Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Well Wishes for the NEW YEAR!!


I can't believe it's been an entire month (practically) since I've written. This was not by choice, I swear. I have about 6 drafts started and almost ready to publish.... but they haven't been due to the Holiday buzz, the crazy work and travel schedules and last but not least - our malfunctioning modem and router issues. UGH!

So finally, after hours of Todd patiently holding, calling Comcast and troubleshooting galore... hopefully we'll stay in business! :)

We had a WONDERFUL Christmas together here in D.C.. It was actually a little weird at first. We did all of our family visits before Christmas weekend and I didn't have to work on the holiday. It was wonderful waking up Christmas Eve to each other, casually having a nice breakfast and coffee, taking in the peace that surrounded D.C. on our 10 mile run and knowing we didn't have to rush off to someone's house for all the hustle and bustle that's become an expectation for us. It's not that we don't enjoy our family time, but when you spend more time in the car than with each side of the family.... it's more and more difficult to do (I don't even like thinking about the madness it would be with KIDS!). We realized this summer with our move, we wouldn't be able to take the time off of work that would allow us to be in NC over the holidays to see everyone we want and need to be with. So we made adjustments and split the visits over Thanksgiving and Christmas. What a difference it made. We in no way spent as much time with our family and friends as we wanted to, but we did what we could with the time we had.

Christmas Day was also a nice calm day for us. We slept in and then went to church. We haven't found a home church here in the DC area yet. My work schedule and Todd's training schedule haven't given us a whole lot of Sunday's to join in on fellowship.... but, thankfully, we had Christmas Sunday together to fellowship with the kind and open hearts of Clarendon Presbyterian Church. This small church was breathtakingly beautiful. Small and quaint, but gorgeous. I'm not sure how old the structure is, but the sanctuary is gorgeous. I think there were 10 of us total there Sunday morning. We sang together, read the Christmas Story, and shared our favorite memories as families from Christmases past. It was casual, kind, and  a beautiful way to start our Christmas morning.

I'm thankful we had the opportunity to join this church family in their Christmas morning service. We will certainly be back for a "traditional" service to meet and greet a few more faces!

I hope that each of you had a special and wonderful Christmas holiday celebrating the birth of Christ.

There will be much more to come in 2012. Todd and I have lots of goals for this year... mostly around running/fitness, professional development, financial and as a couple, but all are exciting! :) And yes, as always, I do have a goal to do MUCH more through and with this blog.

Hugs and Happy Holidays friends!! :) I love you all!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hope For HIV

I found this great article published by the CDC today for World AIDS day, December 1st. As a nurse, I'm always amazed at how little patients (those with AIDS, those without and their care providers) know about the disease. I don't know HALF as much as I should know about the disease, but after meeting my first AIDS patient while in nursing school.... I've always been intrigued. AIDS is not the scary disease that everyone thought only "gay men" got in the 80's. AIDS is now the scary disease affecting everyone - men, women and children of allllllll races and sexual orientation.

Learn. I don't want another patient telling me "I think I have AIDS... can you test me?" and when I ask them appropriate questions regarding exposure and/or symptoms... they don't know.

So, in an effort to help protect you, society, alllll healthcare providers and myself. Get to learning! Don't ignore the topic. It's out there whether you like it or not. Help keep everyone safe. (and this goes beyond just using a condom!)

You can find more about this article here.

New Hope for Stopping HIV

Testing and Medical Care Save Lives


Too many people don't know they have HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). About 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the US but about 240,000 don't know they are infected. Each year, about 50,000 people get infected with HIV in the US. Getting an HIV test is the first step to finding out if you have HIV and getting medical care. Without medical care, HIV leads to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) and early death.
There's new hope today for stopping HIV in the US. Medicines (antiretroviral therapy or ART) can lower the level of virus in the body. ART helps people with HIV live longer, healthier lives and also lowers the chances of passing HIV on to others. However, only 28% are getting the care they need to manage the disease and keep the virus under control. To help stop HIV, get tested. If you have HIV, get medical care and work with your health care provider to control the virus and not pass it on to others.
Learn what you can do to prevent HIV through testing and medical care.


Many people don't know they have HIV or take all the actions to control it.

Testing: More people need to be tested for HIV.
  • 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the US.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 people (about 240,000) don't know they are infected.
  • Getting an HIV test can lead to getting the medical care needed to stay healthy longer.
  • People who don't know they have HIV have a higher risk of serious medical problems and early death.
  • People who don't know they have HIV can also pass the virus on to others without knowing it.
  • Youth and adults should get tested to learn their HIV status.
  • People who are at greater risk for infection (have more than one sex partner, inject drugs, or are men who have sex with other men) should get tested once a year or more often.
Treating: Many people with HIV do not receive the medical care they need.
  • Lowering the amount of virus in the body can keep a person with HIV healthy longer.
  • Keeping the virus under control with medicines greatly lowers the chances of passing HIV on to others.
  • Only 28% of all people with HIV know they are infected, get regular medical care, take ART and have the HIV virus under control.
  • The number of people with HIV who get AIDS has decreased over time because of advances in medical care and ART.  Still, more than 16,000 people with AIDS die each year.
  • Public health professionals and health care providers should help people with HIV make sure to get regular HIV medical care and take their medicines.
Prevention Counseling: Only 45% of people with HIV getting medical care received prevention counseling from their health care providers in the past year.
  • Prevention counseling teaches patients how to stay as healthy as possible and prevent passing HIV on to others.  Prevention services include STD testing and treatment services, drug rehab, assistance in notifying partners, housing assistance, financial assistance and other services.
  • People with HIV should get prevention counseling and services as a part of regular HIV care.
  • People with HIV whose virus is controlled still need prevention counseling and prevention services regularly. 
Graphic: Route to Healthy Living with HIV and Preventing New Infections

HIV care in the United States

1.2 million people are living with HIV

What Can Be Done

Icon: People

Everyone can:

  • Lower risky sexual behavior by not having sex, having sex with only one partner who you know is uninfected, or using a condom every time you have anal, vaginal, or oral sex.
  • Ask your doctor for an HIV test.
  • Get medical care as soon as possible if you have HIV, to stay healthier longer and to keep from passing the virus on to others.
  • Get tested if you live in a community where HIV is more common.
  • Get tested once a year or more often if you have more than one sex partner, inject drugs or are a man who has sex with other men.
Icon: US Government

US Government can:

  • Develop guidelines for health care providers on testing and medical care.
  • Educate health care providers and the public about the importance of HIV testing and medical care.
  • Fund programs that support effective HIV prevention services and medical care.
  • Identify and track differences in medical care, illness and death across different groups of people.
  • Help meet the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, including getting all people with HIV into care. (see /www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/onap/nhasExternal Web Site Icon
State and local health departments

State and local health departments can:

  • Fund programs that support effective HIV prevention services and medical care.
  • Create programs and policies to test people at risk for HIV early and often.
  • Provide information about where people can get an HIV test such aswww.hivtest.orgExternal Web Site Icon.
  • Educate people about the benefits of HIV testing, regular care, and treatment.
  • Get people who have HIV infection connected to HIV medical care.
  • Promote HIV prevention counseling and services as a regular part of care.
  • Support community actions to prevent new HIV infections and help people with HIV.
  • Help meet the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, including getting all people with HIV into care.
Icon: Health care providers

Health care providers can:

  • Offer their patients an HIV test as a regular part of medical care.
  • Offer their patients STD testing and treatment services.
  • Prescribe ART as needed for patients with HIV and make sure the amount of virus is as low as possible.
  • Make sure people with HIV continue getting HIV medical care.
  • Provide HIV prevention counseling to patients on how to protect their health and avoid passing the virus on to others; refer to other prevention services (for example, partner counseling) as needed.