Depression And Cocaine Addiction - The Connection

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Cocaine is a powerful and highly addictive substance. Many people wonder how addictive cocaine really is and if there is some form of treatment. The use of cocaine could be traced back to the ancient people, who evidently started using coca leaves (the source of cocaine) even during the ancient times. It is a highly addictive drug that acts directly on the brain and could then cause different effects when there is continued use.

When a person abuses cocaine, he or she is found to have diminished intake of meals per day. According to research, alcohol and coffee consumption increases, as well as the intake of fatty foods. There is also an increased prevalence of anorexia nervosa and bulimia among cocaine users when compared with those who do not use cocaine. Since anorexia nervosa and bulimia are both eating disorders, this could mean a certain amount of depression begins to settle among cocaine users.

Cocaine is a very potent stimulant and it causes a lot of changes in the brain. It was coined as the "power drug" of the 80's and 90's. Before it was discovered to be an addictive substance, it wasn't listed as one of those that had high addictive potential. But with further study, it has been noted and proven that cocaine (or otherwise known as crack, coke, etc) is really addictive in nature. Whatever the way of administration is, be it through snorting, smoking, or injection, the effects are still the same and the use of cocaine is very detrimental to a person's health.

Is there a treatment for cocaine addiction? The answer is yes! With proper and positive motivation, cocaine addiction can be treated. It is important for the cocaine addict to realize that he or she is really addicted to the substance. Without the acknowledgment, he or she might not cooperate and continue to suffer from the effects of cocaine withdrawal.

According to studies, the euphoria that cocaine gives to its users peaks ten to twenty minutes after administration, which makes it a fast acting substance. This is one of the major reasons why people are easily addicted to it. For those who want to get rid of the addiction, it is important to acknowledge the problem for faster recovery. People who are suffering from cocaine addiction need all the help they can get when they are undergoing therapy. The support of the family and close friends are needed and should be encouraged by therapists.

Often when a person faces up to their addiction they face huge emotional turmoil. The same happens when undergoing treatment to beat the addiction. Ultimately the addiction must be replaced with a healthier lifestyle. The addict must face up to the reasons why they became addicted and will have to get help and support for their emotional and/or mental health problems and depression in order to make a full and lasting recovery.

Remember, it is possible to recover from addiction and depression. Get the right help, advice and support and start the road to recovery today!

Are you unhappy with your life?

If so, take action now click the following link to receive your FREE e-book on how to overcome depression and anxiety and much more...

http://www.lifelastinghappiness.com

Rose White Young's recovery from years of depression, against all the odds, has inspired her to setup a blog to help people beat depression and anxiety.

Cocaine Effects - How Cocaine Can Affect Your Body

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Cocaine Effects to the Brain

Cocaine can be smoked, injected, and snorted. All three methods of using illicit drugs can cause fatal effects to the brain and the body. Cocaine is a stimulant. It affects the body's production of dopamine. Dopamine is a brain chemical that controls a person's movement and pleasure.

Other Cocaine Effects

Short term illicit drugs effects include an increase in blood pressure, body temperature, and a person's heart rate. In addition, someone high on illicit drugs will have constricted blood vessels and dilated pupils.

A illicit drugs user will often feel more mentally alert and not as tired as they would feel if they were not using illicit drugs. However, after repeated use of this drug, a person may experience seizures, irregular heart rhythms, and pain in the chest.

Fatal injuries from the use of illicit drugs include the following:

• Respiratory failure
• A heart attack
• Stroke

In addition to these fatal injuries and the other effects of cocaine, a person may often feel restlessness, irritability, and anxiety. In more serious cases a person will experience paranoid psychosis, auditory hallucinations, visual hallucinations, and muscle spasms.

The Combination of Alcohol and Cocaine

There is no doubt that cocaine is extremely addictive. However, the smoked version of cocaine, otherwise known as crack, is the most addictive drug on the illegal drug market. Crack and alcohol is often combined for a different kind of high. Unfortunately, the combination of crack cocaine and alcohol is the most frequent cause of death among cocaine users.

The Cocaine Crash

Around thirty minutes after using cocaine the high should go away. After the cocaine high goes away users will experience a crash. The crash often leaves the user with feelings of irritability, anxiety, fatigue, and depression.

Risks of Using Cocaine

There are many risks to using cocaine. However, the risks associated with cocaine depends on how the drug is taken For example, snorting cocaine can lead to injury to the membrane lining located in a person's nostrils. This comes from repeated agitation from snorting cocaine. Cocaine users who snort the drug may also experience nosebleeds and a chronic runny nose. In addition, those who snort cocaine may experience difficulty swallowing after using the drug on a regular basis. Loss of smell is also common among those who snort cocaine.

Ingesting cocaine through the mouth can lead to gangrene in the small bowel. This is because the blood flow to the intestines is reduced.

Injections of cocaine can pose the highest risk of contracting HIV and Hepatitis among cocaine users. This is because those who use inject cocaine into the bloodstream often share needles with other cocaine users.

Learn more about Drugs Abuse Effects from a leading expert in Forensic Toxicology by visiting the website of Environmental Diseases now.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Scott_J._Alexander

Signs of Cocaine Use

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You may be wondering if there even are signs of cocaine use or common symptoms that people display when they are using this drug. The fact of the matter is that there are many signs of cocaine abuse that, if you are aware of them, can be very useful in determining if someone is using cocaine.

The first thing that you need to aware of is that there is no 100% certain way to determine if a person is abusing drugs other than confronting them with a drug test. However, as I have said, if you know the signs of the addictive behavior, you will have a leg up on determining this question.

So, what are the common signs of cocaine use? There are several and I'd like to discuss the top three.

1. Loss of weight. Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that will limit a person's appetite. Because of this people who are regular cocaine users do not consume enough calories to maintain their weight. As a result when a person starts using cocaine they can lose a significant amount of weight. If you suspect a person of using cocaine and they are quickly losing weight, that is not a good sign.

2. Staying out at night. Cocaine is a drug that is most often consumed at night. What this means is that a person using cocaine will often disappear for many hours at night and come back home very late or be gone for several days. When a cocaine user is using their drug they will lose all concepts of time and they will continue to use well after the point when they should call it a night. Therefore if someone is out until 4 AM frequently, they may be abusing cocaine.

3. Nose problems. Most people who use powder cocaine consume it through their nasal tissue, meaning that they inhale it. Because most cocaine addicts will use large amounts of the this drug, damage to the mucus membrane of the nose is sure to follow. Cocaine users often report having nose bleeds or runny and stuffy noses for days after their last using binge. So, pay attention to a person's nose if you suspect them of using cocaine. However, you should be aware that if the person you suspect is injecting or smoking their cocaine (in the form of crack cocaine) then this sign will not apply.

The good news is that cocaine users are quite users. Nearly all of them will display all or some of these signs of cocaine use. If you know these coke use signs, then you can get a good idea as to whether or not a person that you love is abusing cocaine and then take the proper action. The final thing is that cocaine addiction is a disease not a moral failing and if someone you know is using cocaine, they can get better with treatment. Cocaine addicts recover everyday with treatment.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Rick_Osland

Cocaine Abuse and Teens

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Herein, I'll be endeavoring to offer information for the public concerning cocaine addiction and abuse throughout our nation. Simply by establishing a common understanding and working together, concerned citizens will be able to really make a difference within our society by minimizing cocaine addiction.

Cocaine Abuse in America

To realize just how serious cocaine abuse still is, simply look up the most current set of statistics. Even if cocaine is no longer number on when it comes to drug addiction, it is still frequently used and generates a myriad of problems for millions of people inside our country. Every year, cocaine and crack cocaine are accountable for a large number of ER trips and drug overdoses.

Many Americans feel that cocaine is a problem confined to the inner cities or the rich and famous. It is something that is understood through filters like news broadcasts or Hollywood portrayals. The reality is that impacts every demographic in our country whether through being addicted to it directly, having to deal with a loved one who is addicted, or simply paying taxes to support the war against it.

There are individuals of all ages dependent on cocaine and the use and sale of cocaine is responsible for a plethora of criminal activity. Considering the fact that it's readily available and highly addictive, cocaine abuse and addiction statistics continue to be high.

Some of the horrors of cocaine and crack addiction include following:

    * Infants are born hooked on cocaine daily in this nation. Throughout 1988 over 300,000 had been born hooked on cocaine.
    * Fifteen thousand people die from cocaine overdoses or cocaine related health conditions annually in America.
    * 25% of US citizens 26 years old to 34 years old have abused cocaine at least one time during their lives.
    * There are more arrests related to cocaine related offenses when compared with all other illegal drugs.

Kids and Cocaine

Sad to say, high school aged teens have surprisingly easy access to an array of harmful drugs. At no other part of our lifetime will we interact with a more diverse group of individuals than when we're going to high school. Peer pressure, as well as easy access to drugs, are considered the reasons for consistently high levels of cocaine abuse by adolescents.

It is widely reported by groups that perform teen drug abuse studies that a majority of kids report extremely easy access to drugs, and in-fact that in many cases it's easier to get drugs than it is to get alcohol. Along with that disturbing fact, the average age for first experimenting with drugs is consistently getting younger.

How Are We Going to Keep Our Children from Using Cocaine

It's nearly impossible to 100% guarantee that your kid will never uses cocaine or other narcotics. There are however, a number of things that parents can do to mitigate the chances that their kid will begin using drugs. First, parents must be a strong example in the home. If you don't want your kid to use drugs, you shouldn't use drugs, if you want your kid to be honest, you need to be honest. Having beneficial role models in a kid's everyday life renders it much more unlikely that they will begin to make bad decisions. It really is just that easy. Additionally, positively supporting your children will help them to feel secure and build their self-confidence. Encourage your child with extracurricular activities to help them to develop positive interests that will supersede an inclination to try drugs.

Most important however, is communication. Know what's going on in your kid's life by engaging in regular conversation with them. Developing a relationship where your child feels respected and heard is going to help them to have the confidence to come to you when they may be having problems in their life.

In the event that your child is developing a problem with drugs or alcohol, it is important to get them into drug treatment and begin combating their drug abuse as early as possible. Once drug addiction starts, it doesn't just go away. If left unchecked, drug abuse will progress and only get worse as your child gets older. By introducing them to the concepts of drug rehab at a young age, they will understand that there is another way to live, and hopefully they will be able to avoid a life of struggling with addiction and alcoholism.

Just remember that millions of people have been able to overcome addiction and no matter whom it is in your life that might be struggling, there is hope.

Daniel Manson has been in the Drug and Alcohol Treatment industry for over 15 years, and currently is President of a very successful drug rehab program in California. Having lived the life of an addict himself, he understands the problems that drugs can give a person. Daniel worked directly with clients for many years, before moving to management, marketing and ultimately managing multiple facilities with a large online presence. Along with providing Drug Rehabilitation services, Daniel supports Drug Education for schoolchildren so they are informed about the dangers of drugs.

In addition to the above, Daniel Manson has acquired vast online marketing experience, with his website http://www.DrugRehab.net ranking #1 for "drug rehab", the most competitive keyword in the industry. He is in high demand and sought after for advice and consulting work.

Recognizable Symptoms of Cocaine Use

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There are several recognizable symptoms of cocaine use and also several symptoms which are not visible and only show up as health and mental problems. Many often wonder if their loved one or friend is using cocaine. These symptoms will give you clues as to the possibility that they might be using.

Runny or stuffy nose is common from snorting cocaine and is often followed by coke nose. Coke nose is a deterioration (ulcer) of the mucous membrane of the nose. Often coke nose even shows up years after a person quits cocaine when nose problems arise, the doctor often says "you used to snort cocaine, I can tell by the tissue deterioration". It will show up as scar tissue on the membrane of the nose.

Muscle tightening or muscle spasms (shakes) are common because cocaine attacks the nervous system immediately upon use. Cocaine reduces the flow of oxygenated blood which naturally affects the brain functions.

High energy spurts, the inability to sleep and loss of appetite are other visible signs that a person could be on cocaine. Amphetamines also give a burst of energy. Energy spurts are one of the biggest reasons many try cocaine, either for the energy or for the creativity sometimes caused by the spike in blood pressure to the brain. Many do not realize the risk of stroke or heart attack by using.

Withdrawal from others as a change in attitude evolves, often mood swings accompany cocaine use and the user withdraws from others. Accompanying this, is also a loss of feelings towards others thoughts and opinions. Their main desire is the next high and forget about friends and family.

Loss of personal hygiene and degradation in personal appearance often accompany cocaine use. As the user becomes focused on the next hit, they lose track of personal needs.

Depression, let-down feeling, edginess and dullness are all symptoms that someone has problems of some kind. In-between highs the user will feel these symptoms, and it will become a roller coaster of feelings as the user goes up and down through cocaine use.

Lying to friends and family comes not only from the guilty feeling but the need to cover up the moods and the loss of money associated with using cocaine. This is the symptom which often kills the relationship with family and friends. Most can put up with other problems but when the lying starts, the trust is lost.

Loss of job or missing work is another sign that there is a problem, and often cocaine or another drug is the culprit. When the user becomes dependent on cocaine, nothing else matters and jobs are usually the first lost. The user often becomes so moody that no one can work with them, they become dangerous and have lost the inability to care.

These are just a few of the many symptoms which accompany cocaine use. Please do not take these as positive indications that a person is on cocaine. You need to definitely know before you approach them on the matter, as any of these could also come from other sources. If you feel they are using cocaine, find out more about cocaine addiction first.

If you want to learn more about cocaine relief, download my free ebook "Cocaine Relief - First Step" here: Free eBook

Jim has overcome addictions and sees it from the users point of view, find out more at: http://CocaineRelief.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jim_Enterline

Facts About Cocaine Addiction

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Cocaine is one of the most widely used and readily available drugs that are found all across the world. One of the facts about cocaine is that 600 metric tons of cocaine is roughly used all across the world. Of this US accounts for nearly half of the amount, which is about 300 metric tons and Europe accounts for 25% along with the rest of the world using 25% of the cocaine. For the purpose of recreation, marijuana is the most widely used drug followed by cocaine.

US has the highest number of consumers for the drug that is used illicitly. It's extremely popular as a party drug and among school going and college going students. Used by all communities, ethnicities, income levels and professions, it's seen as drug that can give a momentary high. The drug has gained many users after it was first made popular during the disco era of 1970's and early 1980's.

According to the 'National Household Survey on Drug Abuse' in 1991, the highest rate for the monthly usage of the drug was among those that were between 18 - 25 years of age. Also in 1999, about 3.7 million Americans had abused cocaine. In the last decade, the drug has found more usage in Hispanics and also Afro Americans, where the rate of conviction for cocaine drug dealing is found to be the highest in these ethnic groups.

Even though crack is a form of cocaine used on the streets, the usage of crack and cocaine is certainly on a rise among the youth of the country. The ready availability of cocaine is attributed to the fact that it can be purchased in small quantities. In street parlance, this is known as "bill sizes". So for $10 a cocaine addict can purchase a dime bag or really small quantities of cocaine. Depending on the quality as well as the quantity of the cocaine and the dealer selling the cocaine and the geographical location, the price of the drug can vary quite a bit.

One of the interesting facts about cocaine is that the market for cocaine consumption is even higher than that of many corporate organizations. In 2005, the estimated value of the cocaine market in the US was valued at $70 billion at street prices. The drug is demanded the most by those that are in high pressure jobs and have a lot of personal disposable income for luxuries and recreation. Since it's immensely popular on the club circuit which is frequented by young professionals, the demand is very high at these places.

One of the most disturbing facts about cocaine is that the adulteration of the cocaine is very high, since the profit margins and revenue for selling the drug is high. Also known as cutting or stepping up, the adulterants help the dealer to stretch the cocaine and rake the money in. Sometimes the level for the purity of cocaine that is available on the street is as low as 5% and usually the available stuff is 50% pure cocaine.

Dave is a recovering addict and enjoys writing on and informing people of the disease of drug addictions. If you would like more information you may go to his site which talks further about Cocaine Addiction. Or if you are interested in learning about other addictions, you may also visit his site on Vicodin Addiction.

Is Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder Treatment Using Psychotropic Drugs Harmful?

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Despite the efficacy of attention deficit hyperactive disorder treatment using medications, notably using stimulant drugs, there are still many non-believers out there. This group of people strongly believes that psychotropic drugs are ineffective and dangerous for the treatment of ADHD.

Claiming that drugs had been overused, they advocate using behavioral therapy instead because ADHD deals with human behaviour.

They lambasted the pharmaceutical industry for immorally capitalizing on many people's faith in pharmacotherapy to treat this disorder. It has been reported by many journals and research papers that expenditure on psychotropic drugs to treat a gamut of disabilities run into billions of dollars annually.

By logic, one would think that if the demand for these drugs is so high, it must be because they have been beneficial to the users. But the anti-pharmacology intervention crusaders believe that this group of people had basically been brainwashed and had never given behavioral therapy a chance.

But the thing is that if you read the literature carefully, some of the champions of attention deficit hyperactive disorder treatment using behavioral therapy will claim that hundreds of thousands of people die annually because of the usage of psychotropic drugs. If you did deeper, they do not have anything solid to back up their claims. For all you know, these people died due to other problems or drugs, and not because of psychotropic drugs.

Be careful also when reading published materials which condemn the use of medication to treat ADHD. Quite a number of the writers like to use bombastic words and they have a tendency to oversimplify and exaggerate the examples used to illustrate their point.

They also tend to ignore the many research findings by established universities that medicated therapy has been very useful and effective in treating ADHD in many cases.

The truth is that under the watchful eyes of a skilled doctor, psychotropic drugs are useful for children and adults with ADHD. But the key element to take note of here is that the doctor concerned must be an expert in ADHD, not some general practitioner.

Nonetheless, these champions of using behavioral therapy for ADHD do have some good arguments. ADHD, in a nutshell, is not a disease but rather a behavioral problem. Because nearly all behaviors are learned, it can be un-learned by using learning-base interventions.

Another good thing which crusaders of anti-pharmacological interventions have done for the society is that they have awaken the general public on the risks of taking psychotropic drugs and what a conducive learning environment could do for attention deficit hyperactive treatment.

Corrie Banji is a freelance writer and has written on many topics for magazines and newspapers. Her latest work is about What is ADHD and ADHD diet.

Types of Psychotropic Drugs

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Psychotropic drugs affect a person's central nervous system and cause changes in your behavior or the perception of the world. Many of these substances are illegal but even something seemingly harmless as caffeine has been term a psychoactive drug.

There are four major groups of this type of drug. The major classifications are depressants, stimulants, anti-psychotics, and hallucinogens. Different types of drugs can be a part of more than one category like being both a hallucinogen and a stimulant. Some drugs alter the moods of the user. Antidepressants and antipsychotic medicines are often used as a part of psychiatric treatment. To help reduce depression or anxiety, doctors may prescribe antidepressants or tranquilizers. People with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia may have to use mood stabilizers and antipsychotic drugs to treat their disorder.

There are many depressants and stimulants that can become very addicting. Morphine, a depressant has been used to relieve severe pain. However, morphine is highly addictive and is hard to withdraw from if used for a prolong amount of time. Some drugs have experienced a bad reputation over the years because of their recreational use. Marijuana has many beneficial medical uses. Many people with cancer and AIDS have found that it is helpful with reducing pain and stimulating their appetite. However, we are only now considering its benefits in traditional medicine. Some states in within the US are seeing the importance of this drug in the medical community and have passed legislations lifting the ban on it for medical use.

No matter what category the psychotropic drug you are using is in, the all have possibly serious consequence for misuse. You must use these drugs under the direct supervision of your medical doctor or psychiatrist. Abusing any of these substances can cause serious and irreparable damage to your body and mind. You can overdose on many of these substances and even die. Many people have lost their jobs, families, and freedom because they decided that they could handle using these drugs without assistance. Many people who weren't able to adjust without these substances have had to enter rehab or detox facilities in order to clean themselves up. These drugs should only be used in conjunction with a valid medical condition and under their direction.

Diuretic Foods and Natural Diuretic Arrangements

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Diuretic foods and natural diuretic arrangements are believed to be much more helpful in comparison with synthetic waters pills. In addition to assisting human body rid itself of excess water bodyweight, toxic compounds and poisons, natural diuretics offer us with probably the most vital components and vital supplements. Cranberry and melon are definitely probably the most tasty diuretic foods.

There are lots of diuretic foods available, and a lot of them are believed staple components of a healthy diet by now. Parsley, watercress, melons, don't forget your asparagus, artichoke, oranges, juniper berry and dandelion are typical foods which have diuretic components. Coffee, green tea and cola also have a diuretic result due to the theobromine in caffeinated drinks, which boosts urine quantity, while a lot of coffee can basically invert this property. It could really result in the body to keep mineral water if an excessive amount of is taken due to the original powerful diuretic result that it has on the kidneys. As being the human body is affected with lack of fluids when coffee is taken, it is more probably to retail store just as much normal water as you can to be able to stay hydrated when it becomes readily available.

For making sure a quick decrease of water weight, involve in your own eating habits Diuretic foods. They're foods full of water like asparagus, pumpkin, cabbage, Brussels seedlings, lettuce or the vegetable tomatoes. Watermelon is another highly effective diuretic. Don't forget the significance of including physical exercise simply because often you will probably find it hard, or else not possible, to get rid of water weight fast.

Even though natural diuretics foods might help cleanse and supply respite from edema, they must be consumed only for several days, as some natural diuretics also can eliminate the essential nutrients and nutritional value. You should use up them beneath recommend of a medical expert.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Aivaras_Povilaitis

Heroin Addiction

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Heroin addiction can be devastating not only to the user, but the loved ones of the user as well. No one wants to see their family member or friend abusing drugs and nine times out of ten the user doesn't want to be a substance abuser either. What most fail to realize is that if it were that easy to quit a damaging substance like heroin, then it would be done all the time with no qualms. However battling heroin addiction is no easy feat and all parties involved need to remain empathetic to each others' needs. This is easier said than done, but it can be done.

Heroin addiction is not a habit that can be picked up overnight; it is actually a habit that is formed by previous dependencies. Addictions begin with early usage of other drugs such as marijuana, alcohol and other recreational substances. Abusers normally begin to try harsher drugs when they are attempting to self-medicate emotional pain or ward off withdrawal pains. What's sad about this is that once this habit is formed the user begins to believe that they cannot escape using the drug.

Anyone has the mental capacity to stop using drugs; it just takes time and a lot of support. If the user continues to abuse heroin to the point of overuse the effects upon the heart, lungs, and brains can be fatal. Naturally no one would like to see this happen under any circumstances so detox is a must in order to prevent overuse from happening.

The heroin detoxification process is extremely uncomfortable as their body tries to rid of the opiate. The beginning symptoms include anxiety, inability to sleep, and obsessive sneezing. Then the detox symptoms will advance to nausea, vomiting, severe chills and shaking. These symptoms are harrowing and that is the main reason why quitting heroin cold turkey has such a low success rate. It is recommended to seek a hospital based detoxification process that will be followed by continued treatment.

As a family member it is natural to feel like your loved one has chosen the drug over you. It seems like they are being selfish and have no regard to how their abuse is making you feel or the effect it has on you and others around. While it is completely understandable to feel this way you have to understand where he or she is and how they feel as well. As stated earlier most abusers turn to drugs to escape some sort of psychological pain and torment. They feel alone and as though no one understands their pain and reasoning but please believe that deep down they want to quit. Remind them of reasons as to why they need to stop using but please be sensitive to their feelings and emotions.

Trying to help your loved one quit using heroin will prove to be one of the hardest tasks you've ever done, but please be patient and please offer every ounce of support that you have to give. When you and you're family makes it through this ordeal, no task will ever seem difficult. The saying goes "Rome wasn't built in a day" but without a doubt, it was built - and that's all that matters.

For further details on heroin addiction, go to www.AddictionToDrugs.org

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=David_B._Smith

Heroin Users

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Heroin addiction is a personal struggle that many describe as the biggest monster they ever have had to deal with. Heroin is like most drugs in that it starts off just being something that the user does from time to time. They start off by just doing it in private or the company of peers and don't realizing that they are about to change their life for the worse. Once a Heroin addiction has taken hold there are very harsh consequences to the body and mind. Heroin is an opiate drug that first reared its ugly head in 1874. It is a crystallized white powder that steams from morphine and has an extreme addiction rate. This addiction becomes so overpowering that people who become dependent on heroin are willing to do whatever it takes to obtain it. The strong addiction to heroin does not only hurt the addict but also their family and friends. Someone who is addicted to heroin is not in their right mind when consuming this life threatening drug, and their actions can easily break up families.

A Dangerous Addiction

The number of reported heroin overdoses each year is very high - being a factor in 164,000 emergency room visits across the US in 2006 - because of the drug's high toxicity. Even though this drug has such obvious debilitating effects, like other opiates, once addicted it is hard for an individual to stop using it. One of the reasons for this is because the effects of withdrawal are so intense that many would rather stay using this dangerous drug then to feel the withdraw pains that come with trying to detox from it. The discomfort and anxiety of withdrawal can set in as little as 6 hours after discontinuation of the drug, contributing to the vicious cycle of dependency.

The rest of us can only wonder how family and loved ones feel when they see someone they love losing a battle to a drug that is taking over their life. Heroin is so harmful that it can effect many different parts of a person's body. The heart, lungs and brain can very much be damaged permanently and given that these are such vital organs, if there is too much heroin in a person's system it can easily prove fatal. A narcotic like heroin does not just take over the body but it also does terrible psychological damage and that is where people choose their addiction over there family, friends, job and life in general.

Ironically heroin is a pain medicine derived from morphine but the problem is that it ultimately brings the user more pain than it relieves. No one wants to see someone that they love throw away their life over a drug. It's even worse knowing that this drug can potentially kill them on any given day without warning. The sad thing is that without proper help, heroin addicts have a very slim chance of ever kicking their addiction. If family or friends cannot get a heroin addict into some form of rehabilitation center then an addict may not ever shake their problem. That is why loving someone with a heroin addiction can be painful because you usually cannot help them if they are not willing to help themselves.

Helping Addicted Users

Dulwich Hill in Sydney, Australia used to have the unenviable distinction of being the "Heroin Capital" of Sydney's inner-west. Father Dave has been a parish priest there since 1990. Best known for his work with at-risk teenagers - for which he has twice been named 'Citizen of the Year' (and twice nominated for Australian of the Year), Father Dave has helped many young people struggling with alcohol and drug addictions. For more information on battling heroin addiction, please visit our site www.AddictionToDrugs.org

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=David_B._Smith

Heroin Laws in Florida

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Heroin is a semi-synthetic drug that is derived from the opiate commonly found in the poppy flower and in poppy seeds. It creates a white crystal which is typically either smoked or melted and then injected directly into the blood stream. It is a pain killer that is used recreationally as a "downer". As a recreational drug it is highly addictive and possesses a high potential for abuse. It is illegal to use heroin recreationally across the United States.

Although all heroin use is nationally restricted, each state possesses a unique set of guidelines legally restricting the use, sale, and trafficking of the heroin drug. In the state of Florida all heroin related crimes are considered felonies, but the crime classification and punishment vary depending on the amount worked with and the act committed.

Florida's Laws concerning Heroin

Throughout the state of Florida, the drug laws concerning heroin establish the following:

· Possession of any amount of heroin less than four grams is a third degree felony

· Possession of four grams of heroin or more is considered a first degree felony

· The sale of any amount of heroin less than 10 grams is a second degree felony

· The sale of more than 10 grams of heroin is considered a first degree felony

· All trafficking of heroin is a felony, the degree depends on the amount trafficked

While these laws specifically state what type of offenses are involved when dealing with heroin, there are a variety of punishments than vary depending on the severity of the heroin crime committed. These include:

· If the sale of heroin is done near a school, the punishment following the crime will be more severe

· If you traffic four to fourteen grams of heroin you will face a $50,000 fine and 3 years in prison

· If you traffic 14 to 28 grams of heroin you will face a $100,000 fine and 15 years in prison

· If you traffic 38 grams to 40 kilograms of heroin you will face a $500,000 fine and 25 years in prison

· Trafficking more than 40 kilograms of heroin is a first degree felony and will result in life imprisonment

For More Information

While all of the United States law officials consider recreational drug use, sales, and trafficking very serious crimes, in the state of Florida the law enforcement holds to their regulations on heroin interaction very strictly. If you would like to know more about Florida drug laws, drug crime, and drug crime defense, visit criminallawyerbocaraton.com today.

David Caldwell

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=David_S_Caldwell

Using Natural Diuretics

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Water retention or fluid retention, also known as edema, is the accumulation of fluid in spaces between the cells in the soft tissue of the body. This can occur anywhere in the body but, because of gravity, often appears in the feet, ankles, and legs. Natural diuretics are food, herbs, or minerals that increase urine flow and aid in removing excess fluids from the body, thereby alleviating the swelling or puffiness that accompanies water retention. Some naturalists encourage flushing out the kidneys and bladder as a part of natural healing that is not restricted to the correction of edema.

Several cautionary notes are in order if you are considering the use of natural diuretics. First, water retention or edema can simply accompany normal hormone fluctuations associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. However, water retention can also signify serious medical issues, such as kidney disease, liver disease, thyroid malfunction, high blood pressure, and congestive heart failure. Unless normal hormonal fluctuation, or a minor trauma to the body, is the obvious underlying cause of water retention, you should consult a medical professional to determine the cause before you try addressing the symptom on your own using natural diuretics.

Second, using diuretics can drain your body of needed vitamins and minerals, so you may want to consider using supplements as well, particularly potassium. For this reason, you should not use natural diuretics simply as a weight loss aid. In addition, you will regain any weight you lose through using diuretics when you discontinue their use.

Foods that are Natural Diuretics

You should first note that some foods actually cause the body to retain water and you should avoid or drastically reduce their use. These foods include salt, sugar, processed foods, and complex carbohydrates. Inadequate consumption of protein can also cause fluid retention as can drinking beverages containing caffeine and alcohol.

Foods that are natural diuretics should be eaten in moderation, and increase the amount of water that you drink. When water retention caused by hormonal fluctuation or minor trauma is a problem for you, try adding some of the following foods and beverages to your diet to address this symptom:

    * Apple juice (stimulates kidneys and liver)
    * Artichoke
    * Asparagus
    * Bananas (also a good source of potassium)
    * Beets
    * Brussels sprouts
    * Cabbage
    * Carrots
    * Celery
    * Cranberry juice
    * Cucumber
    * Grapes
    * Green tea
    * Lettuce
    * Tomatoes
    * Watermelon
    * Yogurt

Especially consider these natural diuretic powerhouse foods to include in food dishes or eat separately:

    * Garlic
    * Horseradish
    * Onions (raw)
    * Parsley (especially powerful and packed with vitamins)


Herbs that are Natural Diuretics

Some herbs are especially potent natural diuretics, especially when made into teas (try one teaspoon of herb for every cup of hot water). These include:

    * Alfalfa
    * Bilberry
    * Butcher's Broom
    * Dandelion
    * Hawthorn
    * Juniper
    * Linden
    * Stinging Nettle
    * Yarrow

You should especially consider Dandelion and Hawthorn. Dandelion leaves cleanse the bloodstream and liver, and help improve kidney and spleen functioning. In addition, dandelion is packed with vitamins A, C, D, and B complex, as well as minerals, especially potassium, an important consideration for those using natural diuretics. Hawthorn has natural diuretic properties, contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, and C, as well as calcium, chromium, magnesium, and potassium, and helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Linda Metzger is a free-lance writer, with a strong commitment to natural health. She recommends all-natural products, including the natural diuretic found here: [http://www.wellness-4-women.com/product/AQR-0141]

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Diuretics Can Lower Blood Pressure

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Diuretics are a medication type used in helping both women and men to lower their blood pressure. Diuretics serve other functions as well and are actually secreted by the body in some medical conditions like diabetes. Certain foods have diuretic effects, namely coffee, tea and alcohol and the body will lose more than what is actually taken in if a product includes these foods - hence the name diuretics.

Diuresis is the process when the kidneys create excess urine which results in a person urinating more and losing extra fluid. Some diuretics inhibit the kidneys from reabsorbing sodium and so more is lost through the urine. Other diuretics cause more chloride and sodium to be expelled while some block the substitution of sodium for potassium (called potassium-sparing diuretics). These types of diuretics are used by patients with heart disease and potassium is an essential electrolyte in the heart's electrical conduction.

Diuretics lowers blood pressure by removing any extra fluid that is present in the blood and so assists the heart by its having less blood to pump through the body. It is a very delicate balance to decrease the extra fluid and not cause dehydration at the same time.

A lot of patients who suffer from congestive heart failure experience difficulty in retaining extra fluid and diuretics lower blood pressure in these patients by correcting an existing problem in their systems - physicians and patients have to maintain a balance between too little and too much and patients using diuretic medications should monitor fluid balance by weighing themselves each morning. Fluid has weight and so if patients retain more fluid they will increase their weight and likewise if they are become dehydrated their weight decreases without a change in their diets. This situation signals a severe complication that a physician should address immediately.

Over the counter diuretics are not common due to the potential for abuse and subsequent dangers although there is a diuretic which is commonly used by women for fluid retention during menstruation. Some people mistakenly think that water weight loss is the same as actual body weight loss and using diuretics to achieve weight loss is extremely dangerous (it often results in the body retaining excess fluid while the medications can damage the kidneys.

Diuretics for high blood pressure problems are normally much stronger than those obtained over the counter and will be monitored by a doctor who will check how much fluid is present in a patient and how much is lost by using diuretics which decrease any negative effects on fluid retention and the kidneys.

Bob Cotto spent most of his life as a Sr. Sales & Marketing executive. Two years ago his wife of 43 years, Joanne was told that she had 4th stage cancer. Since then, Bob and Joanne have devoted all of their energy to assisting her in maintaining a high quality of life. Find out more about his efforts at his site 4-Ideal-Health [http://www.4-ideal-health.com/Top_Secret_Fat_Loss_Secret.html].

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Tips on Living With HIV

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While living with HIV is not easy, it is possible to live a fairly healthy and happy life even if one has contracted the HIV virus. A person who has HIV will need to pay closer attention to his or her diet and lifestyle than a healthy person and take certain precautions to ensure that he or she stays in good health. Following are some tips on how to stay healthy and happy even with the HIV virus.

First off, someone with the HIV virus should take a close look at his or her diet. While eating healthy is a good idea for everyone, a person with HIV will need to eat healthy foods and avoid unhealthy ones if he or she wants to avoid serious medical complications. A diet that is high in fruits and vegetables is advisable and one should avoid eating processed foods and foods with high sugar content. Whole grain foods such as brown rice and whole wheat bread are much better than white rice and white bread. One should also avoid drinking too much alcohol as this lowers a person's resistance to infections.

Aside from eating healthy foods, there are also a number of herbal, vitamin and mineral supplements that can be of great help to a person living with HIV. Kava, St. John's wort, turmeric and milk thistle are particularly good herbs. Some of these herbs help the liver to better handle the HIV drugs that an HIV positive person is taking. Other herbs help a person battling with HIV to combat depression and anxiety.

A person with HIV should also exercise on a regular basis. Exercise has a lot of positive health benefits for anyone. One should choose a form of exercise that he or she enjoys and exercise at least three times a week, although daily exercise is the ideal.

Keeping a positive attitude is also important. Stress is not only unpleasant but it also has a negative effect on a person's health. A person with HIV should set goals and find a purpose in live that will provide him or her with an incentive to strive to stay healthy and free from complications. The power of positive thinking should not be underestimated when it comes to living with HIV. One should also avail him or herself not only of the medical help that is available from a doctor but also of the many natural means of staying in good health when battling with HIV.

To Cure HIV, Target The Reservoir

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HIV persistence in reservoirs is the primary reason that an outright cure for HIV hasn't been found yet. While our current antiretroviral treatments have proven to be effective against HIV, it behaves much like other chronic infectious diseases in that can lie dormant within the body for weeks, months, or even years. These reservoirs of infectious material are how HIV can survive after the body's been bombarded with antiretroviral therapy (ART). In order to learn more about ways to fight HIV and develop a cure, researchers have concluded that the answer lies in the last bastion of HIV in the body-the reservoirs.

HIV infection in the immune system's T-cells happens in two ways: Viruses passing from one T-cell to another through the blood plasma, or directly from one T-cell to another without plasma acting as the middleman. ART has proven to be very effective against viruses attempting to transmit through the bloodstream, but isn't quite as good at attacking infected T-cells from transmitting HIV to other healthy cells. In other words, the drugs currently available can prevent new cells from becoming infected, but routinely fight a losing battle against cells that are already infected.

All it takes is for one single copy of the virus to get through and the HIV reservoir is sustained. That one copy can continue to replicate itself within cells perpetually. The problem with the current treatment method is that it's streamlined to fight HIV one way, and while it's effective doing things that one way, an entirely different way of treatment is needed in order to deal with cells that are already infected. Do we find a way to kill them? Alternatively, do we attempt to synthesize a drug that is able to kill the HIV virus in previously infected cells? There are several of these questions to answer.

Currently, researchers have their work cut out for them. Their work in the past has produced the strong antiretroviral medications we have on the market today, but the quest for a cure continues on. HIV reservoirs are the last hiding place for HIV in the body and just might be the final barrier toward finding a true cure for the disease. Cracking the reservoir code is difficult, and much more testing needs to be done. However, significant progress has been made in this area, and if researchers continue with their work, a cure just might be closer than people think.

International Symposium on HIV & Emerging Infectious Diseases (ISHEID): the world leading AIDS experts will gather for the 2012 HIV AIDS ISHEID conference in Marseille, France, May 23-25, 2012. The general AIDS conference theme will be 'From Universal HIV Testing to HIV Cure'.

HIV Associated Cancers

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There is a mixed bag of news when it comes to HIV associated cancers. While the instances of AIDS-defining cancers, or the cancers typically associated with AIDS progression: Kaposi sarcoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and invasive cervical cancer, have decreased, instances of other types of cancers in HIV infected patients has increased, resulting in a virtual offset. Nonetheless, progress has been made when it comes to longevity in HIV patients. Highly active antiretroviral therapy has improved quality of life for HIV-infected patients, including lengthening life expectancy and reducing the risk of AIDS progression. While this is good news, what isn't good news is the noticeable increase in other types of cancers.

Between 1991 and 1995, about 34,000 cases of AIDS-defining cancers were present in HIV-infected patients; this number dropped to around 10,000 ten years later (between 2001 and 2005). This is a positive indication of the antiretroviral medication working and helping to delay the progression from HIV to AIDS. However, the instances of other cancers skyrocketed. About 3,000 cases of other cancers were found in HIV patients from 1991 to 1995; that number jumped to 10,000 cases ten years later. Since 2003, the number of non-AIDS-defining cancers has exceeded the number of AIDS-defining and HIV associated cancers. While some of this can be attributed to the general aging of the population, it doesn't explain it entirely.

Those with HIV infection are highly susceptible to cancers that are not AIDS-defining or HIV associated cancers, such as Hodgkin lymphoma, anal cancer, lung cancer, and liver cancer. About half of all cancers diagnosed in HIV patients between 2001 and 2005 are one or more of these four cancers. In fact, there were eight times more anal cancers, twice as many lung cancers, twice as many Hodgkin lymphomas, and five times as many liver cancers diagnosed in HIV patients between 2001 and 2005 as opposed to 1991 to 1995.

There is indeed an increase in persons over age 40, and cancer tends to show up more often at older ages. That notwithstanding, the overall number of HIV associated cancers decreasing is a good sign that the current medical treatments to fight HIV are working in some capacity. While research continues to progress toward a potential cure, the treatments currently available have improved and lengthened the lives of many people who are living every day with HIV. This is an important point to remember. However, the number of non-HIV associated cancers increasing is something to recognize and be aware of.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6202278

HIV-AIDS - Immunity, Eradication and Its Disappearing Victims

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Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the retrovirus responsible for acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) has been around since between 1884 and 1924 (while lentiviruses, the genus to which HIV belongs, have existed for over 14 million years) when it entered the human population from a chimpanzee in southeastern Cameroon during a period of rapid urbanization. At the time, no one noticed nor knew that it would result in one of the deadliest pandemics. Nor was anyone aware that some would possess a natural immunity, a cure would remain elusive a decade into the 21st century, and a significant number of deceased victims would be purged from mortality statistics distorting the pandemic's severity.

As the number of cases spread from Cameroon to neighboring countries, namely the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and the Central African Republic, they drew little attention even as victims died in scattered numbers from a series of complications (e.g. Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP), Kaposi's sarcoma, etc.) later attributed to AIDS. This was likely because of Africa's limited interaction with the developed world until the widespread use of air travel, the isolated, low incidence of cases, HIV's long incubation period (up to 10 years) before the onset of AIDS, and the absence of technology, reliable testing methods and knowledge surrounding the virus. The earliest confirmed case based on ZR59, a blood sample taken from a patient in Kinshasha, DRC dates back to 1959.

The outbreak of AIDS finally gained attention on June 5, 1981 after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) detected a cluster of deaths from PCP in Los Angeles and New York City. By August 1982, as the incidence of cases spread, the CDC referred to the outbreak as AIDS. The responsible retrovirus, HIV, was isolated nearly a year later (May 1983) by researchers from the Pasteur Institute in France and given its official name in May 1986 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. During this period, HIV-related mortality rates rose steadily in the United States peaking in 1994-1995.

HIV:

HIV is spherical in shape and approximately 120 nanometers (nm) in diameter (or 60 times smaller than a red blood cell). It is composed of two copies of single-stranded convoluted RNA surrounded by a conical capsid and lipid membrane that prevents antibodies from binding to it. HIV also consists of glycoprotein (gp120 and gp41) spikes and is a highly mutating virus. Its genome changes by as much as 1% each year, significantly faster than "killer" cytotoxic T-Cells (CD8+) can adapt. It is transmitted through bodily fluids.

Per CD4 Cell Tests (Fact Sheet Number 124, AIDS InfoNet, 21 March 2009), when "HIV infects humans" it infects "helper" T-4 (CD4) cells that are critical in resisting infections. HIV does so by merging its genetic code with that of T-4 (CD4) cells. HIV's spikes stick to the surface of T-4 (CD4) cells enabling its viral envelope to fuse with their membrane. Once fused, HIV pastes its contents into the DNA of T-4 (CD4) cells with the enzyme, integrase, so that each time T-4 (CD4) cells replicate, they produce additional "copies of HIV," reducing the count of healthy T-4 (CD4) cells. Then as healthy T-4 (CD4) cells, which come in millions of families geared towards specific pathogens are eliminated, the body is rendered defenseless against the pathogens "they were designed" to fight until ultimately, the immune system is overwhelmed.

When the T-4 (CD4) cell count drops below 200 cells per cubic mm of blood (or a percentage of? 14% of total lymphocytes; normal counts range from 500-1600 or 30%-60% of lymphocytes), indicative of serious immune system damage, the victim is deemed to have AIDS ("the end point of an infection that is continuous, progressive and pathogenic per Richard Hunt, MD (Human Immunodeficiency Virus And AIDS Statistics, Virology - Chapter 7, Microbiology and Immunology On-line (University of South Carolina School of Medicine, 23 February 2010)) and is vulnerable to a multitude of opportunistic infections. Examples are PCP, a fungal infection that is a major killer of HIV-positive persons, Kaposi's sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that attacks the brain and other parts of the body and cryptococcosis, a fungal infection that attacks the brain and spinal cord (both usually occur when the T-4 (CD4) cell count drops below 100), and mycobacterium avium complex (MAC), a bacterial infection that can be localized to a specific organ (usually the bone marrow, intestines, liver, or lungs) or widespread, in which case it is referred to as disseminated mycobacterium avium complex (DMAC) (which often occurs when the T-4 (CD4) cell count drops below 50).

Natural Immunity:

Since the onset of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in 1981 cases of people with a natural immunity to HIV have been documented. Although these persons, called long-term non-progressors (LTNPs) are infected with HIV, they never develop AIDS. When LTNPs are infected, some suffer an initial drop in their T-4 (CD4) cell count. However, when their T-4 (CD4) cell count reaches around 500 it stabilizes and never drops again preventing the onset of AIDS. Furthermore, while CD8+ T-Cells (even in large numbers) are ineffective against HIV-infected T-4 (CD4) cells in progressors (persons without a natural immunity to HIV), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported in a December 4, 2008 press release that "CD8+ T-Cells taken from LTNPs [can efficiently] kill HIV-infected cells in less than [an] hour" in which "a protein, perforin (produced only in negligible amounts in progressors), manufactured by their CD8+ T-Cells punches holes in the infected cells" enabling a second protein, "granzyme B" to penetrate and kill them.

Per Genetic HIV Resistance Deciphered (Med-Tech, 7 January 2005) the roots of this immunity dates back a thousand years due to "a pair of mutated genes - one in each chromosome - that prevent their immune cells from developing [Chemokine (C-C motif) receptor 5 (CCR5) receptors] that let [HIV penetrate]." This mutation likely evolved to provide added protection against smallpox according to Alison Galvani, professor of epidemiology at Yale University. Based on the latest scientific evidence, the mutated CCR5 gene (also called delta 32 because of the absence or deletion of 32 amino acids from its cytokine receptor) located in Th2 cells, developed in Scandinavia and progressed southward to central Asia as the Vikings expanded their influence. Consequently up to 1% of Northern Europeans (with Swedes being in the majority) followed by a similar percentage of Central Asians have this mutation, which if inherited from both parents provides them total immunity while another 10-15% of Northern Europeans and Central Asians having inherited the mutation from one parent exhibit greater resistance in lieu of complete immunity to HIV.

At the same time, even though the CCR5 mutation is absent in Africans, a small also exhibit percentage natural immunity (possibly developed through exposure) to HIV/AIDS - CD8+ T-Cell generation that effectively kills HIV-infected cells and mutated human leukocyte group A (HLA) antigens that coat the surface of their T-4 (CD4) cells to prevent HIV from penetrating based on an intensive study of 25 Nairobi prostitutes who per The Amazing Cases of People with Natural Immunity against HIV (Softpedia, 27 June 2007) have "had sex with hundreds, perhaps thousands of HIV-positive clients" and shown no sign of contracting HIV.

In addition, people with larger numbers of the CCL3L1 gene that produces cytokines (proteins that "gum" up CCR5 receptors) to prevent HIV from entering their T-4 (CD4) cells, per Genetic HIV Resistance Deciphered have greater resistance to HIV in comparison to others within their ethnic group that possess lesser quantities of the CCL3L1 gene and get "sick as much as 2.6 times faster."

At the same time, up to 75% of newborn babies also possess natural immunity (for reasons still not known) when exposed to HIV-positive blood. Although born with HIV antibodies - thus HIV-positive, newborns "usually lose HIV antibodies acquired from their HIV-positive mothers within 12-16 - maximum 18 months," in which their "spontaneous loss of [HIV] antibodies" without medical intervention is called seroreversion. "However, with the exception of very few instances, these infants are not HIV-infected" conclusive proof of a natural immunity to HIV.[1] Furthermore, when pregnant HIV-positive women are administered highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), which lowers the viral concentration of HIV in their blood, an astonishing 97% of their newborns lose their HIV antibodies through seroreversion to become HIV-free per the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) as posted under Surveillance Monitoring for ART Toxicities Study in HIV-Uninfected Children Born to HIV-Infected Mothers (SMARTT) (Clinical Trials.gov, 29 March 2008). However, at this time, it is not known if these newborns retain their natural immunity throughout their lives.

Eradication:

With a cure perhaps unattainable, eradication of HIV/AIDS in the same way as smallpox (with no cure) was eliminated, may be the most feasible option. According to Dr. Brian Williams of the South African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis, eradication of HIV/AIDS is an achievable goal that could be attained by 2050 if the current HIV/AIDS research paradigm is changed from focus on finding a cure to stopping transmission.

Per Dr. Williams such an effort would require testing billions of people annually. Though costly, the benefits would exceed the costs "from day one" according to the South African epidemiologist. Anyone found with HIV antibodies would immediately be administered antiretroviral therapy (which reduces HIV concentration 10,000-fold and infectiousness 25-fold) to halt transmission, effectively ending such transmission by 2015 and eliminating the disease by 2050 as most carriers die out, according to his estimate. The reason for this optimism, per Steve Connor, Aids: is the end in sight? (The Independent, 22 February 2010), is a "study published in 2008 [that] showed it is theoretically possible to cut new HIV cases by 95%, from a prevalence of 20 per 1,000 to 1 per 1,000, within 10 years of implementing a programme [sic] of universal testing and prescription of [HA]ART drugs."

Even though clinical trials to test Dr. Williams' vision will start in 2010 in Somkhele, South Africa, access to HAART still needs to be improved greatly to purge the disease. Presently only about 42% of HIV-positive people have access to HAART.

Furthermore, for eradication efforts to succeed, prevention programs (which currently reach fewer than 1 in 5 in sub-Saharan Africa, the epicenter of the pandemic where the average life-expectancy has fallen below 40 leaving about 15 million children orphaned) will have to continue to play an essential role in stopping transmission. Such programs though not limited to, must include abstinence, condom distribution, education re: transmission, safe sex, etc., and needle distribution to drug users (the latter which is badly lacking according to Kate Kelland, Failure to aid drug users drives HIV spread: study (Reuters, 1 March 2010) with "more than 90% of the world's 16 million injecting drug users offered no help to avoid contracting AIDS" despite the fact that such users often share needles and approximately 18.75% are believed to be HIV-positive).

Proof that such efforts can work is evident when the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) created in 2003 for Africa that provides funding focused on HAART and palliative care for HIV/AIDS patients, HIV/AIDS awareness education and prevention programs (condoms, needle-exchanges, and abstinence) and financial assistance to care for the pandemic's orphans and other vulnerable children, is considered. Per Michael Smith, PEPFAR Cut AIDS Death Rate in African Nations (Med Page Today, 6 April 2009), the program "averted about 1.1 million deaths [from 2004-2007]... a 10% reduction compared to neighboring African countries."

The "Disappearing" Victims:

Despite reason for optimism based on Dr. Williams' vision of eradication, the "disappearance" of HIV/AIDS victims is highly disturbing. In fact, when current statistics are compared to past statistics, more than 19 million victims or triple the number of murdered Holocaust victims (1933-1945) have been purged from the official record (effectively minimizing the severity of the pandemic) without as much as a whimper of protest, possibly because demographically speaking, a statistically-significant number of the deceased fall into groups that have been and continue to be the subjects of racial, gender, cultural, and even religious discrimination. In the words of Charles King, an activist who spoke in San Francisco on World AIDS Day in 2007, it is likely because HIV/AIDS has mainly "taken the lives of people deemed expendable"[2] the same mentality used to justify Hitler's "Final Solution" and other pogroms.

Back on January 25, 2002 in AIDS Death Toll 'Likely' to Surpass That of Bubonic Plague, Expert Says in British Medical Journal Special Issue on HIV/AIDS (Kaiser Network), it was written, "AIDS - which has already killed 25 million people worldwide - will overtake the bubonic plague as the 'world's worst pandemic' if the 40 million people currently infected with HIV do not get access to life-prolonging drugs..."

A year earlier, UNAIDS listed the global death toll as 21.8 million with an increase of 3.2 million in 2002. By 2003, based on statistics reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNAIDS, and U.S. Census Bureau as tabulated in The Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Current & Future Challenges by Jennifer Kates, M.A., M.P.A., Director HIV Policy, Kaiser Family Foundation the global death toll had risen to 28 million by February 2003. Add annual mortality statistics of 3 million (2003), 3.1 million (2004 and 2005), 2.9 million (2006), 2.1 million (2007), and 2 million (2008, the most recent complete year of reporting) per UNAIDS, and an estimated, conservative total of 1.4 million (if another 28% decline as occurred between 2006 and 2007 took place between 2008 and 2009) the global death toll for year-end 2009 would be roughly 45.6 million. Yet, when UNAIDS released its latest report in November 2009 as reported in the Mail & Guardian (South Africa, 24 November 2009) the worldwide death toll through 2008 was listed as "passing 25 million," approximately 19.2 million below the actual mark.

Per AIDS cases drop due to revised data (MSNBC, 19 November 2007), the "disappearing" victims can be attributed to "a new methodology." While this may make sense with regard to prevalence since "[p]revious AIDS numbers were largely based on the numbers of infected pregnant women at clinics, as well as projecting the AIDS rates of certain high-risk groups like drug users to the entire population at risk" versus the new methodology that incorporates data from "national household surveys," it does not with regard to mortality figures which are calculated primarily from national AIDS registries and/or death certificates based on the presence of HIV, T-4 (CD4) cell counts below 200, and death caused by opportunistic AIDS-related infections resulting from such low T-4 (CD4) cell counts.

In retrospect, when viewing the approximate 45.6 million figure, few pandemics have killed more than HIV/AIDS - Smallpox (which had come in waves since 430 BC until the World Health Organization (WHO) certified its eradication in 1979), killed 300-500 million, Black Death/Bubonic Plague killed approximately 75 million from 1340-1771, and Spanish Influenza killed between 40-50 million from 1918-1919.

Optimism for the Future:

Until HIV/AIDS can be certified as eradicated by the WHO, despite the terrible economic toll it has taken, especially on sub-Saharan Africa (due to lost skills, shrinking workforces, rising medical costs) and other developing regions and its devastating toll in human lives and on families, there is reason for optimism.

As of December 2008, per UNAIDS, 33.4 million people are infected with HIV, a 1.2% increase from a year earlier with much of the rise attributed to a declining mortality rate due to a 10-fold increase in availability of HAART since 2004. About 2.7 million persons were newly infected in 2008, 18% and 30% decreases in new HIV infections globally since 2001 and 1996, respectively. In another promising sign, new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa, responsible for about 70% of all HIV/AIDS-related deaths in 2008, has fallen by 15% since 2001. At the same time, there were approximately 2 million HIV/AIDS-related deaths in 2008, a 35% reduction from 2004 levels when the global mortality rate peaked.

Presently, the HIV/AIDS pandemic has begun to decline or stabilize in most parts of the world. Declines have been recorded in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia (although the mortality rate is increasing in East Asia) while the pandemic has stabilized in the Caribbean, Latin America, North America and Western and Central Europe. The only part of the world where the HIV/AIDS pandemic is worsening is the Eastern European (especially in Ukraine and Russia) and Central Asian region.

The declines should continue as new methods of prevention and treatment are developed. Based on studies of NLTPs, a new class of treatments focused on genetic therapy to delete the necessary 32 amino acids from CCR5 receptors, elicit perforin and granzyme B production, and develop protease inhibitors to provide immunity to HIV and halt its spread may be developed in the future.

Though still a long way off and potentially very expensive (up to $20,000 per treatment), Drugs.com Med News reported in Gene Therapy Shows Promise Against HIV (19 February 2010) that when researchers removed immune cells from eight HIV-infected persons, modified their genetic code and reinserted them, the "levels of HIV fell below the expected levels in seven of the eight patients [with] signs of the virus disappear[ing] altogether in one" even though HAART treatment was halted. A study by UCLA AIDS Institute researchers, which removed CCR5 receptors by "transplanting a small RNA molecule known as short hairpin RNA (shRNA), which induced RNA interference into human stem cells to inhibit the expression of CCR5 in human immune cells" mimicking those of LTNPs through the use of "a humanized mouse model," as reported on February 26, 2010 in Medical News Today in Gene-Based Stem Cell Therapy Specifically Removes Cell Receptor That Attracts HIV, showed similar success in that it resulted in a "stable, long-term reduction of CCR5."

At the same time, as announced in HIV/AIDS drug puzzle cracked (Kate Kelland, Reuters, 1 February 2010), British and U.S. scientists succeeded (after 40,000 unsuccessful attempts) in growing a crystal to decipher the structure of integrase, an enzyme found in HIV and other retroviruses. This will lead to a better understanding how integrase-inhibitor drugs work and perhaps to a more effective generation of treatments that could impede HIV from pasting a copy of its genetic code in the DNA of victims' T-4(CD4) cells.

Likewise, per Structure of HIV coat may help develop new drugs (Health News, 13 November 2009) scientists from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine "unraveled the complex structure" of the capsid coat (viewing its "overall shape and atomic details") "surrounding HIV" that could enable "scientists to design therapeutic compounds" to block infection.

At the same time, researchers at the University of Texas Medical School may have finally discovered HIV's vulnerability, per Achilles Heel of HIV Uncovered (Ani, July 2008) - "a tiny stretch of amino acids numbered 421-433 on gp120" that must remain constant to attach to T-4 (CD4) cells. To conceal its weakness and evade an effective immune response, HIV tricks the body into attacking its mutating regions, which change so rapidly, ineffective antibodies are produced until the immune system is overwhelmed. Based on this finding, the researchers have created an abzyme (an antibody with catalytic or helpful enzymatic activity) derived from blood samples taken from HIV-negative people with lupus (a chronic autoimmune disease that can attack any part of the body - skin, joints, and/or organs) and HIV-positive LTNPs, which has proven potent in neutralizing HIV in lab tests, thus offering promise of developing an effective vaccine or microbicide (gel to protect against sexual transmission). Although human clinical trials are to follow, it might not be until 2015 or 2020 before abzymatic treatments are available.

Elsewhere, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) scientists recently isolated two antibodies from a NLTP HIV-positive African patient - PG9 and PG16 (called broadly neutralizing antibodies (BNAbs) that bind to HIV's viral spike composed of gp120 and gp41 to block the virus from infecting T-4 (CD4) cells. Per Monica Hoyos Flight, A new starting point for HIV vaccine design (Nature Reviews, MacMillan Publishers Limited, November 2009) "PG9 and PG16, when tested against a larger panel of viruses [HIV] neutralized 127 and 116 viruses, respectively" providing additional hopes for developing an effective vaccine and novel treatment regimens that induce the body to produce BNAbs, which currently only the immune system of NLTPs can create.

At the same time, studies of newborn seroreversion and medically induced production of human leukocyte group A (HLA) antigens that coat the surface of T-4 (CD4) cells could also eventually lead to anti-HIV vaccine that could protect billions of people.

In the meantime until such developments bear fruit, HAART (despite its mild side effects such as nausea and headaches in some and serious to life-threatening side effects in others) has proven to be highly effective in containing HIV with, per Gerald Pierone Jr., MD in The End of HIV Drug Development as We Know It? (The Body Pro: The HIV Resource for Health Professionals, 18 February 2010) reporting, "about 80% of patients [receiving HAART] reach an undetectable viral load." Furthermore, greater access to antiretrovirals, per Drop in HIV infections and deaths (BBC News, 24 November 2009) "has helped cut the death toll from HIV by more than 10%" from 2004-2008 and saved more than 3 million lives based on UNAIDS and WHO statistics. HAART has also cut the age-adjusted mortality rate by more than 70% according to Kaiser Family Foundation's July 2007 HIV/AIDS Policy Fact Sheet, because of its effectiveness in delaying and even preventing the onset of AIDS.

Despite HAART's cost ($10,000-$15,000 per patient per year), the State of California in a report titled, HIV/AIDS in California, 1981-2008 called it "dramatic and life-saving" especially since early intervention results in greater mean T-4 (CD4) cell counts translating into fewer opportunistic infections and deaths. It also results in real cost savings because of the strong inverse relationship between T-4 (CD4) cell counts and associated medical expenses.

In conclusion, despite HIV/AIDS' "disappearing" victims, there is reason for optimism. Research over the last year has offered several promising leads - the underlying cause of NLTPs' immunity has been discovered, the structure of the HIV virus solved, and its weak point found - while improved access to HAART and HIV/AIDS education and prevention measures (with the exception of addressing intravenous drug users) have made significant inroads in reducing infection and mortality rates buying victims additional years and an enhanced quality of life.

Living With HIV/AIDS

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On April 3, 1987 the day after my 14th birthday, I was walking away from a fight when this girl who was much older than I was tried to pick a fight with me. I ignored her and kept on walking. Then suddenly she ran up behind me and hit me on the back of my head, with a wooden leg off of a baby bed. It jerked my head forward and broke my neck. At the time I was around three months pregnant, but since that meant that I was only in my first trimester, the doctors were unable to perform the surgery right away.

Then in June of 1987 when I was five months pregnant the doctors were finally able to perform the surgery to repair my broken neck; however, I lost too much blood during the surgery putting me at risk of losing my baby. So I was given a blood transfusion, two pints of blood I was given. The next month when I returned for my six month prenatal check-up and I was asked to get an HIV test. The doctors had found out that one of the pints of blood that I was given was contaminated with the HIV virus. So I agreed to be tested. Two weeks later while I was at church an incredible force came over me to go up to the altar and the pastor prayed for me and my unborn child. Around the same time at home my mother received the call for us to come in and discuss my test results. When my mother told me about the call, I knew that I had tested positive for HIV. I don't know how I knew, I just did. Why else would the doctor call about test results on a Sunday?

The next morning we went into the maternity clinic to discuss the test results and sure enough I had tested positive for the HIV virus. My mother was devastated. I, on the other hand, accepted it immediately. I was told that I probably wouldn't live to see my 18th birthday. Then the doctor tried to talk me into getting an abortion; however, I didn't believe in abortions, so I refused. After all I was already in my sixth month of pregnancy and I had started feeling my baby kicking. I wouldn't have gotten an abortion under any circumstances so they left me alone in my decision to keep my baby. Still, I was told that my baby could be born with HIV as well. But I was putting my faith in God that he would have mercy and spare my baby from this devastating disease.

By this time my mother had to quit her job to take care of me. We lost our home and by the time I was seven months pregnant we became homeless. Around the same time, my baby's daddy had gone on a job in Kentucky, on his way back home to Nashville; he was killed in a car accident. So now I was seven months pregnant and homeless and I was going to be a single mother. Then at 6:00 a.m. on November 21st I went into labor, I went through 58 hours of labor but finally at 4:20 p.m. on November 23, 1987 I gave birth to my daughter. She weighed 6 pounds 12 ounces. She had black curly hair and the most beautiful hazel eyes. I named her Deondra Mae Snyder. She seemed to be a healthy baby full of life and charisma. When she was born, only my antibodies were testing positive for HIV. However, when my daughter turned 18 months old she too tested positive for the HIV virus. At that time the doctors put my daughter on an AIDS medication called AZT.

Then when she turned four years old she had her first Opportunistic Infection, she was diagnosed with Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia (PCP) which is a deadly type of AIDS-related pneumonia even for an adult. The survival rate for this type of pneumonia was slim to none; however, by the grace of God she survived. The doctors discovered that she had become resistant to the AZT so then they said they could start her on some experiential drugs but we would have to go to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland to receive the treatment. So in 1991 I started taking my daughter to the NIH in Bethesda. While she was there the doctors started my daughter on a three drug combination called a cocktail which consisted of DDI, DDC, and Saquinavir. Unfortunately, as quick as the new drugs became available, she would become resistant to them. Nevertheless, we continued to fight, trying treatment after treatment.

Then in 1994 when I was 21 I too came down with a bad case of PCP in both lungs and I almost died. I was in the hospital for three months during which time my right lung collapsed, I developed a blood clot in my PIC line (a kind of IV that can be used for several weeks to several months) and I had a nervous breakdown. At that time I was diagnosed with having full-blown AIDS. Then and there, I was determined that I was going to live with AIDS, not die from it. Through the years I have had many bouts of sickness and close calls with death, but I am a survivor.

As the years passed, my daughter became sicker and sicker. Then on January 26, 2000 my daughter lost her battle with AIDS. The Angel of Death had come and took my baby girl away from me. She was only 12 years old when she died. After her death I went into a deep depression, and even tried to commit suicide on a couple of occasions. Then I realized that my daughter would want me to live. So I got counseling to deal with the pain and grief that I was feeling. Eventually I did get better and started living my life again.

Then in December of 2009, God had mercy on me and I started on a new drug called Atripla. When I started on Atripla my CD4 counts were at a low 22 and my viral load was very high at 1.5 million. I responded very well to the Atripla and my counts quickly rose and my viral load quickly dropped. Now today, almost three years later my CD4 counts are 649 the highest they have ever been and my viral load is undetectable. I have finally found my wonder drug and I am beating this disease one day at a time. I am now attending college at Nashville State Community College where I'm pursuing an Associate's Degree in Office Administration Medical Professional Concentration. I am averaging a 3.0 to 3.4 GPA I have also become a writer for several websites, which has allowed me to share my stories in hopes that it will encourage others. I just want to say that AIDS doesn't have to be a death sentence, that there is life after an AIDS diagnosis. If I may share one piece of advice it would be to fight this disease head on, keep a positive attitude and believe in your higher power.

I am 38 year old, web article writer, poet, author of two books-TRUE INSPIRATIONS and SLEEPING WITH THE ANGELS; and a colllege student at Nashville State Community College where I am pursuing an Associate's Degree in Office Administration-Medical Professional Concentration. I have been HIV positive for 24 years and had full-blown AIDS for 17 years.

A Medicine for Chapped Hands

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It was family medicine in ancient China. The family was engaged in dyeing fabrics in cold water in the winter. The family was suffering from chapped hands that were caused by cold water and wind from working in the winter. They developed a special medicine to treat chapped hands. A traveler heard rumors that this family had medicine to treat chapped hands, so he visited the family and offered to buy the medicine, its prescriptions, and instructions. He wanted to prescribe the medicine, so the traveler offered the family 10,000 yen to buy the medicine, its prescriptions, and instructions.

The family discussed the proposal. Their dyeing business had brought them less than 1,000 yen. The offer was more than 10 times their normal business. So they decided to sell the instructions, prescription, and medicine to this traveler. The traveler took the medicine to the northern part of China and told a local king that he had a special method to treat chapped hands for soldiers who fight in the winter. Recognizing that this would give their soldiers an advantage against their enemies, the local king hired him as an army surgeon. He soon became an army general surgeon, thanks to the effectiveness of this medicine. His kingdom continued to win wars against their enemy, thanks to this medicine. Finally, the traveler became a premier of this kingdom.

In contrast to this traveler, the family spent all the money from the sale of this medicine and returned to their old dyeing business. They remained in a dyeing business and never became rich or held high position.

This is a story appears in ancient Chinese philosophy book of Taoism, Zhuangzi. The medicine, powerful enough to raise the traveler to the number two position in a kingdom, was, when treated as just a medicine for a dyeing business, not an effective tool in making the original family successful.

The story is somewhat scary to consider. We may be in the possession of something as powerful as this medicine, but, unlike the traveler, we are not using its effectiveness to the full. Many of us are more like the original family in this story. We do not realize the powerful nature of the thing in our possession and waste its value. I believe that the story teaches us the importance of paying attention to the real nature of things and analyzing how to use them. In addition the story tells us the importance of thinking outside of the box. It is amazing to think that this story was written more than 2000 years ago.

Shaw Funami is an owner of "zhen international, inc.", known as a mentor for cross cultural relationship called "Fill the Missing Link". You can learn about his profile in Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/shaw.funami. Please feel free to contact him at "hisashi.funami@zhenintl.ws" or visit his business website. http://webtraffictoolbox.com/

By Shaw_Funami