+
More

Cuba just made a major AIDS breakthrough no other country has been able to achieve.

A successful public health initiative in Cuba could help prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission worldwide.

We're one step closer to ending the AIDS epidemic, thanks to a recent breakthrough from Cuba.

Yes, you read that right. This is big news.


Seen one of these ribbons around? It's the international symbol for AIDS treatment and prevention. Photo by Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images.

In 2010, Cuba partnered with the World Health Organization to tackle the spread of HIV and syphilis.

We hear most often about STDs spreading through needle sharing or unprotected sex, but a large percentage of HIV/AIDS cases occur when the disease is passed from mothers to their children during birth or breastfeeding.

Many of the estimated 1.4 million HIV-positive women who get pregnant each yeardon't even know they've been infected with HIV to begin with. And without any treatment, those women have a 45% chance of infecting their children with HIV, too.

Cuba approached this crazy-huge issue with the help of their equitable, accessible, and universal health care system.

According to The Guardian, Cuba's regional initiative provided HIV and syphilis testing for all pregnant women and their partners.

Yep. Every. Single. Cuban.Citizen.

If adorable babies like these (and their mothers) can be treated within a system like Cuba's, HIV could be a thing of the past. Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

In addition to testing, this care was available for each woman throughout her pregnancy and childbirth. If a woman tested positive for HIV, she was given special treatments that included medication, breastfeeding substitutes, and a cesarean delivery.

All it took was two key tactics: providing universal access to health care and focusing on disease prevention in local clinics. Then the people of Cuba started seeing incredible results.

Now, Cuba has become the first country in the world to virtually eliminate the spread of HIV and syphilis from mother to child.

When the World Health Organization announced this good news, they shared some amazing statistics: In the past year, there were less than 50 cases of mother-to-child-transmitted HIV for every 100,000 live births in Cuba.

Plus, more than 95% of HIV-positive Cuban women now know their HIV status and have access to antiviral drugs. Whoa.

The rest of the world can do what Cuba did. But without universal, equitable, and accessible health care systems, it will be a slower process.

Cuba gets a lot of press for their health care system, which is generally great despite the country's economic disparities. This is yet another example.

But there's some good news for everyone else in the world, too.

Like this statistic, which also comes from the World Health Organization: As of 2013, more than half of HIV-positive pregnant women in low- and middle-income countries around the world were able to get the medications they needed to protect their children from HIV. ("More than half" might not sound like a lot, but with an estimated 35 million adults and children living with HIV, that's a pretty big group.)

And even better, "The number of children born annually with HIV has almost halved since 2009 — down from 400,000 in 2009 to 240,000 in 2013."

With that, we're one step closer to an AIDS-free generation.

After years of social movement toward ending the stigma around AIDS and increasing prevention, we may be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Photo by Dubyangshu Sarkar/Getty Images.

Despite significant political and economic struggle, Cuba has revealed two important pieces in what had previously seemed like an impossible puzzle. Focusing on prevention and providing universal health care as a human right brings us one step closer to potentially putting an end to the transmission of a deadly disease.

The United Nations even has a plan for scaling this incredible initiative to the rest of the world, too. I can't wait to see what happens.

All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

I have plenty of space.

This article originally appeared on 04.09.16


It's hard to truly describe the amazing bond between dads and their daughters.

Being a dad is an amazing job no matter the gender of the tiny humans we're raising. But there's something unique about the bond between fathers and daughters.

Most dads know what it's like to struggle with braiding hair, but we also know that bonding time provides immense value to our daughters. In fact, studies have shown that women with actively involved fathers are more confident and more successful in school and business.

Keep ReadingShow less
Identity

This blind chef wore a body cam to show how she prepares dazzling dishes.

How do blind people cook? This "Masterchef" winner leans into her senses.

Image pulled from YouTube video.

Christine Ha competes on "Masterchef."

This article originally appeared on 05.26.17


There is one question chef Christine Ha fields more than any other.

But it's got nothing to do with being a "Masterchef" champion, New York Times bestselling author, and acclaimed TV host and cooking instructor.

The question: "How do you cook while blind?"

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Two couples move in together with their kids to create one big, loving 'polyfamory'

They are using their unique family arrangement to help people better understand polyamory.

The Hartless and Rodgers families post together


Polyamory, a lifestyle where people have multiple romantic or sexual partners, is more prevalent in America than most people think. According to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, one in nine Americans have been in a polyamorous relationship, and one in six say they would like to try one.

However popular the idea is, polyamory is misunderstood by a large swath of the public and is often seen as deviant. However, those who practice it view polyamory as a healthy lifestyle with several benefits.

Taya Hartless, 28, and Alysia Rogers, 34, along with their husbands Sean, 46, and Tyler, 35, are in a polyamorous relationship and have no problem sharing their lifestyle with the public on social media. Even though they risk stigmatization for being open about their non-traditional relationships, they are sharing it with the world to make it a safer place for “poly” folks like themselves.

Keep ReadingShow less

Gordon Ramsay at play... work.

This article originally appeared on 04.22.15


Gordon Ramsay is not exactly known for being nice.

Or patient.

Or nurturing.

On his competition show "Hell's Kitchen," he belittles cooks who can't keep up. If people come to him with their problems, he berates them. If someone is struggling to get something right in the kitchen, he curses them out.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 01.27.20


From 1940 to 1945, an estimated 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz, the largest complex of Nazi concentration camps. More than four out of five of those people—at least 1.1 million people—were murdered there.

On January 27, 1945, Soviet forces liberated the final prisoners from these camps—7,000 people, most of whom were sick or dying. Those of us with a decent public education are familiar with at least a few names of Nazi extermination facilities—Auschwitz, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen—but these are merely a few of the thousands (yes, thousands) of concentration camps, sub camps, and ghettos spread across Europe where Jews and other targets of Hitler's regime were persecuted, tortured, and killed by the millions.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

What I realized about feminism after my male friend was disgusted by tampons at a party.

"After all these years, my friend has probably forgotten, but I never have."

Photo by Josefin on Unsplash

It’s okay men. You don’t have to be afraid.

This article originally appeared on 08.12.16


Years ago, a friend went to a party, and something bothered him enough to rant to me about it later.

And it bothered me that he was so incensed about it, but I couldn't put my finger on why. It seemed so petty for him to be upset, and even more so for me to be annoyed with him.

Recently, something reminded me of that scenario, and it made more sense. I'll explain.

Keep ReadingShow less