Monthly Archives: May 2020

A Fragile Lifeline: Lessons I Learned Answering The Aids Hotline

Dial 1-800/AIDSNYC

Every Monday and Wednesday morning, promptly at 10 a.m., I leave behind

my daily life and turn to volunteering as an AIDS Hotline counselor at New York

City’s GMHC [Gay Men’s Health Crisis], the nation’s largest social service

agency for AIDS.

For the next four hours, my co-volunteers and I sit in front of a bank of

constantly-ringing telephones, talking to men, women, and teens who call in

from across the nation with urgent questions about AIDS, the ravaging disease

that has left 13.9 million people dead worldwide.

After almost 20 years, a whole generation, families are still facing the

heartache of tending the sick, while scientists continue to be confounded by

this stubborn, ravaging virus.

Although the federal government currently spends$4 billion per year on

AIDS research, and $15 billion worldwide, there is no cure in sight for the viral

infection and no vaccine available. Small wonder that the GMHC AIDS Hotline,

the nation’s first, is flooded with more than 40,000 calls each year.

Listening to callers 8 hours each week, I often think the Hotline is actually a

direct link to the soul of callers–an anonymous forum that allows each to

reveal secrets and fears that they might otherwise never discuss with anyone.

A Morning in May

This is the way it began: “Good morning, GMHC AIDS Hotline, can I help

you?”

“Yes…I have a question…[hesitantly] My son…he’s 21…and he just found

out…he’s HIV-positive [voice breaking] I’m…..alone, divorced. And I need some

help…someone to talk to…”

“Of course….happy to talk to you…it sounds like this has been devastating

for you….”

“It’s terrible. He told me two nights ago….he’s…he’s so young….I don’t

want him to die. He’s my only child….why did this have to happen?” [crying]

Her son, she explains, had sometimes neglected using condoms, convinced

he wouldn’t contract HIV infection from his female partners.

“How could he be so stupid?” she now asks angrily. “Why didn’t he know

how to protect himself? I don’t understand. What am I going to do?”

We talk for 35 minutes, and by the end of the conversation, I notice I’m

barely breathing. The distraught woman’s anguish is palpable. Her situation is

every mother’s worst nightmare.The life of her child is in jeopardy and she

feels helpless and afraid. I can’t imagine anything worse.

During the call, I do my best to employ the GMHC Hotline protocol of “active

listening,” which involves using silence, empathy and gentle probing with

open-ended questions. I’m also having my own emotional reaction to the panic

in her voice, and I’m worried about whether I’m doing enough.

Toward the end of the clal, when she exclaims: “I don’t want my baby to

die,” my heart plummets: “I know….I understand that, but there is hope,” I tell

her. I find myself on the verge of tears.

The Bad News

This mother’s story is too common. According to the Centers for Disease

Control in Atlanta, Ga., 40,000 Americans (half of them under 25) are newly

infected with the AIDS virus each year. Unprotected sex and intravenous drug

use remain the principal modes of   transmission .

“Teenagers,” notes AIDS activist Elizabeth Taylor, “are being very hard hit.”

She refers to the three million adolescents who contract a sexually-transmitted

disease annually.

“Heterosexual teenage football players who are healthy and drink milk can

get it too!” says the 71-year-old actress, who has singlehandedly raised $150

million for AIDS research. “But teens are very ignorant and feel invincible. They

believe there’s an invisible shield protecting them from the virus, when it’s

actually aimed right at them.”

Taylor believes in addressing the problem head-on: “Tell your teenage son:

‘Maybe a condom doesn’t feel as good, but if it saves your life, it’s better than

being six feet under.’ Intelligence must replace random sex.”

Although a new generation of AIDS-fighting medications is prolonging the

lives of thousands, nearly half of the 900,000 people infected with HIV in the

U.S. cannot afford these drugs. Since the virus was discovered in l981, 410,800

Americans have died from AIDS-related complications, and the disease has left

13.9 million dead worldwide.

Who Calls a Hotline?

Not long ago I took a call from a 15-year-old boy living in a small town who

said he feels guilty about his sexual attraction to other boys and is scared to

discuss this with his parents. I ask him if there’s a school counselor or relative

he might talk to, but he says he’s too afraid to confide in anyone.

Being a teenager is hard enough, I thought, without the pressure of

keeping this kind of secret. I felt angry and saddened that this child can’t

comfortably discuss his feelings with his own parents.

I encourage him to call the Gay Community Center Youth Program in a

nearby city. In the meantime, I assured him that he could call our Hotline

anytime, that we’d be there for him.

This call was typical of the many we get from teenagers,whispering from

their parents’ homes, confiding their blossoming sexual feelings and concerns.

Our Hotline also receives calls from married men who phone from their offices,

worried about extramarital sexual encounters; gay men suffering side effects

from medications; mothers caring for a sick child or grieving for one lost to

AIDS; even health care professionals themselves confused and requiring

burnout support.

One particular morning, I’m struck by the number of single women who

turn to our hotline for help. At 10:15 a.m. a distraught young woman calls,

explaining that she had been dating someone “very charismatic,” after a two-

year period of sexual abstinence.

“At first we used condoms and I was taking the pill to avoid pregnancy,” she

says. But after her partner assured her he was HIV-negative, the couple began

having unprotected sex. A few months into the relationship, she recounts, his

behavior became “unpredictable,” until he finally admitted he was sleeping with

other women and was addicted to heroin. Now she has to withstand the

“terror” of waiting 3 months before getting an HIV antibody test. To help her

cope, I give her the names of three terapists in her area. The call lasts 43

minutes.

At 11:15 a.m. I take a call from a woman who is breathing heavily.

She says that four months earlier she’d had a brief affair with a limousine

driver, “not out of passion, but because I felt lonely. This was so totally unlike

me,” she continues. “I come from a traditional Orthodox Jewish family…”

Although they used condoms, and she has since tested negative for HIV, she

feels deeply ashamed, and has stopped seeing him. And because she has both

a persistent vaginal yeast infection and a rash on her neck, she’s convinced she

must be infected by HIV.

Although rashes, high fever, swollen lymph glands, heavy night sweats, sore

throat, or other flu-like symptoms may indicate HIV, they can just as easily

accompany the common cold or flu, or other type of infection. I encourage her

to seek medical help and counseling, but the calls ends on a down note. “I

must have it [AIDS],” she moans. I’m exasperated because it doesn’t sound

that way to me, yet I can’t get through to her. The call lasts 22 minutes.

It’s 11.38 a.m. when a well-spoken woman, who says she’s an attorney,

calls from her office, asking for the names of anonymous testing sites. At first

very businesslike, she calmly takes down all the information. I ask her why

she’s considering a test. Total silence. Then she begins to cry: “I….I can’t

talk….I’m sorry…you see, I have swollen lymph glands….[crying]….And my

doctor wants to rule out HIV…I feel overwhelmed…” Then, abruptly: “Where

can I send a donation?” She thanks me and hurries off the phone after just 3

minutes.

These were one-time callers, but, as in any epidemic, an element of panic

prevails, and our hotline also attracts an army of “chronic” or repeat callers

who are intensely fearful no matter how benign their risk, many revealing

continued misconceptions and paranoia about a disease that can be effectively

prevented. We do our best to help them, but often they’re impervious to

counseling.

Most poignant are calls we get from AIDS patients, phoning from their

hospital beds, attempting to navigate the exhausting labyrinth of insurance

and health care matters. One man, in hospice care, said he craved

companionship and missed the “good old days” when he was handsome and

healthy.

That call was a tough one for me as just the day before a close friend of

mine, Joe, who had battled HIV for 16 years, had finally succumbed. Although

at the end Joe was a mere skeleton, he was nonetheless at peace. “I’ve done

what I wanted to,” he told me on our last visit. An avid gardener, he insisted

on a final trip to his country house to see his garden one last time. For a

moment the caller’s reality and the memory of my deceased friend blurred in

my mind and I was overcome. Time for a break.

Face to Face

One of the most and unique services GMHC offers is called “A-Team

Counseling,” a one-time, in-person session that’s free and anonymous.

Recently, I was on an A-Team counselling a 26-year-old HIV-infected

mother from the Midwest. She had traveled to Manhattan by bus to find her

estranged boyfriend, who, she recounted tearfully, had kidnapped her 7-year-

old son. Disheveled, painfully thin, the woman was a disturbing sight. She’s

learned that the two had already returned home where the boyfriend was, and

the child put in his grandmother’s custory. custody of his grandmother.

Meanwhile she’d run out of money for the return trip, been refused a loan by

her family, lost her ID, gone hungry and spent two nights on the street.

Fortunately, this woman was registered at a local AIDS organization in her

town. I telephoned her caseworker and persuaded him to buy her a one-way

Greyhound bus ticket for $115.00. I also gave her subway tokens, a basket of

food, juice and coffee. Smiling shyly, she thanked me for caring.

Shaking hands good-bye with this woman was a bittersweet farewell. What

will happen to her? I wondered will her health deteriorate or improve? Will she

gain control of her life and be able to provide for her son? I’ll never know. One

thing I do know: She’d appeared with the sorrow of a difficult life in her eyes,

but when she left, she was elated at the thought of being reunited with her

child. It seems that with faith and a helping hand, almost anything is possible.

* * * * *

10 BIGGEST MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT AIDS AND HIV

(This list would probably be most effective when presented in a vertical chart,

the misconception on the left, the correct answer on the right.)

1)The AIDS virus can be transmitted through saliva, sweat, tears, urine or feces;

also through deep kissing.

1) HIV can ONLY be transmitted through four bodily fluids: blood, semen,

vaginal secretions and breast milk–and can also be transmitted from a mother

to her child before birth, during birth, or while breast feeding. The exchange

of saliva through kissing is no-risk, unless the saliva has blood in it and both

you and your partner are bleeding in the mouth simultaneously.

2) HIV may also be transmitted through casual contact with an infected person.

2) You can’t get infected from toilet seats, phones or water fountains. The virus

can’t be transmitted in the air through sneezing or coughing. You can’t get

HIV from sharing utensils or food or from touching, or hugging. HIV dies after

being exposed to the air. Therefore, touching dried blood on a shaving blade, a

toothbrush or a bathroom counter top is no risk. In any case, unbroken skin is

impermeable, like a rubber raincoat, and cannot absorb the virus whether it’s

alive or dead.

Blood transfusions and medical procedures in the U.S. are safe. Giving blood is

completely risk-free. The chance of getting HIV from dentists or other health

care providers is too low even to measure.You can’t get it from mosquitoes or

other insect or animal bites.

3) Oral sex is just as risky as vaginal or anal intercourse.

3) Although not 100% risk-free, oral sex is considered a low-risk

activity,except if: you have bleeding gums, recent dental work, open sores such

as a herpes lesion, any cut, blister, or burn in the mouth, or if you’ve just

brushed or flossed your teeth. Also, oral sex with an infected woman is riskier

if she is having her period, since menstrual blood can contain HIV. Overall,

latex barriers, (such as condoms or dental dams) used during oral sex reduce

the  transmission  of not just HIV, but other sexual transmitted diseases.

4) Animal skin, latex and polyurethane condoms are all equally effective in

preventing HIV infection and you can use ANY lubrication on the condom

desired.

4)Only latex or polyurethane condoms may be used, as HIV can pass through

an animal skin condom. With latex condoms, only water-based lubricants–like

K-Y jelly or H-R jelly–may be used. No lubricants with oil, alcohol, or grease

are safe.Petroleum jelly,Vaseline, Crisco, mineral oil, baby oil, massage oil,

butter and most hand creams can weaken the condom and cause it to split.

However, with polyurethane condoms, petroleum-based lubricants can be

used.

5) Women have to rely on men using condoms during intercourse to protect

themselves against HIV.

5) Women may employ the “female condom,” a plastic sheath that can be

inserted in their vaginas and used for protection against HIV. It can be inserted

up to 8 hours before sex, has rings at both ends to hold it in place and can be

lubricated with oil-based lubricants that stay wet longer. In addition, women

can carry conventional condoms for their male partners’ use.

6) If a woman is HIV-positive, her offspring will automatically be born infected

with HIV.

6) With no medical treatment taken, about 25% of HIV-positive women will

give birth to infants who are also infected. However, the use of anti-HIV

medications has resulted in a significant decrease of mother-to-child

 transmission  of HIV in utero and during delivery to less than 5%. (NYT 10/19/

99].

7) AIDS is fundamentally a gay disease contracted by white males.

7) Recent data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

indicate that young gay Hispanic and African-American men and heterosexual

women are the fastest growing segment of the population being infected with

HIV. Women now account for 43% of all HIV infected people over age 15. [NYT

11/24/98] African-American and Hispanic women account for more than 76%

of AIDS cases among women in the U.S.

8) Heterosexual men are not really at risk for contracting HIV, even if they

don’t use condoms.

8) The inside opening of the penis is composed of highly-absorbent, sponge-

like mucous membrane tissues, which can provide a route for HIV-infected

vaginal secretions or blood to enter the bloodstream. Proper condom use

protects men from infection.

9) The AIDS epidemic is largely over because new AIDS medications like

protease inhibitors and others have turned AIDS into a chronic, not a terminal

disease.

9) In the U.S., AIDS is the fifth leading cause of death for people 25-44 years

old. Roughly half of all those infected with HIV in the U.S. are not receiving any

medications or medical care. AIDS now kills more people worldwide than any

other infection, including malaria and tuberculosis.[NYT 11/24/98] In 1998

alone, 2.5 million people died of AIDS worldwide. 13.9 million people have

died since the virus was discovered in 1981.

10) If you think you’ve been exposed to HIV through unprotected sex, you can

take an HIV antibody test 2 weeks later and get an accurate result.

10) The standard “window” or waiting period remains a full 3 months. However,

because the widely-used HIV antibody tests (The ELISA and Western Blot) have

become so sensitive, about 95% of people will procure an accurate result 4-6

weeks after a possible exposure to the virus.

* * * *

[Note:The information stated above was reviewed for medical accuracy by Dr.

Todd J. Yancey, an infectious disease specialist practicing in New York City and

affiliated with New York Presbyterian Hospital, NY, Cornell Campus.]

THE CHILD LIFE PROGRAM

“Mommy takes a lot of medicine and Mommy’s really tired sometimes and she

can’t take you to the park as much as she used to. It’s not that I don’t love

you…and that I don’t want to…but Uncle Jack’s going to take you to the park

today.” –A mother living with AIDS, a client at GMHC, talking to her 6-year-

old son.

In New York City alone, 28,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS since the

epidemic began [NYT 12/13/98]

GMHC’s unique Child Life Program serves HIV-infected parents and their

children–who may, or may not, be infected with the virus. “We help families

strengthen their ability to cope, relieve the pressure of parenting with support

services, and teach parents how to talk to their kids,” says Child Life Program

Coordinator Alison Ferst. “Unfortunately, should a parent or child be sick

enough to be facing death, we also help them walk through it with grace and

dignity—as opposed to feeling alone, isolated and frightened.

“We also encourage sick parents to make stable legal plans for their

children who may be left behind,” adds Ferst, “and to have disclosure

conversations with the children in advance, so you don’t have a child standing

at her mother’s funeral, not sure where she’s going next.”

When an HIV-infected Mom arrives at GMHC to have lunch, attend a support

group, consult with a lawyer, or access the acupuncture clinic, she can leave

her children in a spacious playroom, decorated with fanciful murals and a giant

tree hand-painted by the famed children’s story writer and illustrator, Maurice

Sendak, who donated his art. [see photos] The program provides: child-

sitting, nutrition services, a food pantry, art and magic classes, and

recreational trips–church picnics, seasonal apple-pumpkin picking,

amusement parks, zoos, museums, beaches. Also: homework help sessions,

holiday parties, hospital visits, summer sports and weekly support groups for

HIV- positive parents and their HIV-negative children.

This unique program also features: Cooking classes for kids who sometimes

prepare meals for sick parents; Pediatric Buddies, GMHC adult volunteers who

play with sick children and also assist with family chores; Fun With Feelings

Support Group, Friday Evening Family Time, Birthday parties, and a Holiday Gift

Drive.

“Children infected or affected by AIDS,” concludes Ferst, “want to be like

other kids: They want to play with their friends, want to know that someone

will always take care of them, want to know they’re not alone, and often

wonder if it’s their fault when Mom or Dad gets sick.” These children need a

helping hand and any of us can provide one.

Pit Bikes – How to Decide Which One to Buy

A pit bike differs from the dirt bikes and the mini motos in the size of their engines and the power packed in their engines. A pit bike usually has a larger engine and comes fitted with a manual gearbox and gears whereas minimotos come packed with automatic   transmission  and a centrifugal clutch.

The average maximum speed for most of the Pit bikes available readily in the market is anywhere between 40-50mph, but if you add a few accessories to your bike, you can surely get a lot more fire and power from your engine.

It is because of these performance enhancing parts, which are now becoming readily available and the otherwise constant improvement in the performance of the bikes that people have started taking a lot more interest in these bikes. It has also resulted in the setting up of various Pit Bike races and shows on international level. The popularity of this bike is going the dirt bike way. Leagues and international venues are being setup in a fashion similar to the way in which dirt biking was promoted.

Dirt bikes and dirt biking became a fashion and a sport for the adventure lovers in the 90s. There appeared a lot of leagues and similarly sponsors around that time. Dirtbiking stars suddenly became famous overnight and names like Destry Abbot, Jeremy McGrath, Derek Costella and Ryan Ambrigo became idols of dirtbiking enthusiasts.

These pro dirtbikers are a regular appearance at the famous races and shows at Las Vegas each year. These people are now also promoting pit bikes and have been spotted at various pit biking events.

Pit bikes of late have found a lot of manufacturers, both those manufacturing out of their own garage and the large companies involved in the manufacturing of other bikes as well.

Pit bikes are available in the market upwards of $500 and the price increases with the engine power, and the make. For a Pit biking enthusiast a good choice would be MonsterMoto’s 125CC bike. This bike has a 4 stroke air cooled engine and the maximum power that it can generate is roughly 9HP @ 8500 rpm. The compression ratio is about 9.6:1.

This is a good value buy because the engine is made by a company that also supplies engines to Honda, which manufactures sports bikes for events like Moto Grand Prix (Moto GP)

You can also customize your Pit bike like people do to their dirt bikes. While you can add a few parts to enhance the look of your bike, you can add a few to increase the bike’s performance. You can buy a coloured muffler to enhance you bike’s look for about $90 and you can also buy a BBR style exhaust, a stainless steel exhaust for increasing the performance of the bike.

You can similarly buy different fuel systems, carburetors etc. to improve the efficiency of the bike and also buy various accessories like alloy wheels to enhance the bikes looks.

Truly speaking, Dirt bikes and pit bikes are here to stay and will continue to rush adrenaline through the blood of all those who love adventure sitting on two wheels.

Is Your Motorcycle Fully Protected?

Are you really sure your motorcycle is fully protected?

As, no doubt you know, the oil you use in your motorcycle lubricates the engine and the   transmission . If you do not keep close track and regularly change that oil you could be looking at a huge bill from the repair shop. Could be “just” an engine or “just” a  transmission  or both.

Clean oil is vital to engine performance and durability. Oil must lubricate, cool and clean the engine as it circulates and in order to remain effective, it must be filtered as it cycles.

What about the oil filter you use?

If you do use a long-life oil, does your filter last as long as the oil?

Some filters are only good for 3,000 miles. Some filters seem to be good for nothing. Some filters are good for as long as your oil will last. Is the filter available in CHROME? I know I like a lot of chrome on my bike, even if it is “just an oil filter”!

What is that filter made of?

The unique construction and full-synthetic media of AMSOIL Ea Motorcycle Oil Filters allow them to provide unmatched performance in motorcycles and other power sports equipment. EaOM Filters last longer, stop smaller dirt particles and offer less restriction than other filters. Ea Motorcycle Oil Filters provide filtering efficiency of 98.7 percent at 15 microns, outperforming the best cellulose/synthetic blend media on the market. And did I ask: Is your filter available in CHROME?

What are you protecting your paint with?

Hemorrhoids and Anal Warts

It’s pretty bad when you find out you’ve got hemorrhoids, but it can be a lot worse if you get hemorrhoids confused with another health issue. I mean, the pain, anxiety and embarrassment of discovering something wrong in the anal area is bad enough, much less not knowing exactly what you’ve got. On the bright side, there aren’t too many health conditions that can come up in that area. One of the most common health conditions confused with hemorrhoids is anal warts. While neither is very much fun, they stem from entirely different causes and are treated in very different ways.

Anal warts, also known as condyloma acuminata, are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). This virus is highly contagious and most often transmitted through sexual intercourse. Some strains of HPV can lead to increased risk of cervical cancer, but these are not the same strains as the ones that cause anal warts. The virus gets into the skin or mucous tissue cells and starts making them grow in the distinctive wart pattern. HPV infection does not lead to hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids originate from weak points in hemorrhoidal veins below the skin or mucous tissue. As the weak point gives way, it stretches out and takes surrounding tissue with it. Traumatized hemorrhoids may get infected with a variety of bacteria and/or viruses, but infection does not lead to hemorrhoids. That would be like putting the cart before the horse.

Anal warts and hemorrhoids can both feel like lumps or masses of tissue around the anal area. However, there are several differences that can lead to a proper identification upon close inspection. While doing a close inspection may not sound like fun, it’s much better than trying unsuccessfully to treat the wrong thing. Upon said close inspection, anal warts have a distinctive “rough” texture and range in size from the head of a pin to about the size of a pea and are rather hard to the touch. They occur in clusters around the anal opening and may sometimes continue up towards the genital area. They almost never occur alone. Hemorrhoids, on the other hand, have a smooth texture that’s identical to the tissue they originate from, whether that’s external skin or internal mucous membrane. They are often soft or “squishy” to the touch, and they range in size from the size of a pea to the size of a grape. You’ll never find them anywhere except right around the anal opening. In addition, warts almost never hurt, though they may itch a bit. External hemorrhoids, on the other hand, often hurt quite a lot.

Hemorrhoids are usually best treated at home through a high-fiber diet, a healthy amount of exercise, and easily obtained over the counter relief. Home remedies often work well on hemorrhoids and surgery is only rarely needed. Anal warts, on the other hand, always have to be treated surgically, usually on an outpatient basis. The warts will not go away on their own. Instead, a physician has to use liquid nitrogen to freeze them off. In addition, hemorrhoids can often be kept away by keeping the lifestyle changes that were made to help cure them. Anal warts will often come back for no reason under your control, because the virus can live dormant in your skin cells for a long time. One day that virus can wake up and bam, you’ve got anal warts again.

So, as you can see, getting anal warts confused with hemorrhoids can lead to some serious problems. At the least you’ll be stuck trying to treat a problem you don’t have for a while. Why waste all that time and discomfort? If you can’t figure out what you’ve got on your own, make a doctor’s appointment and get your diagnosis confirmed. It’ll save you a lot of trouble, pain and grief in the long run.

How to Calculate Window Tint Visible Light Transmission (VLT)

Window tinting films are measured in visible light transmission levels (or VLT). This means that when we discuss a particular film, be it for fitting to a car or any other application, we normally refer to it with it’s VLT value. VLT is measured in percentage ( % ), so if you hear about a tint product being referred to as a percentage, it is the VLT that defines that percentage value.

For example, a tinting film referred to as Charcoal 5% is a charcoal coloured tint with a VLT of 5% and likewise a film referred to as green 50% is a green coloured tint film with a VLT of 50%. But what does the number actually mean?

Well, in simple terms the VLT value is the percentage of visible light that will be allowed to travel through the window tinting film from the exterior face side of the film to the interior side. This means that a 5% film will only allow 5% light travel through and a 70% film will allow 70% light to travel. In effect, this means that lower VLT films will appear darker. For instance, it is normally 5% tints that we will see on limousines for privacy.

So, fitting a 5% tint to a window will allow 5% light to travel through the glass from outside to inside, right? NO! Because we need to take into consideration the actual VLT of the window before the tint is even installed. There is no such thing as a piece of glass, no matter how clear it appears, with a VLT of 100%. This is because glass naturally filters out a little bit of visible light.

Lets look at car window tinting as this is one area where we speak of VLT often due to the fact that many countries have laws in place limiting how dark car windows should be tinted. Most modern cars come from factory with windows reading a VLT somewhere between 72% and 78%, depending on manufacturer, model and country. Say, our example car’s windows read at 72% and we add a 50% window tinting film, what is the new and final VLT of our car’s windows after installation?

The sum is very simple: V1 x V2 = V3 (Where V1 is the original VLT of the glass before tinting, V2 is the VLT of the window tinting film and V3 is the final VLT value of the glass with tint film applied).

Our car’s windows original VLT = 72% and the tint = 50 %, thus V1 = 72 and V2 = 50

The sum is 72 x 0.50 giving us 36, which we will express as a percentage. So a window with an original VLT of 72% will then have a VLT of 36% after application of a 50% film.

Video Conferences

Videoconferences are groupware technologies that enable people in two or more locations to interact simultaneously by merging video, voice call, file sharing, instant messaging, and internet co-browsing across both Windows & Mac operating systems. Thanks to advancements high speed web connectivity, videoconferences are now more widely available at a lower cost. New, cheaper technologies such as the webcam, software compression and affordable broadband connections allow even personal users – not just business users – to enjoy video conferencing.

More importantly, video conferences have become extremely helpful in the field of medicine. It is now being applied to telemedicine – it is used to help diagnose patients remotely, conduct remote consultation, and transmit medical images and other pressing data all in real time.

Peripheral applications such as microscopes with built-in digital cameras, ultrasound tools, “videoendoscopes,” and many other related technologies can be connected to videoconferencing technology to transmit patient data. Stay-at-home patients can easily access nurses and physicians especially during medical emergency. Videoconferences also allow medical professionals to discuss cases and consult each other across large distances. Best of all, videoconferences allow patients in remote rural areas to get modern diagnosis without leaving their localities.

Videoconferences are now also widely available in schools and other educational institutions. Students, teachers and lecturers from the world over can hold classes together and even transmit these classes to isolated locations. Videoconferences have also lowered the costs of education, because students gain access to classes that their schools cannot afford to offer within their own vicinity for a lower cost.

Foreign language classes, for example, can be conducted from a remote university and transmitted to a recipient school. In some cases, videoconferences can replace field trips – economically disadvantaged students who cannot go personally to zoos, museums or to trips to other countries can immerse themselves in the same experience through the technology.

HIV Education in the Schools Across America

AIDS has devastated the lives of many citizens in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that the number of AIDS infections among young Americans between the ages of 13 to 25 rose nearly 20 percent, and approximately 50 percent of new infections are among individuals who are younger than 25 years of age. Therefore, finding better methods to communicate the risk of AIDS transmission are greatly needed to protect our young people and preserve the next generation.

Young people in the United States are at a persistent risk of HIV infection. This risk is especially notable for youth of minority races and ethnicities. Continued HIV prevention outreach and education efforts, including programs on abstinence and delaying initiation of sexual relations, are required as new generations replace the older generations that benefited from earlier prevention strategies.

I believe that there should be more HIV and AIDS education in the school systems across America. I feel that this is an area of education that we could improve to protect and preserve our next generation. There are two reasons that I feel this way. My first reason is to prevent a student from being discriminated against, and the second reason is giving education to the students on preventing the spread of this disease.

My first reason for believing there should be more education about HIV and AIDS in the school system is the way I was treated when I was diagnosed with HIV. I was diagnosed with HIV at 14 years old and due to the lack of education to the teaching staff in the earlier years; I wasn’t permitted to attend class in a regular school setting. Instead I was forced to be home schooled by the board of education, (homebound program) in which I wasn’t taught all the subjects as a regular student would be. I wasn’t taught mathematics at a high school level so when I decided to attend college I had a lot of difficulties in the area of mathematics. On the other hand, English was drilled into my head like a nail, which I am grateful for. The reason for this was that my homebound teacher was an English Professor before she started teaching in the homebound program.

Even though I wasn’t taught as well as those students attending classes in a regular school setting, I have become an excellent student in college despite my difficulties in math. I do believe, however, that the school system has gotten better. I haven’t had any problems with discrimination while attending college. That, at least, is a good thing!

Secondly, I feel that if there had been more education on the prevention and spread of this disease, I might not have contracted it. Had I known about the risks of this disease, I may not be infected today. Even though I contracted HIV through a blood transfusion, maybe if I had been more educated on the ways it is transmitted, I could have somehow prevented myself from becoming infected.

Therefore, I believe that there should be more education for students. The students are our next generation. They should be educated about the risks of HIV infection. I feel it should be a requirement for the schools to inform students about the dangers of the disease as well as the myths of being around someone who is infected.

Even now I feel I have to be careful when I disclose my diagnosis, which prevents me from making friends for fear of being rejected. I feel that if there were more education, I could feel more comfortable talking about my situation of having this disease. Ultimately, I wouldn’t be afraid of causing a panic among my peers. Finally, I believe with more education it would prevent the rise of students becoming infected with this disease. I believe that it is our obligation to protect the next generation.

Tips for Success During College

1. Taking a year off before starting college usually does not work; “find yourself” during the Summer after you graduate from high school. The best time to start and complete college is between the ages of 18 and 22. It is more difficult to start and complete college after these ages, because your responsibilities increase as you become older

2. Understand the number of classes and credits that you will need to graduate, and spread them over the number of semesters it will take for you to graduate; typically 8 semesters over 4 years. Note, some colleges refer to “units” and “semester hours”, instead of “classes” and “credits”. If you take classes during the Summer, you can lighten your load during the school year or graduate early. Note also, an increasing number of students are completing college over 5 years, instead of the customary 4 years.

3. Do not wait until the last minute to schedule your classes.

4. When choosing classes, take one tough class, two moderate classes, and one easy class; do not bury yourself by taking all difficult classes in a semester.

5. Spread your classes over at least 4 days per week. This will typically spread out your final exams. You want to avoid having to take multiple final exams on a given day.

6. Ask other students about their experiences with professors, and keep a list of the good and bad professors. Professors are also rated on the internet. Avoid the bad professors.

7. When scheduling classes, be cognizant of the location of such classes. You do not want to have to hurry between classes to avoid being late.

8. Get your books ahead of time whenever possible.

9. At the beginning of each semester, schedule all projects and exams; stay organized throughout each semester; utilize a written or electronic planner.

10. Turn your phone off while attending class, and while studying.

11. Spread your homework over seven days. Do not fall behind with your homework.

12. Review your class notes every evening, and add to them when necessary.

13. Before submitting papers, use the spell check on your computer and fully justify your papers.

14. Professors typically make themselves available during office hours, do not be scared to ask for help.

15. Do not skip classes; the professors usually emphasize the material that will be on the exams.

16. Some professors make available old exams at the library, or online; look at them when available.

17. When studying for an exam, study the material that you do not know, instead of the material that you do know. Do not always review the material from the oldest chapter to the newest chapter. Once in a while, start with the newest chapter and work backwards.

18. Two weeks prior to your final exams, your entire focus should be on completing your final papers and studying for such exams.

19. Prior to starting your first answer on any exam, quickly scan the entire exam so you can allocate your time between questions.

20. If you finish an exam early, take the time to check your answers before turning the exam in.

21. When it comes to choosing a major, pick something that you enjoy, something that interests you, and something that will allow you to make a living after college.

22. After you choose a major, be aware that higher level courses are not offered every semester. As a result, plan your schedule of classes accordingly, so that you do not have to attend an extra semester or two to complete your coursework.

23. Look for Summer internships to gain experience in your chosen field, and to prepare you for a career after graduation.

24. Treat college like a full-time job; you will need to commit a substantial portion of each day to attending classes and studying.

25. Keep a list of those professors who show an interest in your performance, and who you believe will be willing to provide you with a recommendation for graduate school or when applying for a job.

26. Begin your post-graduate work as soon as possible after graduating from college.

27. If you need to borrow money to go away to school, only borrow what you need. Alternatively, consider attending a community college for the first two years to reduce your outstanding student loans when you are finished.

28. Do not use your student loans to pay for Spring Break or other vacations; you will regret it later.

29. Alternatively, attending a four year college that you can commute to is also a viable option, which will also help you save for graduate school or life after college.

30. If you need to work part-time while attending college, accumulate your work hours over a couple of days if possible. This will reduce the downtime that is involved in preparing for, and traveling to and from, work.

31. If your parents are paying for your tuition, room and board, and meals, thank them repeatedly; they are making sacrifices for your benefit.

32. If you are leasing an apartment or house, read the lease closely before signing it. Immediately upon moving in, inspect the apartment or house thoroughly and submit a dated list of damages and repairs needed for the apartment or house. If possible, it would also be beneficial to take date-stamped photos or videos upon moving in, and after moving out, of the apartment or house. College town landlords are notorious for excessive repair costs and refusing to refund security deposits.

33. When moving out of your apartment or house, make sure to transfer the utility bills out of your name. Do not rely on roommates who may be staying in the apartment or house for an additional period of time. If these utility bills remain unpaid and end up in collection, they will damage your credit score for years.

34. If you live off campus, consider purchasing a meal plan so that you can eat at a nearby dorm between classes, so as to avoid the hassle of returning home for lunch.

35. Stay in touch with your parents and siblings. This will keep you grounded and you will feel more secure.

36. Ask your parents to keep your bedroom intact, so you have something to come home to, and feel comfortable in, when times get tough, when you become homesick, when you are home for the Summer and holidays, or when you just want to visit.

37. Get your rest. Treat college like a marathon, and not like a 100 yard dash.

38. Take a shower every day and wash your clothes regularly; it will cause you to be more desirable and efficient.

39. Learn to manage your time.

40. Limit the tattoos, body piercing, and gauging. If you do not limit the same, you will regret it when you get older.

41. Do not party like it is the last day of your life; everything in moderation, which includes Spring Break.

42. When you do party, do not get wasted; nothing good comes out of it.

43. Inevitably, the police will show up at a party that you are attending; show them respect and behave yourself in their presence.

44. Do not drink and drive. Note, being ticketed as a minor in possession can also be detrimental to your career.

45. Walk away from conflict. There is no need to get into a brawl over anything.

46. Avoid being involved in hazing. If you do get involved in hazing, use your common sense; make sure the person being hazed is not physically at risk.

47. If you become sexually active, practice safe sex and birth control. Remember, some sexually transmitted diseases last forever; and “no!” means “no!”.

48. Be a leader, not a follower.

49. There is no substitute for dedication and hard work; your effort should be 100% at all times.

50. To be successful, you need to grab the bull by the horns, stick your foot halfway up its rear, and try to control it.

51. Success during college, and obtaining a college degree, is your ticket to a better life. Do not waste the opportunity.

Degree Training Available Online

With the continual advancement of technology everything has become easier from reading the news to communicating with friends. One of the more recent advancements is the ability to earn an education online. Interested individuals can enter degree training online to make their desire of earning an education possible. Numerous accredited online colleges and universities offer degree distinctions in almost every job and career across the country.

Let’s talk first about the beneficial factors of earning a degree online. Prospective students will be able to earn their degree solely online. This removes the hassle of commuting to a campus, finding parking, etc. The ability to train online is a benefit to individuals who can’t stop working to earn a degree at a traditional college. With people having numerous avenues of responsibilities gaining an education will make it possible for them to raise their knowledge and career options from home. Most online degree programs let students choose their schedule and study pace, meaning if one course is particularly hard for an individual they are allotted more time to complete the course before moving on to another course.

Training methods will differ depending on the subject and course. Typically students complete work online and communicate with their professor and other classmates via e-mail and classroom databases. Students may have phone meeting times or video   transmission  courses. In a phone meeting students will check in with their professor and other classmates to go over course material and findings. A video  transmission  course will have the professor teaching while students watch him through a video  transmission . These type of courses are not usually integrated into a normal degree program. Most students will not have to communicate with people in this manner.

Online colleges offer training programs from certificates to PhD’s to qualified students. Let’s look briefly at what each level of education is offered to students, to gain a better understanding of what a degree program online looks like. Certificate programs are offered online in a variety of fields. Length will vary depending on the subject. In general certificate programs will take around three to six months to complete. Students who enroll in these programs are usually industry professionals brushing up on new techniques or technology.

As associate’s degree program will have students working through a one to two year program, depending on the field. An associate’s degree program provides students with coursework that establishes a foundation in their field. This foundation can be used to enter a profession as an assistant or use it as a base to gain higher education later after a few years of work experience. Gaining a bachelor’s degree is the most popular form of degree because almost every profession lists this degree level as a requirement prior to being hired. A bachelor’s degree program typically takes a student four years to complete. Knowledge gained at this level of schooling provides numerous career options and a foundation to enter graduate programs. Online programs allow students to continue education and earn a master’s degree and/or a PhD in their chosen field. These programs can last from two to four years and typically are pursued by individuals who want to enter managerial or supervisory positions within their respected field.

Don’t let the opportunity to earn a degree pass you by. Use the available technology to gain an accredited online education in a field of your choice. Enter a fulfilling career by enrolling in an online degree program today.

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and may or may not depict precise methods, courses and/or focuses related to ANY ONE specific school(s) that may or may not be advertised at PETAP.org.

Copyright 2010 – All rights reserved by PETAP.org.

Self Mastery – Insight and Reason

The Scripting One individual plays the lead in each vignette to follow.

Can you find common threads?

A nine-year-old girl bounces off the bus and runs for the front door to tell her Mother about the incredible day she’s had at school. She’s met with great acknowledgment, hugs and musings about how smart she is. By the time the little girl is 12, this type of support begins to fade and when she reaches her early teens the outer reflections are almost completely shut down, replaced with comments about how she is too full of herself. As her childhood relationship with her Mother fades away, the girl goes within to find both her answers and her worth, doing more observing than interacting. As her the relationship with her inner voice matures, she occasionally offers up her wisdom in the face of family issues. Occasionally her comments are tolerated, yet mostly they are disregarded, or met with lots of resistance, criticism and invalidation.

“You’re such a know it all!” her Mother says this venomously, her teeth clenched, at least once daily.

A man and a woman in a potential romantic relationship are talking about their spiritual experiences on the phone one evening. They have a lot in common; movement and body-oriented therapies are at the root of their personal spiritual practice. He speaks to his decades of Tai Chi practice, she speaks about the many different modalities she’s learned and practiced over the past 25 years, all of which play a deep role in her current self-discovery. He speaks loudly and authoritatively about his teachers and gurus, the transmission he’s received from years of focusing on one thing and how this is the only way to a deeper understanding and spiritual advancement. She “gets” what he’s saying as her cells remember many lifetimes as a yogi, a monk and other similar paths. She’s also experienced depth in the energy of his particular method when she attended a 6-week class several years ago.

“You’re really arrogant aren’t you?” he says this softly, almost off-handedly, though its point searches expertly for the target inside her.

One friend asks another friend for reflections on her increasingly intense life situation. Nothing new, it’s been going on for 15 years and input is requested several times annually on this particular topic. The responder has gone from being thrilled and enthusiastic to help her friend out of the dilemma, to being disengaged, responding from a distant place of reason. Even so, she continues to share her insights honestly.

“Why are you so distant? You seem so disinterested?” the distressed friend asks. The input goes un-received for the umpteenth time. Or, she says, “Please don’t confront me now, your certainty is really scary!”

Raising the Bar This level of consciousness has a glass ceiling. In spite of its high level of beingness, it’s also like an unstable atom ready to either shatter the glass or to bounce off its invisible barrier, back into the chasm of anger, hopelessness and unconsciousness where it readies itself for another climb upward. Under its transparent umbrella, there’s a lot of angst and suffering, a breeding ground of inner, existential commentary coupled with fear of advancement into the unknown.

The way through this false transparency is humility, to ask and actually receive support from outside our own belief systems, beyond our rigidly held dogmas. Breakthrough happens when we are able to relinquish our controls and begin to see that other people are realizing and actualizing right alongside us.

Key in this discovery is to embrace all of humanity, to recognize our common potential, and simultaneously to sustain our individuation, our certainty and confidence, our will and courage within.

David Hawkins identifies this level of consciousness in his book, “Power vs. Force,” as ‘Reason,’ the home of great scientists, statesmen, religious leaders, lawmakers and Nobel Prize winners.

These people have reached the pinnacle in their vocations and careers, in the context of the highest, solely human, potentials. They are at the top of their financial games, they rule world governments and churches, they establish the height of the bar for global discovery and advancement.

There is one very crucial and forgotten piece here: the fact that we humans are filled with divine energy, that we are spirits embodied and we have a soul connection to a higher power, God or creator. Although many here are connected to spirituality and religion, we act like atheists in the context of our daily choices and actions, standing almost exclusively on our personal willfulness and physical energies.

Our lack of engagement with a greater spirit eventually exhausts our comparatively tiny resource bucket. Dangerous is the self-bred arrogance that comes with our intellectual knowingness, or at least the belief we have reached the top of some distant monument to ourselves, overlooking our domain.

Some of us know spirituality exists in this place, and likewise make statements to the fact that we’re following a soul path, yet we forget to include the divine in our daily lives. We forget to consult with our inner voices, our higher minds, the Gods and Goddess of our hearts, and our divine guidance.

Personally I see this as a place with immature satisfactions, a place with false floors. It’s also an important stepping-stone to achieving and sustaining a causal relationship with the eternal truths.

It’s a place we can visit occasionally while we grow into our integrity. Here we can sit in the sun and weed out attachments to dogma, gradually decrease our propensity for intellectual pontification and surrender our complacencies. A station with many benefits, we can stop here to gather Cosmic energy; we can observe where we’ve come from, and the road to where we’re going.