Timothy Brown, “the Berlin Patient,” Dies at 54

Blog
Timothy Brown, known as “the Berlin patient,” was the first person in the world known to be cured of HIV infection. He passed away at age 54 at his home in Palm Springs, California on September 29th, 2020. Brown was diagnosed with HIV in 1995 while working in Berlin, Germany. Later, in 2007, he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a blood cancer usually treated with blood marrow transplants. Brown’s physician at the time, Dr. Gero Hütter, wanted to try a transplant using a donor with a rare genetic mutation that gives a natural resistance to HIV, hoping to cure both the leukemia and HIV infection together. After his first transplant, Brown’s HIV infection seemed to be gone, but his leukemia remained. After a second transplant from the same donor,…
Read More

Am I Lazy? – Why I Procrastinate

Blog
From Tracy Fromm, Mental Health Counselor of Caring Communities Have you ever felt the stress of putting off a task which needs to be completed and ended up feeling “very uncomfortable?” The word, “procrastinate” has its origin from Latin, meaning, “to put off until tomorrow.” We have all experienced procrastination. Putting off tasks provides a sense of temporary relief and because we feel a sense of “reward”, we end up procrastinating over and over again. Procrastination is a way for us to cope with challenging emotions and negative moods. If we continue to procrastinate, we begin a process of self-blame with increased anxiety and feelings of low self- esteem. These negative thoughts exacerbate our stress of a situation and increase feelings of anxiety. Many times, procrastination is related to perfectionism.…
Read More

National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day

Blog
On September 18, 2008, The AIDS Institute launched National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day (observed annually on September 18th) as a way to raise awareness of the challenges faced by aging populations with regards to HIV prevention, testing, care, and treatment. Most new HIV diagnoses in the US are among young adults aged 25-34. However, in 2018, nearly 4,000 new HIV diagnoses were in adults aged 55 and older.[1] The good news is diagnoses among older adults is declining overall. Additionally, for every 100 people aged 55 and older living with HIV, 69 have received some HIV care, 56 were retained in care, and 60 were virally suppressed, meaning they have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to a partner.[2] There are a few unique challenges to HIV prevention…
Read More

What You Should Know About Barrier Methods

Blog
Barrier methods, put simply, are “a covering used to prevent contact with body fluids.”[1] One of the most well-known barrier methods in the US is the condom, a way to keep sperm and other bodily fluids from mixing during sexual intercourse. Condoms are typically used to prevent pregnancy and transmission of STDs or HIV. It is important to note that contraceptives (like the pill or an IUD) can prevent pregnancy, but they do not protect against STDs or HIV. Similarly, PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis) can prevent HIV transmission when used correctly, but will not protect you from other STDs your partner may have. In these cases, it is recommended to use a barrier method along with a contraceptive or PrEP routine to be sure you are taking measures to keep yourself…
Read More

What is Anxiety?

Blog
From Tracy Fromm, Mental Health Counselor of Caring Communities Everyone experiences anxiety in their lives, which can produce both a mental and physical reaction.  Anxiety in small amounts can give us greater focus and concentration or protect us from danger. However, anxiety in large amounts can literally make us sick and become debilitating. Constant thoughts accompany anxiety, ruminating about details of our lives, which results in physiological effects ranging from increased heart rate, stomach problems, sleep problems, and extreme nervousness to name a few. What level of chronic anxiety do you have? There are three levels: Generalized Anxiety:  This is a pervasive feeling of constant worry, excessive thoughts related to our jobs, finances, personal issues or even minor concerns. Phobias: I addressed phobias in the last newsletter. This is an…
Read More