Common Constraints To Volunteerism

The world isn’t always a nice place to live in but we can’t deny it is the only habitable planet in the universe where mankind can basically survive. Simply living isn’t an easy task anymore because many actually can’t afford a place of their own and essentially live in the street and rely on the generosity of others to sustain their needs. It’s the harsh reality of life but millions are living as homeless in various parts of the globe and it keeps on growing as the requirements for daily living isn’t that easy anymore.

While those living in poverty continue to grow, what can the rest of the world do to uplift their lives and brighten up their days even just once? The answer lies with volunteerism. People who are generous with their time and money enjoy supporting and volunteering in civic groups and NGOs that directly work with the poor and the homeless and those who deserve to receive help from the affluent. Unfortunately, not all the time these people are always rich and they do lead normal lives, which means they also have jobs that need their time and attention.

More than half of people who do not volunteer say that work commitments are the main reason they have never helped a charity, according to data from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

Further information released this week from last month’s Community Life Survey 2016/17 reveals that 52 per cent of people who had never formally volunteered said work commitments prevented them from doing so.

The Community Life Survey is an annual survey of adults aged 16 or over about their levels of community cohesion and engagement.

This year’s survey found that the proportion of people who said they volunteered fell over the past three years.


The number of people that volunteer in good causes has dropped because aside from work and family obligations, they have multiple preoccupations now that mostly involve technology. A lot of adults and teens spend a great deal of their time daily surfing their news feed and updating their social media accounts that they have little time left to spare for other causes like volunteerism and charity.

Ronald Lovell heard about the number of people in Shasta County failing to answer their summons for jury duty.

Frustrated that this is so common, he decided to volunteer his service.

“Someone who’s committed a heinous crime walking free simply because people didn’t show up for jury duty, that’s not acceptable,” Lovell said. “You’re turning this person loose to do this again and you’re making a mockery of the justice system.”

He wanted people to think about if it were their family member that was targeted by the criminal that was then set free because of a dismissal. 

Lovell said jury duty is “the last real grip where we’re effective in what takes place in our government.”


More people even avoid doing common voluntary activities like jury duties. They come up with all sorts of excuses even if they were already summoned by the court. Now, what more on other voluntary civic causes that they aren’t exactly required to participate in? Most people would rather stay at home and surf the web to their heart’s content or hang out with their friends. Those who are already into volunteerism are continually trying to raise awareness on the impact of volunteer work to society especially in the lives of the less fortunate.

The government can’t always address all the issues happening around us 24/7. At times, we have to pitch in and do our part in making a positive difference to society and not just complain all the time about the state’s inefficiencies. You’d be surprised at how volunteering a few hours of your time can uplift a person’s life or even an entire community. That’s the power of extending a helping hand – random acts of kindness that perpetuate the goodness in humanity over and over again.

Common Constraints To Volunteerism See more on:


How Religion Sparks Terrorism

People are both sensitive and passionate about their faith. And the most apparent way of professing your faith is through your religion. Various organized religions abound the world today. Even in ancient times, people have professed different faiths and fought for it to the ends, especially when their religion or faith is threatened. And nothing much has changed if you look at how things are lately. Even though technology has taken over the world and we can say we are centuries ahead of the barbaric ways of our ancestors, religious terrorism remains to be an existing threat that we all face.

The rise of nationalism sparked religious terrorism and terrorist activities motivated by religion have risen significantly since the 1980s. Even during biblical times, violence and religion had a symbiotic relationship. Terrifying acts motivated by religion, justified by religious beliefs, or influenced by religious organizations is the very essence of religious terrorism. Today, current geopolitics forces are likewise closely linked with acts of religious terrorism.

Two horrific suicide bombings, in two different cities, two hours apart—this is how Egyptian Christians began Holy Week. 

In the cities of Tawra and Alexandria, Muslim terrorists stormed Coptic churches where they proceeded to blow themselves to a fine pink mist while taking 44 worshippers with them. These two attacks followed last December’s horrific suicide bombing at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Cairo that killed 29. 

Does Egypt have a problem with Islamic violence? Not according to Egypt’s most prominent clergyman, Dr. Ahmed al-Tayeb, who holds the prestigious title of Grand Imam of al-Azhar. At a conference in Cairo last month, al-Tayeb said that the incidence of Muslim violence around the world is rather unremarkable: “There is an obvious double standard in the world’s judgment of Islam on the one hand, and [its judgment of] Christianity and Judaism on the other, despite the fact that all are guilty of one and the same thing, that is, religious violence and terrorism.” 

The point al-Tayeb is trying to make is pretty straightforward: that people are quick to chide Muslims for terrorism when in fact the terror problem cuts across religious lines. Clearly all of this talk about terrorism must be a cloak for bigotry. If people were truly concerned with eradicating terrorism they would condemn it wherever it’s found. The fact that they don’t exposes their hypocrisy. 


Throughout history, revolutionary groups or terrorists with religious and political motivations perform various acts of martyrdom, self-sacrifice and suicide terrorism to trigger panic or mass hysteria and destabilize the government or sow seeds of fear in society and the people. Terrorist suicide attacks are inexpensive yet efficient ways of causing damage and sending the message aside from being highly difficult to counter.

US President Donald Trump has said that terrorism is one of the gravest threats to religious freedom around the world and hoped for a “better tomorrow” when people of all faiths, including Hindus, can worship according to their conscience.

In his weekly radio and web address, he said the US has cherished the freedom of worship “from the very beginning”.

“That is the promise the first settlers saw in our vast continent — and it is the promise that our bravest warriors have protected for all of our citizens in centuries since, a long time ago,” he said on Friday.

“Sadly, many around the globe do not enjoy this freedom — and one of the gravest threats to religious freedom remains the threat of terror,” he said.

On Palm Sunday, as Christians around the world celebrated the beginning of the Holy Week, IS killed 45 people and injured over 100 at two Christian churches in Egypt, he said.

“We condemn this barbaric attack. We mourn for those who lost loved ones. And we pray for the strength and wisdom to achieve a better tomorrow — one where good people of all faiths, Christians and Muslims and Jewish and Hindu, can follow their hearts and worship according to their conscience,” Mr. Trump said.


One of the reasons why Donald Trump ran for office is because he is worried about the state of the nation and the constant terrorist threats all Americans have to deal with for a while now. He felt that the previous administrations weren’t doing enough measures to prevent these terrorists from gaining access into the country and endangering the lives of millions of Americans.

His campaign of making America great again aims to address the issues of religious terrorism among others; something that he felt weren’t given enough focus in the past. He is a true patriot by heart and only does the things that he feels is for the good of America regardless of what the outsiders may say. And for him, religious terrorism is a threat that he doesn’t take lightly because he’ll never risk the safety and security of every American, regardless if they voted for him or not.

The following blog article How Religion Sparks Terrorism Read more on: TCR Blog


Africans Deprived Of The Chance To Learn

Education is the key to the good life. It’s common knowledge that educated people have better chances in life. They can land better jobs than those without bachelor degrees and can definitely go up the corporate ladder. And since quality education opens doors to various opportunities, parents do their best to send their kids to good schools for their brighter future.

Our cognitive superiority as humans is what separates us from all the other species on earth. However, not everyone is given the chance to better themselves because you need to invest a lot of money before you can get that coveted college diploma that will be your ticket to living a stable and comfortable life. Not everyone gets the chance to study in struggling third-world countries. How can they pay for expensive tuition fees when they can barely afford basic life necessities like food, shelter, and clothing? Even the government can’t afford to subsidize the youth’s education, making it hard for the poor to uplift their lives.

The Global Education Monitoring Report notes that donor countries are placing a lower priority on education aid, creating an annual $39 billion financing gap between 2015 and 2030. As allocations for health and humanitarian relief increased globally due to the refugee and migration crisis in Europe, aid to education stood at $12 billion in 2015, 4% below the 2010 levels.

This shortfall is specifically affecting countries most in need—worsening the prospects for achieving global education goals. The situation is especially critical in sub-Saharan Africa, where the countries most in need are located, and which also has over half of the world’s out-of-school children.


Africa is a rich country in terms of natural resources but is one of the poorest places on earth. It’s quite an irony, right. When you hear the word, Africa, you often think of famine, poverty, and conflicts. Even the wilderness is fast disappearing because the Africans aren’t educated enough to protect their natural resources and they can’t count on a corrupt government to fight for their rights.

In the next two decades, Africa must become capable of negotiating a global economy increasingly driven by technological advances and new trading relationships. Much of Africa’s economic performance flows from resource-rich industries that are hardly models of sustainability. Rather than relying on its natural resources, Africa must accept that the most important factor in its future success – as it is for all economies, developed or not – is education.

Education is now the best predictor of wealth creation worldwide, and in the coming decades that pattern will only intensify, as economic productivity becomes increasingly focused on innovation, technology, specialisation, and creativity. Many types of jobs will also be automated in the coming years, and this will change Africa’s labour market – partly because many industrial jobs in Africa consist of tasks that could in theory be replicated by new technologies. Countries must think about creating or promoting sectors with jobs that are high in ‘soft-skills’ and creativity if they want to be competitive globally in the decades to come. Without investment in educational standards, Africa will be left behind.

That would be a tragedy for the continent’s greatest resource – its young people. 


The only disadvantage of Africans is that they lack the resource to produce globally competitive citizens. The African youth are not oblivious of all the technological advancements that their foreign counterparts get to take for granted. With the right tools, they can change the image of their continent and gradually address the chronic issues that are crippling their society and lives.

Most African families can barely eat, so sending kids to school is quite impossible given their current situation. Aside from the basic necessities, it is the one thing they need the most. If only their resources are managed right and they don’t get looted by corrupt officials and other countries of the richness of their land, educating the African youth won’t be a problem at all. Only then can they truly change African life for the better.

Africans Deprived Of The Chance To Learn is republished from


Why Solo Travel Is Good For Your Soul

Traveling is fast becoming a fast favorite hobby for many as technology made it easier for everyone to travel to far-away places even on a budget or by themselves. With the help of the World Wide Web, you can have access to relevant travel information you never had in the past with the usual pen and paper communication. The Internet has solved most of your travel issues and all you need to do is book that flight and get on that plane for the adventure of a lifetime.

Nothing can be more exciting and exhilarating than going somewhere far by yourself and having the time of your life with complete strangers who may soon become friends. Whenever possible, travel to somewhere new every chance you get while you’re still young because it’ll be more difficult and financially challenging to bring your entire brood together to far away and exotic places once you have a family of your own.

While a solo trip is something I have wanted to do for a long time, the closest I had gotten, before this spring break, was traveling with friends to a new city and spending one day alone.

From the disapproving questions of Uber drivers to the silent but incredulous looks I received from some friends and family, I have come to the conclusion that I need to defend traveling alone as a mode of vacation. And maybe in the process, I will convince others to embark on their own solo trips.

The most obvious benefit of traveling alone is that you do exactly what you want to do whenever you want. Eating at atypical times, visiting bizarrely specific exhibitions for hours and walking to the point of exhaustion without hearing any complaints are all possible. Of course, you can travel with people who have similar interests, but setting the entire itinerary on what you want and how you feel is a new level of freedom.


You are free to do whatever you want when traveling solo and you no longer have to think about the comfort and opinion of a travel buddy. You go with the flow and completely immerse yourself in the new experience. And more and more Americans do just that, totally changing the travel and tourism landscape.

Solo travelers know every journey encompasses a world of emotions, from exhilaration and liberation to fear and loneliness. Being out in the world without companionship allows us to connect more deeply to the type of traveler we want to be, on our own terms and timeline.

More of us than ever are venturing out alone, in the U.S. and internationally. A recent study conducted by accommodation powerhouse finds one in five U.S. travelers plan to travel solo for the first time in 2017 and tour operators worldwide are reporting a solo surge. Global leader Intrepid Travel has seen a 40% increase over the past five years, with 50% of clients currently traveling alone.

While going solo may not suit everyone, experts agree every avid traveler should try once. “Undertaking a new travel experience for the first-time, whether that’s visiting a new place or traveling solo, can be a fruitful, life enhancing and even life changing experience,” says’s chief marketing officer Pepijn Rijvers, citing findings illustrating while traveling solo can be perceived as daunting, two-thirds of those surveyed (66%) feel it is worth it and three in five (61%) believe initial anxiety was unnecessary.


You not only get to visit a new country, immerse in the culture and meet new people but learn more about yourself as well. You discover what you are truly capable of when you have nobody else to rely on to make decisions for you and you also realize what you can overcome by going out of your comfort zone. Traveling solo has its ups and downs but it is still something you need to experience at least once in your lifetime and find out for yourself just how cool and refreshing it is to see other places without anyone you know by your side.

There are quite a few perks to traveling alone that may surprise you. While many may shun the idea, there are actually a number of benefits. Solus sabbaticals are an excellent way to replenish, while providing the ability to do so at one’s own pace.

These solitary furloughs serve as a fantastic means to engage in meaningful connections with individuals in other cultures, as well as make for some amazing adventures. Additionally, they remove the hassle of having to select activities and/or divide time between requested group outings.

Here are four more advantages to traveling solo:

  1. Time to Replenish

For introverts in particular, the idea of solo time to refuel is most appealing. Even for extroverts, individual journeys can offer a wide range of refreshing advantages.  Traveling alone is ideal for calming, reflective activities. It is perfect for prayer, meditation, or other tranquil, reflective intervals that help quiet the spirit and soothe the soul.

  1. Time Is in Your Hand

One of the best parts about one-person missions is that you get to enjoy your entire vacation on your own terms. There’s no deciding what to do or any long, drawn out discussions regarding being somewhere at a set time needed. 

  1. Connect With the Local Culture

Delight in the opportunity to immerse yourself freely into the local culture. Hire a personal driver and visit local hangouts and hot spots. Connect with the natives by engaging in purposeful conversation over a meal. Food is one of the fundamental ways to consociate with area residents.

  1. Try Something New

Snorkel, dive, or take a hot air balloon ride. Schedule language, cooking, or dance lessons. Hike, surf, skydive, or even run with the bulls. Think of things you always desired to accomplish, but had no one to do them with. This is your chance to do exactly what you want to do. 


It takes a lot of guts to travel solo. Not everyone is brave enough to take the risks associated with solo traveling. Fortunately, technology and the web made it easier for us to navigate new places with ease and assuage both our worries and that of our loved ones. You can easily book a place to stay from your smartphone or find a map of an attraction you want to see. You can keep in touch with family and friends back home through social media or messaging apps anytime you want. While the world is still a big and scary place for some, we have definitely become more familiar with it.

So, what are you waiting for? Save up on that dream vacation and go all by yourself. See a different part of the world at a fraction of the price and get to enjoy all its perks nonetheless. Just browse the web and you’d find many solo travelers (even females) who revel in the experience of solo travel and still go home in one piece and had the time of their lives.

The post Why Solo Travel Is Good For Your Soul was first published on The Church Report Blog


Is There Still Hope For Most Endangered Species?

Nature is both beautiful and mysterious. Man can’t help but wonder how nature managed to fill the planet and grow on its own and flourish without man’s help. They have provided shelter to a diverse list of wildlife that most of us haven’t seen face-to-face in our lifetime. And I guess, it is actually better that way. Many animals on the planet deserve to live on their own in their natural habitats rather than be transported to most zoos and circus for man’s entertainment and suffer a long, miserable, and lonely life in a steel cage.

With man’s intervention, we have managed to wipe out many animal species all by ourselves. From the threats of poaching, hunting, increasing urbanization, environmental degradation and climate change, how can these poor animals fend for themselves when the natural habitats they call home are no longer livable and that the planet has been increasingly becoming more difficult to live in?

The saiga antelope makes a strange pin-up for the conservation world. With its odd bulbous nose and spindly legs, it is an unlovely looking creature – particularly when compared with wildlife favourites such as the polar bear or panda.

But the survival of Saiga tatarica tatarica is important, for it gives hope to biologists and activists who are trying to protect Earth’s other endangered species from the impact of rising populations, climate change and increasing pollution. Once widespread on the steppe lands of the former Soviet Union, the saiga has suffered two major population crashes in recent years and survived both – thanks to the endeavours of conservationists. It is a story that will be highlighted at a specially arranged wildlife meeting, the Conservation Optimism Summit.

According to the summit’s organisers, there still are reasons to be cheerful when it comes to conservation, although they also acknowledge that the world’s wildlife remains in a desperate state thanks to swelling numbers of humans, climate change and spreading agriculture, which is destroying natural habitats. A recent report by WWF and the Zoological Society of London indicated that these factors have caused global populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles to decline by 58% since 1970, and that average annual decreases have now reached 2%, with no sign yet that this rate will slow down.


The world’s global biodiversity is fast depleting and many animals that were still here several years ago but have gone extinct can only be seen by future generations in books and scientific documentaries. It is disheartening that we are the main culprits why these animals were wiped off the face of this planet when we were supposed to be looking out for them and protecting them in the wild. The sad thing is that the threat is still here and will likely persist and along with it will likely take the lives of many other animals nearing extinction without a fight.

Climate change is rapidly becoming a crisis that defies hyperbole.

For all the sound and fury of climate change denialists, self-deluding politicians and a very bewildered global public, the science behind climate change is rock solid while the impacts – observed on every ecosystem on the planet – are occurring faster in many parts of the world than even the most gloomy scientists predicted. 

Given all this, it’s logical to assume life on Earth – the millions of species that cohabitate our little ball of rock in space – would be impacted. But it still feelsunnerving to discover that this is no longer about just polar bears; it’s not only coral reefs and sea turtles or pikas and penguins; it about practically everything – including us.


Climate change came too early because of us. The technologies that we all use contributed to the increase of greenhouse gasses and carbon footprint that made the planet hotter and messed up nature’s natural weather systems.

There are some places in the world that are just so important, so vital to the survival of wildlife and so important to surrounding people and their livelihoods, that even if we doubt we will ever visit them in person, we just know we must cherish them.

The Leuser Ecosystem (pronounced low-sir) is a vast, enchanting tropical landscape on the island of Sumatra. Spanning over 6.5 million acres of lowland jungle, montane rainforests and teeming, carbon-rich peat swamps, Leuser’s forests are among the most ancient on earth. This is a realm where volcanic eruptions, fluctuating sea levels, and species migrations over uninterrupted millennia have enabled one of the most biodiverse landscapes ever documented to evolve.

From its pristine tropical beaches to its rugged high mountaintops, the Leuser Ecosystem pulses with life. It is the last place on Earth where SE Asia’s most iconic species, orangutans, tigers, rhinos and elephants still live side by side in the wild. To step into Leuser’s steamy rainforests is to experience a serenade of biodiversity, a cacophony of buzzing insects, singing birds, croaking frogs and loud-calling primates.

The Leuser contains some of the world’s highest known levels of plant and animal abundance, with at least 105 mammal species, 382 bird species, and 95 reptile and amphibian species, among countless others still unrecorded by scientists. The rainfall Leuser’s forests produce, and the numerous clear rivers that emanate within them, provide millions of local people with clean drinking water and irrigation for agriculture, including water-intensive rice cultivation, as well as many other needs essential to local economies.


As the more superior species on this planet (in term of skills and intellect), we have a responsibility to protect the planet and everyone else living in it to ensure our species go on and on through the years. However, we seem to be too good at destruction that we have managed to invent technologies that speed up climate change and global warming at a rate never seen before in centuries. As a result, wildlife species suffer and go extinct, never to be seen again.

While climate change is already a deadly threat to everyone on earth, we can still do something about it and prevent further damage by changing our ways. Support the use of sustainable energy and reduce our energy consumption. Minimize our technology use that contributes to the deterioration of the planet. Also, we must put a stop to the poaching industry and safeguard the safety and well-being of animals in the wild. They are the helpless victims of all these catastrophes but are the first to suffer once Mother Nature strikes back. If we truly care for this world and everyone in it, it is time to redeem ourselves and find means to slow down the progression of climate change for everyone’s sake.

The blog post Is There Still Hope For Most Endangered Species? was initially published on


Are You Really Sick Or Is It All In Your Mind?

Men are mere mortals who can be as tough as a horse but also get sick at times. Our bodies can only do so much depending on how much we take good care of it. Meanwhile, we can get diseases that are out of the norm and affect the mind. Many times we doubt its existence, wondering whether it is just us or there is really something wrong with us after all.

What you need to know is that you may actually be sick but you don’t know it yet or are probably too embarrassed to get yourself checked and be seen by a doctor. When it comes to your health, nothing is irrelevant or too embarrassing to ask. And the truth is, knowing what is really wrong with you is better than staying clueless yet depressed until something terribly bad happens to you. After all, prevention still prevails to be better than cure.

We’ve probably all experienced physical reactions to psychological triggers. That hot flush that creeps across your cheeks when embarrassed; the gut-wrenching nausea that hits when you receive bad news; palpitations when nervous…

These are known as ‘psychosomatic’ physical symptoms where there’s no obvious medical cause, and so it’s believed that psychological or emotional factors are to blame.

Psychosomatic issues are real and not just a figment of your imagination. It is just as deadly as any physical condition most people know of. And it is probably high time we recognize these issues as the real threat they really are.

A hidden problem

“Psychosomatic disorders are really, really common, but for some reason, people don’t talk about them; it’s a hidden problem,” says O’Sullivan. “To think that one in three people in a neurology clinic have this sort of disorder – and yet most people have never have heard about it – is really shocking.”

Real illness

It’s easy to dismiss psychosomatic problems as purely ‘imaginary’ or ‘pretend’, but O’Sullivan points out that it’s far more complex than that, and should be recognised as a “very real” condition.


Our mental health is just as crucial as our physical health. Many times it happens when mental issues translate into physical symptoms. Depression can leave you anxious, irritable, sleepless, and the bags under your eyes won’t deny it.

The word psychosomatic refers to physical symptoms that occur for psychological reasons. Tears and blushing are examples of this, but they are normal responses that do not represent illness. It is only when psychosomatic symptoms go beyond the ordinary and impair our ability to function that illness results. Modern society likes the idea that we can think ourselves better. When we are unwell, we tell ourselves that if we adopt a positive mental attitude, we will have a better chance of recovery. I am sure that is correct. But society has not fully woken up to the frequency with which people do the opposite – unconsciously think themselves ill.

Psychosomatic disorders are conditions in which a person suffers from significant physical symptoms – causing real distress and disability – out of proportion to that which can be explained by medical tests or physical examination. Of course, a medically unexplained symptom is not necessarily psychosomatic. Some people have transient illnesses that do not reveal themselves in common investigations. Lots of viral infections, for example, do not show up on routine tests.


Once you realize that you have a problem, getting help becomes easier. A combination of conventional treatment and medications and alternative management can help address the issue.

Probable solutions to psychosomatic pain

Resolving psychosomatic pain requires more than just medicine. Simply treating the symptoms of pain will not resolve the issue. Health care practitioners need to go to the root of the pain and treat that ‘cause’.

Counselling and psychotherapy can help find out the real source of the pain by finding the connection between the physical pain and its possible psychological causes.

Stress management techniques can help individuals manage their physical and emotional health. For example, a study revealed that there is a positive relationship between job satisfaction and spirituality at work among sales professionals, which provides the relevance of spirituality at work to salespeople. Studies have also shown the importance of Vipasana meditation and yoga in improving psychosomatic pain. [5]

Sometimes, non-narcotic painkillers and anti-depressants can help resolve psychosomatic pain. Studies show that antidepressants can help ameliorate many unexplained symptoms, even if the person is not depressed, because the neural pathways for negative psychological and physical symptoms such as pain and depression are closely related. [6]

Physical exercise and physiotherapy can in many cases relieve psychosomatic pain.

The influence of psyche on pain symptoms is much more widely recognised now. What is now required more than ever is for pharmacologists, neurologists, orthopaedic surgeons and psychiatrists to work together to deal with the issue of psychosomatic pain.


So, you see, even though you may have doubted your own sanity and confused the symptoms only you can feel as something make-believe, they are actually real and is a valid reason to be concerned about your health like any other more common health conditions afflicting mankind. Since most of these conditions are psychological, you need to go see the right doctor first, someone who is experienced in dealing with this aspect of human health or risk getting misdiagnosed and not receive the treatment you badly need.

There is no specific cure for psychosomatic conditions. Most management often offers palliative treatment, so you are no longer bothered by the symptoms. What you need is a combination therapy that not only addresses symptoms but improves your psyche as well. It includes meditation, yoga, and other relaxing techniques to clear your mind and help you manage your symptoms but at the same time improve your life disposition so your mental health is stronger and you can better manage stress from now on.

The following post Are You Really Sick Or Is It All In Your Mind? was initially published to


HIV/ AIDS: The Silent Epidemic

For anyone who is sexually active or in their child-bearing years, the threat of getting HIV or AIDS is a scary thought. Back in the days, only a small fraction of the population gets infected but nowadays both heterosexual and homosexual relationships are at risk. Our modern lifestyle of casual hook-ups and one-night stands are contributing factors to this rising phenomenon. Even the use of illicit drugs like heroin is a culprit why people get it even though they practice safe sex.

HIV is the acronym for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. When an individual’s immune system severely weakens and is characterized by a CD4 count that is below 200, a person is then diagnosed with AIDS or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. It is known as the last stage of an HIV infection or an advanced HIV infection. This viral infection is unlike common viral infections like the common cold which is self-limiting. HIV is a lifelong infection leaving an individual HIV positive for life. The virus attacks the body’s immune system and destroys WBCs or white blood cells, so the body is unable to protect itself from invading pathogens or illness.

The population of people who are living with HIV and AIDS is ageing fast. This reflects the ‘good news’ story of the effectiveness of anti-retroviral drugs that have meant that many people with HIV now have a near-normal life expectancy. However, part of this growth is also new infections in the older age group, accounting for 17 per cent of all new HIV diagnoses in 2015 in the US. The trend is seen most clearly in developed countries, where people have better access to high quality health care, but is also replicated around the world. Over 30 million people in Sub Saharan Africa are now living with HIV and 10 per cent of them are over 50. Around half of the people living with HIV in the US are over the age of 50 and that number is set to rise.

Short of someone finding a cure for HIV, we now have to face the issue of how we are going to provide them with the right care and support in the decades to come. This is both a challenge and an opportunity. We need to ensure that the health services are tailored to the different needs of people who are entering retirement and may have other issues to deal with including co-morbities that come with age, and social isolation.


While we often associate HIV infections with younger people who have higher libidos, multiple sexual partners, and rampant drug abuse, a big number of the older population also suffer from the condition and live with it until their death. They also have to deal with the stigma of being diagnosed with such an infection.

Shortly after the 2017 presidential inauguration, the web page for the Office of National AIDS Policy was removed, and terms such as “LGBT,” “Lesbian,” “Gay,” “Bisexual” and “Transgender” were stripped from the new White House website. A few weeks later, the Trump administration lifted federal guidelines that said transgender students should be allowed to use public school bathrooms and locker rooms matching their chosen gender identity. There is still no mention of HIV and AIDS in President Trump’s health care policy. Now the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives is attempting to fast-track its Obamacare replacement plan. And we have every reason to be frightened and angered by the proposed plan and its potential outcomes.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, before the Affordable Care Act was passed, 24 percent of people with HIV had no health insurance coverage at all. There are 1.2 million people in the U.S. already living with HIV. Health insurance is vital to keeping viral suppression rates up and infection rates down. The ACA provided critical subsidies for private insurance and expanded Medicaid in 31 states and the District of Columbia, which increased access to medical treatment. It also guaranteed coverage for people with preexisting conditions such as HIV and covered HIV testing. Finally, by funding prevention efforts of HIV and AIDS service organizations, the ACA was playing a big role in keeping the virus from being transmitted to our most vulnerable communities — transgender women of color, and young men of color who have sex with men.

The Trump administration should look into all possible repercussions of the Obamacare repeal so they can also prepare for a new health care policy that addresses these issues and ensure a smooth transition. If not, not only will more people get sick but mortality rates on deadly and communicable conditions like HIV and AIDS will likely go up and have a negative impact on society.

Make no mistake — gutting the Affordable Care Act will have widespread impacts that stretch beyond HIV and AIDS. The repeal and replacement would cause 24 million people to lose health insurance within a decade, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. And a report from the Children’s Defense Fund found that more than two million children in New York alone are now at risk of losing coverage or benefits once ACA is repealed.

We must think back to the 1980s, when HIV and AIDS were on the rise and we were losing our friends and loved ones at alarming rates. Over three decades later, and our nation is at a perilous crossroads. If we move forward with a health care plan that causes millions of Americans to lose insurance and doesn’t prioritize HIV and AIDS testing and funding, we could see one of the deadliest epidemics of all time resurface. I urge members of Congress not to make this mistake — do not pass the Trump administration’s replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act.


Many were disappointed and upset at the various budget cuts imposed by the Trump administration. He considered the education department, arts, and healthcare, for instance, to be irrelevant to nation-building and rebuilding the greatness that is America, thus cutting back on budget and putting their programs on the sidelines. While many of us think of these things as a major inconvenience and utter insensitivity on the part of Donald Trump, it can actually have more serious complications especially on the field of healthcare.

President Trump still pursues the repeal of Obamacare. And if he does, the abolishment of the Affordable Health Care Act can result to a rise in HIV cases in the country that was put at bay by Obamacare as they offered health insurance coverage to roughly 24% of HIV-infected Americans. By ensuring these patients have access to health care and medicines that not only offer palliative relief in suppressing symptoms but likewise reduce the infection rate of this virus. Without a national health care policy that addresses this issue, we may once again witness a rise in patients diagnosed with HIV or AIDS especially that most younger people don’t have second thoughts in having casual sex with a total stranger or indulge in unspeakable sex acts that are far from safe.

Aside from that, these patients will once again be subject to the phobia and stigma associated with the condition and will probably be worsened by cyberbullying on social media and other social channels. We not only want to prevent deadly conditions from spreading but more so we want to promote the health of every American regardless of their status in life.

HIV/ AIDS: The Silent Epidemic was first published to The Church Report


Can Medicine Benefit From Social Media?

If there’s one thing we love the most that technology has given us, it is the debut of the Internet and everything else that comes with it especially social media. Imagine how social media has changed the lives of virtually everyone on the planet. It’s not just used for leisure but even for work and business too. People can spend hours on the web browsing through their various social media accounts and never feel bored at all. Access to the Internet is no longer a luxury but a basic human need that should be met without much of a struggle.

Social media got everything covered. Whatever your field, profession or interests may be, you are sure to find a page where you can feel at home and connect with like-minded individuals. The use of social media is not just about maintaining existing relationships with previous and current offline contacts but even in making new contacts from complete strangers you meet online.

Just as Snapchat and Instagram and YouTube have influencers, so too does medicine. Chronic diseases occupy an online world of memes, hashtags (#hospitalglam), and people who provide information and insights to communities that too often feel they have no voice. A growing number of companies are hiring these patient influencers to reach, and understand, these folks. And, of course, sell them stuff.

Last month, the Boston company Wego Health launched a web-based platform that introduces pharmaceutical firms, medical device manufacturers, hospitals, and insurers to people like Ingles. Those firms, in turn, pay influencers for access to their experiences, expertise, and followers. Ingles started working with Wego’s beta pilot last year and takes a few jobs a month. Wego is something of a bulletin board where companies post their needs—someone to recruit 50 people for a survey, for example, or represent the patient perspective on a panel—and influencers vetted by Wego apply. All the details are left to the parties involved; Wego only coordinates the introductions.

And social media serves as a powerful, efficient and cost-effective tool in helping everyone learn more about various health conditions and management direct from the social media posts of patients themselves who have the disease or tried specific treatments (especially medical breakthroughs and innovative treatments) and medical experts who now act as social media ambassadors for these causes.

Some people on the platform put their personal disease journeys front and center of their social media channels—posting hospital gown selfies and live tweeting colon imaging procedures. But other patient influencers work more behind the scenes. Jodi Dwyer, an oncology social worker from Boston who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008, has recruited other MS patients for surveys, sat in on focus groups, and spoken on panels hosted by various pharmaceutical manufacturers.


We live in a world dominated by technology. So, it does not come out as a surprise that people often make their choices according to what they often see on social media or what is shared the most by the people or pages they follow. Traditional advertising is no longer the only platform to deliver key messages to the masses. Social media is where almost everybody is, so it makes perfect sense to tap this channel to reach a wider audience without spending a fortune.

There’s no point in denying that millennials are influenced by opinions posted on social media. They frequently consult blogs, Facebook, and other social media sites before making decisions relating to education, career, finances, travel and purchases. But does the influence of social media expand to include health care decisions?

As it turns out, the answer is yes. Millennials rely strongly on social media as a source of education on healthcare issues. Further, social media has a huge impact on provider selection, general medical advice and lifestyle choices.

Over 75% of Americans use social media to research their symptoms. Also, 90% of people aged 18 to 24 stated they trust medical info shared on their social feeds, according to PwC Health Research Institute. This survey makes it pretty clear that medical and health information isn’t simply being shared to spur conversation, or because it’s interesting. Millennials, or at the least the youngest segment of that generation see social media as a trustworthy source for medical information.

This could be problematic if they are using that info to make healthcare decisions without vetting the information, or foregoing medical advice, especially as, according to Epiphany Resources, one in five Americans admit to taking medicine either prescribed for someone else or misusing their own prescription for nonmedical reasons.


However, we likewise need to remember that when it comes to our health, we should not rely solely on the opinions and experiences of others when making decisions. One should consult with a health care provider and get a proper and thorough assessment before taking anything internally. Each of us is unique and so is our body. Another person may react differently to a set of drugs or treatment than the other person, so you really can’t expect to get the same results.

Moreover, you may have underlying conditions that are different from the other or are currently taking other medications that may trigger a different reaction. Even if you read all health care reviews, you can’t always expect to experience the same thing although it helps that we raise our awareness over something by enriching our knowledge about various medical conditions and management. A word of caution, though, that not everything you see on the web is true. So, the best thing to do is to always have that talk with your doctor before believing in any medical hype that is trending on social media to stay on the safe side. At least, you can confirm whether it really is true or not. There is no harm in asking, after all, because it is your life and health that is at stake.

The post Can Medicine Benefit From Social Media? was first seen on TCR


Why Gadgets Are Bad For Kids

Kids are naturally curious. They will ask adults all sorts of questions but still have room for a few more. As they grow up, they learn more about their environment and as they learn, raises more questions about how the way things work. While we adults often get annoyed by this endless barrage of questions, kids actually learn a lot and it helps them have a better understanding of the world at their young age.

Kids are also in their formative years of development where most of the life skills they know (conscious or subconscious) are learned and harnessed. It is why the experts suggest active play for kids because nothing limits their imagination and they learn more from their experiences than any classroom lesson can teach them. They also develop valuable social skills that they only develop while interacting with other kids or the people around them.

However, overexposure to gadgets limit the growth of a child’s brain and learning by providing instant answers/ gratification to their questions or needs rather than allowing them to learn things as they go. It has a negative effect not only on their health but psychological development as well and can hamper their growth throughout the years.

The concern being raised by parents and child development stakeholders in Dar es Salaam over the effects video games on the young must urgently be acted upon by authorities.

There are hundreds of video game centres in the city, and they all seem to be doing good business. It means thousands of our children have been sucked into an indulgence that has a potential to spoil their mental, intellectual and physical health.

Granted that the world has changed and Tanzanian children cannot be wholly detached from activities associated with computer technology, but the issue is: how much time are our young spending in video games?

The truth is, whether a child plays on a portable unit, a television or the Internet, excessive gaming can affect his or her life. Experts warn that video game addiction can be as problematic as gambling and affects players as young as eight.

Parents are supposed to be fully aware of the effects of a video game compulsion if they are to keep their children’s hobby in check. This advice, however, can only be valid in advanced economies where virtually every home has a computer, an Internet access, or where most parents can afford a portable unit for their child.


Technology is addicting. We all know it. As adults who also grew up with some form of technology for entertainment (think of Family Computer, Gameboy, and good old TV), you can get lost in it for hours without realizing it. And not only is radiation bad for our health but the act of indulging in digital play can wreak havoc on the mind and the psyche too.

In a society like Singapore’s, where academic excellence in children is lauded over anything else they do, it can be difficult for parents to understand the importance of sports in a kid’s life.

But the role that sports plays in children’s development cannot be underestimated as it helps them in many positive ways.

“From a psychological perspective, sports and outdoor play are essential in helping a child learn social skills and team work,” said Dr Lim Boon Leng, a psychiatrist at Gleneagles Hospital. “Every sport has rules, and learning to observe them helps the child to understand the need for discipline.”

Repetitive training, and respecting the coaches, referees and team members, or even simply turning up for training as scheduled are important in building one’s discipline, he added.

“Learning discipline and perseverance will bring the child a long way in his academic success,” he said.


The experts have spoken, yet again. Overexposure to technology will never do us any good, especially young kids who should be recognizing the different colors, textures, and smell of their surroundings but miss out on these important educational childhood milestones because they are glued on their iPads or tablets for hours on end.

We now know that those iPads, smartphones and Xboxes are a form of digital drug. Recent brain imaging research is showing that they affect the brain’s frontal cortex — which controls executive functioning, including impulse control — in exactly the same way that cocaine does. Technology is so hyper-arousing that it raises dopamine levels — the feel-good neurotransmitter most involved in the addiction dynamic — as much as sex.

This addictive effect is why Dr. Peter Whybrow, director of neuroscience at UCLA, calls screens “electronic cocaine” and Chinese researchers call them “digital heroin.” In fact, Dr. Andrew Doan, the head of addiction research for the Pentagon and the US Navy — who has been researching video game addiction — calls video games and screen technologies “digital pharmakeia” (Greek for drug).


As responsible adults, we have the responsibility to look after our children’s health and well-being and make the best decisions for them, even if that means taking away their precious gadgets and dealing with their tantrums until they get used to not always relying on these technologies to ease their boredom.

A happy and healthy childhood should be filled with exciting and memorable experiences out under the sun or in the dirt, exploring whatever the world has to offer and experience everything first-hand and not learned from others. Only then can a child fully develop sensory and motor skills that are crucial to functioning normally as an adult. Remember that Technology is there as a means to make our lives easier and not control us, as to how smart gadgets have seemed to control us over recent years. Save your children from the dangers of these things and rest in knowing that you did your best in rearing your child in this technology-crazed world.

The following blog post Why Gadgets Are Bad For Kids See more on:


Teaching Kids The Value Of Giving

Our world is fast becoming a materialistic world. Capitalists take advantage of retail therapy to make lots of profits. These businesses build a need for people to acquire more stuff so they end up buying things they don’t actually need but actually looked pretty cool in the mall. And kids grow up in this capitalist culture full of me, me and me. We all become too engrossed with our needs that we forget to think of others.

As adults, we need to teach the importance of giving and sharing our blessings with the less fortunate. A child that knows how to give understands that not everyone enjoys the same lifestyle as them and that others have to struggle to earn money for basic needs like food, clothing and shelter, something that others take for granted. When kids know how to share, they realize that they have the power of uplifting the lives of others and making a difference in this world.

Many parents want their children to grow up to be philanthropic.

The hard part is knowing when—and how—to start instilling a sense of philanthropy in them.

Experts in the world of philanthropy offer several approaches.

But there is a consensus that it’s important to start talking to children about philanthropy early in their lives and continue to have those discussions as they grow.


Kids are great imitators. So the act of giving or having a generous nature will probably become second nature to them if they see their elders doing the same in their everyday lives.

CHARITY and the spirit of giving have been elevated to a new level following the recent Asian tsunami. After witnessing the horrific images of pain and suffering streaming steadily across their TV sets, more people than ever before have dipped deeper into their own pockets to offer needed relief to the survivors of this unprecedented tragedy.

Many parents are using the destruction delivered by the disaster as an opportunity to help children learn about charity and the importance of reaching out to others in their time of need. They have made generous family donations, often involving their children in picking out the charity, writing the check, and preparing and mailing the envelope. They have allowed their children to witness turning the pain and grief of unimaginable loss into a time of extending love and compassion to unknown people half way around the world.

Clearly the recent tsunami provides an opportune time to teach children about charity. But what if parents want lessons about charity to be more than a one time occurrence? What if they want the spirit of giving to be a way of life for their children? What if they want charity to become a habit?


Children learn to be generous and charitable from home. Practice the following habits at home and you no longer have to worry about teaching your kids about giving because they will have the initiative to do so on their own.

Giving to charity makes us happier

Researchers from the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and Harvard University found a positive relationship between charitable giving and happiness. The research has shown that how people spend their money impacts their happiness. In particular, people who spend money on others reported greater levels of happiness – actually activates the reward centre in your brain, can improve your overall life satisfaction, and reduces stress.

There are financial benefits too

Any time you make a charitable donation, keep your receipts! The cost of your donation is greatly reduced by claiming tax credits on your income tax return. It’s important to determine which organizations can issue official donation receipts and what types of gifts qualify. Once you know that information, you can decide the total amount of donations you want to claim.

To help your kid(s) understand charity and get them into the habit of giving, consider some of these strategies below:

  • Help the elderly.

  • Donate clothes.

  • Provide nutritious food.

  • Help some animals.

  • Volunteer.

  • Make it a family thing.


The world is a better place if everyone learns how to give and share their blessings. There will be no such thing as social injustice because biases will likewise disappear, so is greed and abuse. And conflicts can be prevented when people tolerate one another and look after their well-being. When kids grew up in this harmonious environment, they will grow up to be responsible and compassionate adults who may be able to give a shot at world peace and living in harmony with all where wars are unheard of.

Teaching Kids The Value Of Giving Find more on: