Insight News

Oct 04th


National HIV/Aids strategy: Leveraging the private sector

When President Obama released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy in July 2010, he said, “The Federal government can’t do this alone, nor should it.  Success will require the commitment of governments at all levels, businesses, faith communities, philanthropy, the scientific and medical communities, educational institutions, people living with HIV, and others.”

Clearly, success at achieving our aggressive goals in the Strategy depends not only on Federal leadership, but new investments and new partnerships from all parts society.  We know that some of our biggest successes in fighting HIV/AIDS have come about because of private sector initiatives, and we’ve called on businesses and foundations to provide that next level of leadership by stepping up their efforts in a few targeted areas.  We want to hear about your successful partnerships and new ideas for working together.

26 years since the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, India: Are chemical plants any safer today?

26 years since the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, India: Are chemical plants any safer today?Dear EarthTalk: December 2010 marked the 26th anniversary of the infamous Bhopal disaster in India when chemical company Union Carbide leaked deadly gases, killing thousands of people. What safeguards are in place today to prevent incidents like this? -- Charlene Colchester, via e-mail

Bhopal should have been a wake up call, but it is unclear whether chemical plants around the world are any safer a quarter century after the December 1984 disaster—during which some 40 tons of toxic methyl isocyanate gas leaked from a pesticide plant owned by Union Carbide (now part of Dow Chemical), killing 2,259 people immediately and causing lifelong health problems and premature death for tens of thousands more.

Coming to America: high speed rail

Coming to America: high speed railDear EarthTalk: Vice-President Joe Biden just announced a commitment by the Obama administration of $53 billion to high speed rail. Isn’t it about time? Why is the U.S. so far behind other nations in developing environmentally friendly public transportation? -- Diane A., Boston, MA

There are many reasons why public transit hasn’t taken off in the U.S. as it has in parts of Asia, Europe and elsewhere. For one, ever since the Model T first rolled off Henry Ford’s assembly line, Americans have had a love affair with cars. Also, a successful plot by General Motors and several partner companies in the 1930 and 1940s bought up and shut down rail transit lines across 45 American cities, replacing them with bus routes driven on GM buses. Meanwhile, the U.S. government embarked on a plan to link the nation’s metro areas via interstate highways, further encouraging car travel. The sexy new car designs of the 1950s then drove the final nail in the coffin, relegating public transportation to an afterthought.

Participation in a Medical Clinical Trial - One Man’s Story

For Marvin Jackson, getting advanced treatment for prostate cancer was a matter of life and death.  Jackson (not his real name) was just 52-years-old when the sore shoulder he had been nursing for months turned out to be prostate cancer that had metastasized to his bones.  “I really wasn’t having any symptoms except for my shoulder, which kept getting more and more sore,” he said, describing the pain that eventually got him to visit a doctor.  “The doctor and I thought it was a golf injury or at worst arthritis. He was just as surprised as I was.” 

American Cancer Society Recognizes Firm for Cancer-fighting Efforts

A stroll through the campuses of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota in Eagan and Virginia, Minnesota (Blue Cross) show they are designed to improve the health—and in turn, reduce cancer risk for its 3500 employees.

The facilities feature a tobacco-free campus and/or; walking meetings and paths; healthy cafeterias and vending machines—often at discounted prices; onsite fitness centers with reduced rate fitness classes and personal trainers; an employee-led Wellness Council to seek new ways to improve employee health; and onsite doctor visits via webcams.

Restoring family planning

Restoring family planningDear EarthTalk: Global population numbers continue to rise, as does the poverty, suffering and environmental degradation that goes with it. Has the U.S., under Obama, increased or at least restored its family planning aid to developing countries that was cut when the Bush Administration first took office? -- T. Healy, via e-mail

The short answer is yes. President Obama is much more interested in family planning around the world than his predecessor ever was. One of Obama’s first acts upon assuming office in 2009 was the restoration of funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). George W. Bush had withheld some $244 million in aid to the UNFPA over the previous seven years. UNFPA works with developing countries around the world to “reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.”

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

The 11th annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) will be held Feb. 7 to draw attention to the devastating toll HIV/AIDS has on African-American communities.

Over 6% African-American men will be diagnosed with HIV infection some time in their lives, as will over 3% African-American women, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Almost half of the one million Americans currently living with HIV are African-American.
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