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The stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS can cause significant emotional damage. HIV/AIDS research is vital to decreasing stigma and pushing people closer to a cure. While some organizations focus more on overcoming barriers to HIV/AIDS treatment, others focus on the other half of the story: decreasing the discrimination, fear, anxiety, and overall sense of taboo that people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS experience daily. The University of Alabama recognized faith-based organizations’ role in decreasing stigma (particularly in the deep south). Their Faith-based Intervention to Heal HIV/AIDS (FAITTH) Program has given them the platform they need to make a difference.

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Ryan White was 13 when he was diagnosed with AIDS in December 1984. He had had a blood transfusion, and his doctors told him he only had six months to live. When Ryan tried to return to school, he faced AIDS-related discrimination from his classmates. He quickly became the face of public education regarding AIDS. Ryan's story is one that encourages us to promote AIDS awareness and intervention strategies. The Ryan White Program, named in his honor, focuses on providing services to people with HIV and AIDS that allow them to live normal lives.

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A few weeks ago, we wrote a blog post about Newport, Arkansas being regarded as one of the “most diabetic places in the US” according to an article by the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting. AFMC reached out to Chauncee Young, CCE, Regional Clinical Director for Unity Health — Newport Medical Clinics in Jackson County to tell us about the biggest obstacles Jackson’s residents face, local resources for patients and providers, and the current initiatives in place to promote diabetes screening and treatment in Jackson County.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), since May 2022, “more than 25,000 monkeypox cases have been identified in the United States.” More than 38 percent of people diagnosed with monkeypox also had HIV. In fact, the most severe monkeypox infections have been among people living with untreated HIV. Given this data, it is essential that health care providers understand the details of this connection and that providers consistently screen patients who have monkeypox for possible untreated HIV.

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According to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), an estimated 797,000 adult Arkansans have prediabetes. They are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. In Arkansas’ more rural counties, it can be challenging for families to access healthy foods consistently. The only grocery stores close to them often sell cheap, processed foods. Healthier options are more costly and farther away. An unhealthy diet combined with poor physical activity can lead to Type 2 diabetes. However, Arkansas health care professionals can take steps to encourage patients to prevent and treat diabetes.

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