could even be right, though we’re
sceptical about Goldilocks) but the balance of probabilities is so unclear
that making a call one way or another is very dangerous right now. We
don’t see an economic happy ending to all of this, but we’re keeping our
options open. An optimal portfolio now is one predicated around a very big
‘what if’ factor.
The above data and research was compiled from sources
believed to be reliable. However, neither MBMG International Ltd nor its
officers can accept any liability for any errors or omissions in the above
article nor bear any responsibility for any losses achieved as a result of
any actions taken or not taken as a consequence of reading the above
article. For more information please contact Alan Hall on
Life in the Laugh Lane: Match dot comedy (Chapter Three)
by Scott Jones
the final chapter of Great Expectations and Match dot com, an international
online dating website. You can read the first two chapters at
www.chiangmai-mail.com or I’ll trade you the back issues for a few good
Match dot Don’tGiveUp Numbers Four, Five and Six bring
their girlfriends to our meetings since they can’t or won’t speak English.
I am immediately more interested in the girlfriends who I talk with and about
my Match dot date, gesturing in her general direction while we all smile
vacantly. Being addicted to oral communication, it’s incomprehensible to me
how these couples I watch in Thailand can exist in silence. They eat together
in stillness like two shadows in a library but without books. No conversation.
No contact. Nothing. Methuselah sits stoically with his great-granddaughter who
gazes off wishing she were on a swing set back at the playground thinking,
“At least he has a wallet and may actually bite the dust before finishing
dinner.” I love silence, but not as the only entr้e on the menu.
Match dot OkayOneMoreTime introduces me to my personal
concept of Hell on Earth. She owns a tiny karaoke bar/restaurant right in the
middle of a large cluster of tiny karaoke bar/restaurants on both sides of the
street. Riding down the block is like slogging through bad radio stations with
the volume stuck on Shrill. Being a performer/album producer, my music
standards are rather high, though it’s fun to watch people joyfully destroy
songs with their whooping and honking.
I sit at one of the four tables, in front of a video screen
and a desk. Just to make sure the entire neighborhood can hear that her singers
are the worst in Chiang Mai, she has speakers The Rolling Stones would be proud
to own, normally used in soccer stadiums or to project messages to other
planets. My ear drums are melting. My chest vibrates rhythmically as my ribs
begin to separate. I love good loud sounds, but these are penultrasonic, the
ones heard just before death, but death doesn’t come to save you.
She speaks to me every fifteen minutes like clockwork to
determine if I need another Coke. I can see her lips move. (I imagine we’d
soon be the same when her drums become lumps of callous and she can’t hear
me, either.) This is how I now imagine Hell but without the flames. I scrape my
ear drums off the table as she says goodnight. I can see her hand wave. Later
that week, I can finally hear tuk-tuks again.
These days I’m done with Match dot com and still SINGLE,
which stands for So I Never Get Lucky, Ever.
If you have a credit card, it’s a snap to join Match dot com, but after a
couple of matchless dot com years, it’s a challenge to quit. I was required
to resign in person at their home office in Plano on the plains of Texas
between 2 to 3 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month with a note from my
mother. They finally accepted my resignation from the other side of the world
after 2,379 progressively vehement, unanswered emails to any @ sign on their
website, pressure from the credit card company and my mention of a burly
Mexican visiting their office with a flame-thrower.