Monthly Archives: June 2013

National HIV Testing Day

National HIV Testing Day is today, June 27, 2013.  Beginning in 1995, this year marks the 17th year of observance of HIV Testing Day. It was introduced as part of the initiative begun by, which marks several dates (including World AIDS Day on December 1) to encourage more awareness regarding the spread of HIV and other STDs.  National HIV Testing Day is a partnership between the CDC and the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA).



With the motto “Take the Test, Take Control,” the day is intended to increase awareness of the spread of HIV, as well as to empower more people, encouraging as many as possible to be tested both for the sake of their own health and to prevent the spread of disease to others.  In 2009, the White House shared a blog post on its official website with a video of President (then Senator) Obama in Kenya from 2006 taking the test with his wife, Michelle, as part of an intended message to spread awareness.  In 2010, teamed up with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and other departments within the federal government to develop a provider locator.  This allows people to go online and input location information (zip code, or city and state) in order to find the nearest testing site available.

It is currently estimated that 1.2 million people in the US are living with HIV, and almost all of those individuals will, at some point, get AIDS.  HIV, of course, can be treated, but not cured, and it has to be caught in time for the treatment to be effective.  At least 1 in 3 who test positive are tested too late to get the benefit of treatment.  65% of adults aged 18-64 have never been tested, and 1 in 5 people living with HIV are not aware of it.

Some of the most hard-hit states for HIV and AIDS include California, Texas, New York, Illinois, and Florida.  In 2011, an estimated 32,052 people were diagnosed with AIDS; 24,088 were among adult and adolescent males; 7,949 were among adult and adolescent females; and 15 were children under the age of 13.  In 2010, there were 15,529 deaths of persons with an AIDS diagnosis.  Worldwide, the problem remains persistent, particularly in developing and third-world countries.  In 2011, there were 2.5 million new cases. About 34.2 million people currently live with HIV, and almost 30 million have died from the disease since the epidemic began.

National HIV Testing Day Buttons


Do your part today: Take the Test, Take Control!


It’s Hernia Awareness Month!

It’s Hernia Awareness Month!


June is National Hernia Awareness Month, a time to slow down and think about friends and loved ones affected by hernias. Hernias, otherwise known as enteroceles, transpire whenever internal organs (usually the intestines) protrude through a weak region of muscle; this typically occurs in the abdomen. Hernias can happen if you do heavy lifting for long periods of time or other activities that cause straining. People of all ages and sexes can develop hernias.

There are many types of hernias, including the following:

  • Inguinal hernias – in the groin
  • Umbilical – surrounding the belly button
  • Incisional – through a scar
  • Hiatal – through the diaphragm
  • Congenital diaphragmatic – birth defect



If left untreated, hernias can cause strangulation of the intestines, gangrene, or death. It is important to be on the lookout for symptoms of hernias, which typically involve groin discomfort, tender lumps, or non-tender bulges. The treatment options for hernias include pushing the hernia content back in and applying pressure, or, more commonly, stitching the hernia back in via surgery.


For more information or treatment options, visit the following website:





World Sickle Cell Day – June 19, 2013

World Sickle Cell Day



June 19th, 2013 marks the third annual World Sickle Cell Day, which was developed by the United Nations to promote awareness of Sickle Cell Disease. SCD is one of the most widespread and frequent diseases in the world, affecting people on four different continents: Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe. According to the United Nations, approximately half a million people are born with SCD per year; furthermore, half of those people will die within the first five years of life. SCD affects mainly those with ancestries from Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Sickle Cell Disease is one of the most serious blood disorders. Instead of normal disc-shaped blood cells, people with SCD have blood cells shaped like crescents, or sickles. This is caused by abnormal hemoglobin, or hemoglobin S, and makes blood cells hard and sticky. In effect, blood flow can be obstructed and cause pain and organ damage throughout the body. Thus, SCD is a very painful disease for all who are afflicted.

Sickle Cell Disease is inherited. It is also chronic, for there is no cure. However, there are treatments available for improving anemia and other symptoms of SCD, many of which have extended the lifespan of those affected into middle-age and longer.




Do your part on June 19th to combat Sickle Cell Disease and raise awareness. Visit the following websites for more information or to donate:







World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

This year’s day for promoting the recognition and awareness of world elder abuse is Saturday, June 15th. Created in 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization (WHO), this day is intended to raise awareness and understanding of the injustices of neglect and abuse that older people face. In addition, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) recognizes the impact that elder abuse has as both a public health issue and an issue of human rights.

According to the Administration of Community Living, elder abuse is evident in many ways, including abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Millions of elders suffer from this abuse every year, and a vast majority of these cases go unreported. Do your part this year to raise awareness of this injustice: visit an isolated senior, volunteer for a senior program, organize a fundraiser to support abuse prevention initiatives, submit an editorial or letter to your local newspaper about elder abuse, or stay in touch with the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) to continue the ongoing fight against wrongs done to older adults at

For more resources and volunteer opportunities, visit the following websites:


World Blood Donor Day

World Blood Donor Day

“Give the gift of life: donate blood”

dancy guy


June 14th, 2013 marks the 10th anniversary of World Blood Donor Day, a time to celebrate those who donate blood as well as to raise awareness of the necessity for blood and blood products. This year’s motto is “Give the gift of life: donate blood,” which will focus on the quality of life given to people that need blood, for not only are their lives prolonged, they are also enriched.

Facts about Blood Donation:

  • There are approximately 107 million blood donations per year
  • Children under the age of 5 receive 65% of blood transfusions in low-income countries
  • The target year for blood supplies to be obtained 100% voluntarily in all countries is 2020

Sign up now to donate blood!

More interesting blood facts can be found at the websites below:

Touch a life – give blood.




World No Tobacco Day – May 31, 2013

World No Tobacco Day – May 31, 2013

According to a study in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, more smokers are now aware of anti-smoking messages in the media, which drastically increases their probabilities of quitting. Data in the study was provided by 17 countries, including Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, and Vietnam. The study is now available at the following website:

No Tobacco


This year, World No Tobacco Day was on May 31st. Created by the World Health Organization and celebrated annually, this day is intended to highlight the effects that tobacco use can have on health.  While approximately 6 million people die each year from tobacco use, an estimated 2 million more will die by 2030 – a total of 8 million lives per year. In concordance, nearly 600,000 people die a year due to exposure to secondhand smoke, all of which are preventable.

In an attempt to improve the public’s health, WHO concocted a treaty that utilizes multiple measures to make tobacco less appealing. Some of these techniques involve requiring communities to provide the public with information regarding the health effects and consequences of tobacco use, as well as creating messages in the media about not smoking. Many countries around the world have already banned commercials that advertise tobacco products, and many others are currently advocating for their elimination.


Visit the following websites for more information:




National Men’s Health Week – June 2013

National Men’s Health Week



Beginning on June 10th, 2013 and concluding with Father’s Day on June 16th, 2013, National Men’s Health Week signifies an important time to recognize and improve upon men’s health. This year’s theme is “Let’s Talk About It,” which encompasses the issue of suicide among men and the concurrent tendency for them to be less willing to get treatment. While depression and other mental illnesses are extremely common among the human population, what is not common is men seeking professional help for it – unlike women and children. Therefore, this week, as well as the month of June, has been dedicated to promoting this certain aspect of men’s health. As Men’s Health Forum puts it, “health begins between the ears.”

Signs of depression in men:

1)     Fatigue

2)     Getting too much or too little sleep

3)     Stomachache or backache

4)     Irritability

5)     Difficulty with concentration

6)     Anger, hostility

7)     Stress

8)     Anxiety

9)     Substance abuse

10)   Sexual dysfunction

11)    Indecision


If you find yourself living with a number of these signs or are already suffering from depression, you are encouraged to seek treatment or therapy – something that all people have a right to, regardless of age or gender. The health aspects of social support – even from a family member or friend – are overwhelmingly beneficial.

In order to prevent developing depression, along with detecting signs from the above list, it is valuable to pay attention to memory and concentration. According to some doctors, deficits in these areas may be early warning signs of chronic illness. Also of benefit is an evaluation of your diet: make sure you are getting enough B vitamins, particularly folic acid. This can be found in many fortified cereals, as well as green vegetables. Folic acid levels are typically lower in people with depression, so addressing the deficiency may help in decreasing depression. In addition, exercise can improve blood flow to the brain, possibly serving as a quality replacement for antidepressant medications.


Listed below are suggestions by the CDC on how to create a healthier lifestyle.

  • Be Well-Rested

If the sleep you are getting is not of very good quality, your risks of developing chronic diseases increase exponentially, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. Important to note is that, as people age, their sleep needs change as well. It is recommended that adults get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

  • Quit Smoking

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to immediately improve health, quitting smoking also reduces the risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses. In addition, it reduces the risk of others contracting diseases and cancer.

  • Get Active

Exercise, as previously stated, is beneficial in every aspect of health, whether physical, emotional, or psychological. It is recommended that adults get at least 2.5 hours of activity per week, such as brisk walking or jogging, as well as muscle-strengthening activity.

  • Eat Healthy Foods

We are what we eat. Good health starts with a daily diet of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, minerals, and plenty of H2O. Remember to moderate your intake of high-calorie foods, sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol.

  • Relieve Your Stress

Chronic stress can amount to many ailments, both physical and emotional. Reduce your stress by staying under control, taking quality care of your body, maintaining social contact with others, and limiting drug and alcohol activity.

  • See Your Doctor Regularly

Regular checkups are essential for detecting hidden diseases or sneaky health problems. Some illnesses show few symptoms, and early diagnosis can make all the difference in health.  Also important is to track your blood pressure, blood glucose levels, cholesterol, and body mass index (BMI). The key to preventing diseases related to these is diagnosis and maintenance.

  • Get Vaccinated

Despite your age or gender, immunizations are essential for good health.


There exist a plethora of preventable health problems in men and boys throughout the U.S. and worldwide. By following these tips and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, early detection and treatment can help to save a bounty of lives. Promote the health of men and boys in your area by encouraging them to get healthy and visit a practitioner. Also, visit the following websites for more information:





Nicaragua – A Medical Mission Experience Feb. 2013 – Part II

Why Nicaragua?


  • Largest republic in Central America
  • Poorest country in Central America
  • Second poorest country in this hemisphere
  • About the size of New York
  • Located between Honduras on the north and Costa Rica on the south

Jalapa, Nicaragua


Population:  Approximately  30,000 people. Divided  into 10 different sectors.

Economy:  Very poor region of Nicaragua

Agriculture:  Tobacco and coffee

Healthcare in Jalapa

Clinic - Japala

  • One Hospital: 20 inpatient beds, a surgical suite and an ER
  • Public clinic with 10 consultation rooms
  • Private Clinics: ProFamilia and other private clinics
  • Public pharmacy and many privately owned pharmacies

February 2013 Trip included 5 Clinic Days

Day 1: Village of Limon

Day 2: Clinic in Jalapa

Day 3: Village of Teole Cicante

Day 4: Clinic in Jalapa

Day 5: Village of Santa Cruz

Nicaragua – A Medical Mission Experience Feb. 2013

Nicaragua: A Medical Mission Experience Feb. 2013

Each year for more than a decade, Minnesota State University Moorhead nursing students have had the opportunity to travel to Nicaragua for their preceptorship experience. MEDICO is the organization through which the trip has been organized for the last 5 years. MEDICO’S mission is to provide medical, eye, and dental care, and educational services to people in developing countries who have little or no access to health care. ™Medical, Eye, and Dental International Care Organization (MEDICO), a nonprofit humanitarian service organization, has been providing comprehensive health care in Central America since 1990. Their efforts are through short-term medical mission teams, sustainable projects, special initiatives, and partnerships with other humanitarian organizations responding to health related issues for the impoverished living in this area of the world.

™MEDICO achieves this mission through the participation of medical and non-medical volunteers serving in a variety of capacities. Participation includes volunteering on a field team , warehouse volunteering, financial support, administrative support and more.

MSUM’s 2013 Team


Pictured: Rhonda, Jill, Jennifer, Heather, Lisa, Jane, Jackie, and Michelle (all MSUM RN to BSN or CNE students)


Each year the team gathered by MEDICO consists of a conglomeration of medical professionals from various fields and volunteers.

™Our 2013 MEDICO team consisted of:

2 Fearless Leaders

2 Dentists

5 Pediatricians

1 Pediatric Pulmonologist

1 Podiatrist

2 Nurse Practitioners

1 Physical Therapist

1 Pharmacist

9 Nurses

3 Medical Residents

+2 additional volunteers=


Nica 2013 group pic