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Right now, the world of infectious disease is looking incredibly optimistic.

A lab tech preps a test. Photo by Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images.

I know that might sound kind of weird. We don't often hear the words "infectious disease" and immediately feel all excited and hopeful. But we're actually making tremendous, tangible, changing-someone's-life progress every day.


"The more time you spend with folks working in the field, the more optimistic you become," said Trevor DeWitt, who works at the Center for Infectious Disease Research (CIDR), a research institute headquartered in Seattle.

In fact, the fight is looking so strong that the scientists at the CIDR decided to illustrate their battles in the style of epic movies.

Inspired by the fight against disease — as well as comics and classic movies — the center teamed up with a creative partner to created four colorful posters that capture the field's passion and optimism.

The posters help show how, though we laypeople might think of studying infectious disease as a never-ending, depressing slog through test tubes, microscopes, and hospital sick bays, this fight is actually every bit as exciting as any epic movie battle scene.

Check them out:

1. You can't run forever, HIV!

Image from the Center for Infectious Disease Research, used with permission.

Oh, by the way, this optimism isn't just horsefeathers.

Because while HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) once seemed insurmountable, today better education, better prevention, and new, better antiviral medications are putting this disease on the run. We may even see a HIV vaccine in the near future!

2. Time's up, malaria!

Image from the Center for Infectious Disease Research, used with permission.

Over 3 billion people are at risk of contracting malaria, which is a parasitic infection carried by mosquitoes. That might seem too big to fight, but actually, in the last 15 years, our hard work has been able to drop incidence rates by 37% and death rates by 60%!

3. Good riddance, tuberculosis!

Image from the Center for Infectious Disease Research, used with permission.

Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease that often attacks the lungs. It killed about 1.5 million people in 2014. That's a lot, but the World Health Organization has set a goal to eliminate 90% of infections by 2035, and with international support and a suite of powerful antibiotics, we might be able to pull it off!

4. You're finished, sleeping sickness!

Image from the Center for Infectious Disease Research, used with permission.

Sleeping sickness is a parasitic infection carried by tsetse flies, which are found in sub-Saharan Africa. Thanks to sustained control efforts, cases have been steadily dropping — between 2000 and 2013, the new-case infection rate dropped 73%!

This fight is proof that when we all join forces, there's very little we can't do.

"The pace of discovery is quickening every single day," DeWitt said, noting the ability to share knowledge, inspiration, and technology has completely changed the infectious disease game. "From our view, there's never been a better time for scientific discovery than right now."

The center hopes that by publishing these posters, they can highlight a few of the less flashy, cable-newsy diseases. But more than that, they hope these posters help people become inspired to join the fight, whether through science, the creative arts, or simply pushing the government for more scientific funding.

DeWitt also said they're hoping to publish another poster series soon. And I, for one, can't wait to see them.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

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We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

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