Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Freedom Plaza 9/20 HIV Testing Rally: Us Helpi...Image by FightHIVinDC via FlickrWashington residents can now test for HIV when obtaining a drivers licence...

 Residents of the nation's capital can now get a driver's license and free HIV testing --both  at the same time.

A Department of Motor Vehicles branch in southeast Washington is offering testing for the disease under a pilot program aimed at educating residents and reducing stigma.

"We realize that this is a nontraditional setting, but this program is about normalizing HIV and extending testing opportunities," said Angela Fulwood Wood, chief operations officer for nonprofit Family and Medical Counseling Service. "We chose the DMV because it offers a good cross-section of people."

The nonprofit chose this particular branch -- the Penn Branch -- because infection rates have gone up in the area, Wood said.

Penn Branch also has the most visitors and can accommodate confidential space to take the HIV test, local officials said.

Results of the free oral test are available in 20 minutes. Test takers will get $15 to go toward DMV costs, but Wood emphasizes that knowing one's status is the primary incentive.

"Our goal is to touch base with all the people who come into the DMV," Wood said. "We want to stress this project is about education as it is about testing."

Wood said those who opt not to find out their status at the DMV office will get information on other free sites to get tested.

Gilead Sciences, a California-based pharmaceutical company, provided a $250,000 grant to fund the program, according to Wood.

District officials have partnered with Family and Medical Counseling Service to provide the one-year pilot.

The nonprofit will offer testing and counseling, and help those who test positive get medical help through a provider of their choice, said Dr. Pierre Vigilance, director of the D.C. Department of Health.

More than 3 percent of adults and adolescents are living with HIV in the capital, among the highest rates in the nation, according to Vigilance. Nationally, the prevalence of the disease is 0.5 percent.

Officials were optimistic as the program kicked off Tuesday.

The first-day response was "excellent ... there has been a line waiting to get the HIV test," Vigilance said.

"Many people have to wait for some of the DMV services and the rapid HIV test takes only 20 minutes. It fits perfectly with the waiting times."

Acknowledgements: CNN News

Monday, October 04, 2010

Geert WildersImage via Wikipedia

Islam the new enemy for the German far right...

Islam now appears to be the enemy of the German far right; with Dutch far right populist Geert Wilders urging Germans to to form a party to fight Islam. He received a rousing reception during an indoor closed door meeting recently where he directly challenged the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

It was back in the late 1920's and early 1930's that another non-German challenged authority and the German government - he went by the name of Adolph Hitler and become a populist in the image of Gert Wilders and helped form the German Nationalist Socialists (Nazi Party) ad brought down the German Government from within and without. He became the dictator of Germany and Europe and plunged Germany into war with most of the world.

Gert Wilders is following a similar path to Hitler with his Freedom Party propping up the new centre-right Dutch Government, and is now facing charges in Amsterdam of inciting racial hatred by comparing it to Mein Kampf. Hitler was also imprisoned for a short period before he led the Nazi Party to power in Germany

He blamed the Jews as the cause of all Germany's economic and social problems and now we have a scenario of another populist trying to use Muslims as the demigod causing all of western Europe's economic and social problems. However he has toned down his rhetoric in his home country, Holland, during the last fortnight.

But he has been venting his spleen in next door Germany, drawing thunderous applause from 500 conservative sympathisers crammed in to a hotel conference room.

He has been telling Germany to free itself from the guilt of its Nazi past." The crimes of the Nazi era are not an excuse to refuse to fight for your identity. Your responsibility is to avoid the mistakes of the past." he told the audience.

He told them that the cardinal error of the interwar years was to fail to identify the dangers to democracy. Islam had become a political ideology pitted against western civilization.

Geert Wilders has been charged with inciting hatred, and discrimination against Muslims, and insulting Moroccans and other non-western foreigners. He is responsible for an anti-Islam film FITNA and has made numerous provocative statements about Muslims.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

A zero tolerance for all smoking in New Zealand...

(Newser) – California residents caught holding small amounts of marijuana are now barely criminals in the eyes of the law. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into effect a measure that downgrades possession of less than an ounce from a misdemeanor to a lowly infraction, on par with a speeding ticket, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The move comes a month ahead of a proposition to legalize recreational use altogether.

Schwarzenegger, who opposes the proposition to legalize, explained his surprising support for the new law as a cost-cutting move for police and prosecutors. Those caught with pot face a fine of $100, but they won't be arrested or face trial. Nor will the mark show up on a criminal record. "It's one more small victory," says the originator of Prop 19.

I can't say I support Schwarzenegger, but thats California's decision. New Zealand won't be following suit any time soon. Smoking dope is still illegal here and dope smokers will cop it if they persist in smoking or are in possession of marijuana in public. I have absolutely no sympathy for them. We are battling cigarette smoking in NZ and going soft on dope and dope smokers will not help our society at all. Smoking in bars, restaurants and other places has been illegal for a number of years, as has smoking at work and in public buildings.

 A zero tolerance for all types of smoking should be taken. Opposition groups have made no inroads here, despite having a left of centre government for nine years. They will not overcome!