Women’s Health: Remembering Women in the Fight Against HIV

Women’s Health: Remembering Women in the Fight Against HIV

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Women’s News: Dating Advice: How Not to Lose Yourself in a Relationship

Women’s News: Dating Advice: How Not to Lose Yourself in a Relationship

A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

Women’s Health: Remembering Women in the Fight Against HIV

By Helene Gayle

President and CEO, CARE USA

At the XIX International AIDS Conference this week in Washington, D.C., Americans should be proud of what we have done to fight HIV/AIDS around the world, and how, together, we are turning the tideagainst an epidemic once thought to be invincible.

Men, women and children have a second chance thanks to tremendous funding commitments and international collaboration over the last decade. One woman I met in Kampala, Uganda named Concy Acayo demonstrates how efforts such as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) can be life changing.

I met Concy, a mother in her late 30s, in April while leading a bipartisan Congressional delegation to Uganda. She shared her moving story with our group and a dozen other HIV positive women, and we sat just a few feet away from the clinic that saved her life. About ten years ago, Concy’s battle with HIV left her bedridden and unable to care for her family. Then, she began accessing treatment at a PEPFAR-funded HIV clinic. Her health gradually improved. She was also given prenatal and proper delivery services which enabled her children to be born free of HIV.

Concy embodies what can happen when the United States commits itself to helping people in need. Through PEPFAR, as of last year the U.S. supported nearly 4 million people on treatment, up from 1.7 million in 2008. The percentage of pregnant women with access to HIV testing and counseling climbed from 8 percent in 2005 to 35 percent in 2010, according to a progress report from the World Health Organization, UNAIDS and UNICEF last year.

Infection rates have plummeted worldwide as well, creating a brighter future for millions of families. The same report found that about 2.7 million people acquired HIV infections in 2010, a decline from 3.1 million in 2001.

The benefits of the investments in HIV/AIDS work have also yielded generous returns in other areas of health services, particularly for women. Many countries, including Uganda, have expanded services beyond HIV testing and treatment to integrate family planning services and maternal health care.

Even with these achievements, there’s a tough road ahead. With a lackluster economy and pressing domestic issues, we risk backtracking on all of our hard-earned progress. For example, Uganda, where Concy lives, is often hailed as one of Africa’s early success stories. However, a government report shows the prevalence of HIV in the country actually increased from 6.4 percent in 2004 to 7.3 percent in 2011. This shift re-affirms the urgency to continue our global commitment to eradicating the disease.

Continuing the momentum means staying ahead of the disease and reaching the most vulnerable populations such as the ultra-poor and, in too many places, women and girls. We know that 50 percent of the people eligible for treatment lack access to antiretroviral therapy, and children have the poorest access to these drugs. At CARE, which fights global poverty by empowering women and girls, we have seen women — particularly young women — remain disproportionally at risk of contracting the disease. The World Health Organization reports that women constitute 60 percent of people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.

The PEPFAR-funded clinic where I met Concy is a case in point. Women make up 63 percent of the people served. Most of them are single, widowed or elderly with minimal schooling and no source of regular income. That’s why, just beyond the half dozen hospital beds and testing equipment, sits a day care, a basket-weaving factory and small community center. Here CARE has helped launch village savings and loan associations whose members pool their money to start small businesses. The groups, which are about 70 percent women, help disseminate messages about preventing the spread of HIV, from mothers to children or partner to partner.

With renewed hope, Concy continues to fight against HIV. She has a wide smile when she tells us about her participation in a savings group and how she launched a successful business selling food. Last year, she became a first-time homeowner after using her earnings to buy a plot of land and build a small home for her family. Something tells me Concy’s smile will light her face for many, many years to come.

Dr. Helene D. Gayle is president and CEO of CARE, the global poverty-fighting organization. Dr. Gayle spent 20 years with the Centers for Disease Control, focused primarily on combating HIV/AIDS. Dr. Gayle then directed the HIV, TB and Reproductive Health Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She will be co-chairing a panel with former First Lady Laura Bush and activist Aung San Suu Kyi on HIV/AIDS and women at the conference.


Women’s News: Dating Advice: How Not to Lose Yourself in a Relationship

By Sahaj Kohli

If you’re anything like me, the minute you commit yourself to a partner, everything starts to revolve around him or her. You want to make sure you meet his or her needs, but you’re also unconsciously always thinking of ways to make him or her happy. You genuinely like striving to be the perfect partner. Totally understandable. But while you’re submerging yourself in the life of this other person, you may not be making your own the priority it should be.

How do you find the balance between giving to your partner and holding onto yourself in the process?

Here’s a list of 16 ways to date someone you’re really, really into without losing yourself.


1) Spend time with friends — without your partner. It’s great when your significant other and your friends like one another, but your friends don’t always want your other half around when they are trying to spend time with you. The way you interact with your friends when your boyfriend or girlfriend tags along is necessarily different — and less intimate — than when you show up solo. It just is. So plan — and show up for — a standing after-work happy hour or weekend brunch that’s just for you and the people who were there for you before Mr. or Ms. Wonderful came along.

2) Identify hobbies and interests that you don’t share — and keep doing them. You and your significant other are not going to enjoy all the same activities. Don’t stop nurturing your pottery skills just because your partner doesn’t especially love ceramics. It’s important to support each other’s interests — even and maybe especially when they aren’t shared.

3) Speak up for yourself. While committing to another being is a great thing, giving up your needs and feelings up for that person isn’t. Don’t compromise or undermine your own desires just because a) you want to give the other person everything they want or b) you’re scared that you’ll lose him or her if you need something different. A functional relationship makes room for what both of you need, and your partner can’t know what you need if you don’t voice it. If he or she walks when you do express yourself, better that than losing yourself to someone unwilling to hear you and meet you halfway.

4) Map out plans for your future irrespective of your significant other. It’s fine to make plans with your partner and even discuss a possible future together, but it’s just as important to establish for yourself what you want out of your career and work toward the things you want in your personal life. Spend some time charting short-term and long-term goals that have nothing to do with your significant other. Make sure you’re aware of what you won’t give up for anyone.

5) Disconnect electronically. Spending time “apart” while constantly chatting and texting with your partner isn’t really taking time for yourself. To retain your sense of who you are, you need to set aside time to do your thing — work, exercise, read, journal, pursue personal projects, whatever — without checking in with your partner every five minutes.

6) Remember that you don’t have to experience everything with him or her. That movie you’ve been looking forward to is finally coming out? A friend in another city invited you to visit for a weekend? Have a chance to go skydiving for the first time? It’s tempting to invite your partner to come along, but realize that you don’t need to experience these things with him or her, especially if it’s something you’ve been wanting to do since long before you met. It’s okay to enjoy them by yourself or with friends — you’re not required to share.

7) Get inspired. If your partner doesn’t motivate you to be the best version of you, it’s worth asking whether this is the right relationship for you. If you’re well matched, both of you feel free — and encouraged — to reach your full potential.

8) Be open to new things. Part of maintaining your sense of self is knowing you can try something new without sacrificing your core values and tastes. Give your partner’s hobbies and interests a shot at least once. If you enjoy them, great. If not, don’t do them again, and be confident in that choice.


1) Become too dependent. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to taking care of yourself and your own feelings. It’s easy to look to your partner to shelter you from the world and distract you when everything else makes you want to crawl into a hole, but continue to fight your own battles. It’s nice to have someone who wants to comfort you, and it’s perfectly all right to let him or her, but make sure you don’t need it.

2) Talk about your relationship nonstop. You do not want to be the person who brings every conversation with friends back to the time your partner said this or did that. Chances are you saw, talked to, texted, Skyped with, IMed and/or emailed with him or her very recently. Your time with friends is an opportunity to discuss other things.

3) Talk to each other all the time. If you’re in constant contact with your partner throughout the day, what are you going to talk about when you actually see each other? Leave some topics for when you meet up for dinner or come back home to each other or talk on the phone at night. Also, you can’t live your own life if you’re always talking to someone else.

4) Let the status of your relationship affect your whole outlook. It’s never fun or easy when you and your partner fight, but do your best to compartmentalize. The less you let what’s going on in your relationship affect your work, friendships and interaction with family, the better. If the state of your relationship entirely determines your mood, then you are probably too consumed by it.

5) Neglect other important relationships. If you have plans with family or your best friends, don’t flake last minute to stay in with your significant other. A good relationship will definitely withstand you taking the time to honor commitments to people outside it.

6) Depend on the other person to complete you. “Jerry Maguire” was a movie. Fiction. In reality, your partner should make you happy, not make you whole.

7) Shrink yourself. Don’t resist success, a promotion or making more money than your partner to boost his or her ego or spare his or her feelings. Someone who truly loves you and who is worth loving is secure enough to cheer you on.

8) Go immediately from one relationship to another. We all know that person who never seems to take any time for herself between breakups to grieve, mend and remember who she is independent of the person who was such a huge part of their lives for however long. Don’t use relationships as an excuse to never focus on yourself, your flaws or your personal growth. It sounds schlocky, but liking who you are is important. If you don’t, it’s worth working on a) being kinder to yourself and b) becoming a person you love. The fact that someone else loves you doesn’t rescue you from the project of loving yourself.

You can follow Sahaj Kohli on Twitter.

A Message From The Creator

If you do things well, do them better. Be daring, be first, be different, be just.
-Anita Roddick

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (born 15 September 1977) is a Nigerian writer.

She is Igbo. She has been called “the most prominent” of a “procession of critically acclaimed young anglophone authors [that] is succeeding in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature”.

Born in the town of Enugu, she grew up in the university town of Nsukka in southeastern Nigeria, where the University of Nigeria is situated. While she was growing up, her father was a professor of statistics at the university, and her mother was the university registrar.

Adichie studied medicine and pharmacy at the University of Nigeria for a year and a half. During this period, she edited The Compass, a magazine run by the university’s Catholic medical students. At the age of 19, Adichie left Nigeria and moved to the United States for college. After studying communications and political science at Drexel University in Philadelphia, she transferred to Eastern Connecticut State University to live closer to her sister, who had a medical practice in Coventry. She received a bachelor’s degree from Eastern, where she graduated summa cum laude in 2001.

In 2003, she completed a master’s degree in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University. In 2008, she received a Master of Arts in African studies from Yale University.

Adichie was a Hodder fellow at Princeton University during the 2005-2006 academic year. In 2008 she was awarded aMacArthur Fellowship. She has also been awarded a 2011-2012 fellowship by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study,Harvard University.

Adichie, who is married, divides her time between Nigeria, where she teaches writing workshops, and the United States.

Adichie was shortlisted in 2002 for the Caine Prize for her short story “You in America”. In 2003, her story “That Harmattan Morning” was selected as joint winner of the BBC Short Story Awards, and she won the O. Henry prize for “The American Embassy”. She also won the David T. Wong International Short Story Prize 2002/2003 (PEN Center Award), for “Half of a Yellow Sun”.

Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, was released in 2003. The book received wide critical acclaim; it was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction (2004) and was awarded the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (2005). Her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, named after the flag of the short-lived nation of Biafra, is set before and during the Biafran War. It was awarded the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction.

Her third book, The Thing Around Your Neck, is a collection of short stories published in 2009.

In 2010 she was listed among The New Yorker′s “20 Under 40” Fiction Issue.[6]

Adichie’s story, “Ceiling”, was included in the 2011 edition of The Best American Short Stories.

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