Injection drug use accounts for most of the incident infections with Hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the United States. HCV infection is a complex and challenging medical condition in injection drug users. Caring for patients who use illicits drugs presents challenges to the health-care world that require cultural competence, patience, and an understanding of the dynamics of substance use and addiction. Many programs and non-profit agencies are successfully integrating HCV care into health-care settings, however, there are still barriers to proper care for those impacted individuals. Join us next Friday, June 7th, 2019 for our webinar ‘Overcoming Barriers To HCV Care for People Who Inject Drugs’; register here at https://bit.ly/2GsfqcN today!
Everybody knows the importance of fruit as a part of a well-balanced diet, but most people do not know just how good fruit is for health physical and mental health. Studies show that increases in the consumption of fruit (and veggies) are linked to increases in mental well-being and life satisfaction. Eating the suggested amount of fruit daily improves the ability for the body to lose weight and heightens brain functions. In addition, a diet rich in fruit reduces the risk of stroke, certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases, and type-2 diabetes.
In an earlier health fact, we discussed the advances in technology that led us to having effective treatment for HIV however, the search for a cure is important even if we have effective treatment. Significant discoveries about the body’s immune system have been made on the road to finding a cure with some promising attempts to create a vaccine, antibodies, or effective gene therapy. Join us for part II of our HIV Cure Research Update webinars: A Day in the Life of a Cure Research Participant (fight.org/chta). This webinar will explain what volunteers can expect in a cure-focused clinical trial and gain insight from a recent participant of a trial.
Refreshing sleep is important in staying healthy. May is recognized as Better Sleep Month, which aims to raise awareness about the benefits of sleep and how poor sleep can disruptive our day to day activities. Better sleep does not refer to just the length of time we sleep, but the quality of sleep, environment (uninterrupted, dark room, turning off your electronics and worries)and a consistent schedule are important as well. Visit bettersleep.org to learn about the implications of the most common sleeping positions, a breakdown of the amount of sleep needed per age group, and more ways to create a better sleep environment.
Advances in treatment for HIV has made it possible for people with HIV to live long and healthy lives. We now have more tools and technology than ever to navigate the epidemic through treatment, prevention, and education. Many organizations and researchers are pushing for the development of a functional cure. Connect with FIGHT Research if you are interested in a clinical trial to test potential treatments for HIV/AIDS and its complications. Also, join us next Friday for our webinar “HIV Cure Research Update” to learn more about current updates in cure research and the research being conducted at the University of Pennsylvania and The Wistar Institute; register today at fight.org/chta
Mental health is a level of psychological, emotional, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act, and helps determine how we handle stress and make choice. Positive mental health allows people to realize their full potential, work productively, cope with every day stresses, and make meaningful contribution to their communities. Early signs like feeling helpless or hopeless, experience mood swings, or thinking or harming yourself or others are signs that common with people with mental health issues, but do not be afraid to get help. You can visit the Diana Baldwin Mental Health Clinic at 1211 Chestnut Street, Suite 605, or visit their website https://fight.org/programs/diana-baldwin-clinic/ to call and schedule an appointment with a health care provider if you are experiencing some of these feelings or signs.
Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases (PIDD) are chronic illnesses causes by hereditary or genetic defects in the immune system that make the immune system not function properly. Throughout their lives, people with PIDDs are more susceptible to infections, endure recurrent health problems, and may develop serious long-term illness. Signs and symptoms of a PIDD can include: delayed growth and development, blood disorders, digestive problems, and autoimmune disorders. Talk to a doctor at John Bell Health Center if you experience frequent or sever infections that don’t respond to treatments; early diagnosis and treatment can prevent infections that can cause long-term problems.
There tends to be a lack of understanding of anal health care, which can lead to misdiagnoses and stigma. This also usually prevents people from getting the information and care they need to maintain good health.Anal sex is a common practice amongst Americans, but we must know risks, signs, and symptoms of health issues related to the practice. You may be embarrassed to talk about your anal troubles. But it is important to let your doctor know, especially if you have pain or bleeding. The more details you can give about your problem, the better your doctor will be able to help you. Treatments vary depending on the particular problem. Join us as we host our 2nd annual Anal Health Symposium on April 19th. Topics include harm reduction efforts, latest research, and destigmatizing anal health at the doctor’s office. This is a FREE event; register here today: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/philadelphias-2nd-anal-health-symposium-making-your-bottom-a-top-health-priority-registration-55301978707
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection. It is passed from one person to another during skin-to-skin contact with an infected area of the body. Did you know that HPV can cause more than just cervical cancer? HPV infections can spread to other parts of the body, like the anus. The principal cause of anal cancer is HPV. Very few patients with an anal HPV infection develop anal cancer, but we must still take precautionary measures to prevent both HPV and anal cancer. Lower your chances of contracting HPV by getting your series of HPV shots at Philadelphia FIGHT Community Health Centers; and learn more about anal cancer at our 2nd annual Anal Health Symposium on April 19th; register here FREE today:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/philadelphias-2nd-anal-health-symposium-making-your-bottom-a-top-health-priority-registration-55301978707
Walking is the simplest yet is the most underrated form of exercise. Walking can be a good workout depending on how long and often you walk, and may be a better choice for some people. It has both physical and mental benefits, such as improvements in blood pressure, reduces risk of heart disease and stroke in both men and women, strengthens memory, and lifts your spirit. Walking for 30 minutes a day on most days of the week is a great way to improve your overall health and is recommended by physicians. If you can’t manage 30 minutes, remember: even a little is good, but more is better.
Mindfulness is a practice that brings a variety of physical, social, and psychological benefits. It is the practice that allows us to bring attention to what is happening in the present moment rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future. Training your brain to be mindful has been said to increase the matter in brain regions linked to learning, memory, and emotion regulation. It also improves memory, attention skills, and helps us tune out distractions. Meditating and mindful breathing are two of the best steps on can take in incorporating mindfulness practices in daily lives. Connect with a physician at the Diana Baldwin Mental Health Clinic to discuss more benefits of mindfulness, located at 1211 Chestnut St. Suite 605 .
March has been designated as “National Save Your Vision Month”. The American Optometric Association aims to raise awareness concerning the need for comprehensive annual eye exams. More people are using electronic devices for both work and pleasure than ever before. Be aware of developing dry eyes, blurred vision, or eye strain from using electronics all the time; some good tips for good eye health include keeping the screen 20 inches from your eyes, taking a break from the screen, and eating leafy green vegetables. Regular eye exams can detect problems before they become serious; schedule an appointment today at John Bell Health Center or Pediatric & Adolescent Health Center, located at 1207 Chestnut St., 3rd and 5th Floors, respectively, to get a head start on your road to health vision.
Karam Mounzer, MD
Dr. Mounzer identified two major gaps in the care of patients with HIV/hepatitis C (HCV) co-infection, and the complexity of multidrug-resistant HIV treatment. He is involved with many clinical trials focusing on drug development and better understanding of HIV immunopathogenesis with the Wistar Institute. He is involved in teaching and mentoring.
Dr. Cruz is a board certified pediatrician who joins Philadelphia FIGHT as the Medical Director for our Pediatrics and Adolescent Health Center. He completed his undergraduate training in Biology and Psychology from Union College, his medical school training at Albany Medical College, his residency training at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, and his Chief Residency at the Albert Einstein Medical Center.