Things That Matter

The Venezuelan Government Has Stopped Buying HIV And AIDS Medication

While the international news about Venezuela may have subsided just a tiny bit, make no mistake that the crisis is still very alive. The difference now is that Venezuelans are not only protesting President Nicolás Maduro, but also President Donald Trump. For years, Venezuelans have pleaded that they’re in dire need of food and other essentials, but it’s as if no one seems to care. Trump has now imposed more economic sanctions on Venezuela, though it may be all smoke and mirrors. The reality is people want Maduro out, and they want to be able to survive there too. Most low-income people have to travel to Colombia in order to get essentials that they cannot get back home. But now the most vulnerable are paying the price.

The health care system of Venezuela has stopped purchasing HIV and AIDS medication, which means an estimated 7,700 Venezuelans that are living with the disease are facing a significant emergency.

Credit: @cmternes / Twitter

A new report in Foreign Policy informs that due to the dire situation in Venezuela, their healthcare system has been unable to purchase HIV/AIDS medication. This is putting thousands of people infected at risk. The turmoil of the country’s healthcare is the result of the corruption that has plagued Venezuela since former President Hugo Chávez was in charge. It’s even worse now under Maduro.

“As a result, the country’s medical system is severely under-resourced, FP reports. “Government funding for medical care has been slashed, more than half the country’s doctors have fled Venezuela, and drastic shortages in medical equipment have hampered the ability of hospitals to provide even basic treatment for their patients.”

People with HIV or AIDS are not the only ones suffering from this downturn in medical supplies; others, including children, need basic vaccines as well. 

Credit: @PattyLayla / Twitter

Marisol Ramírez is a 56-year-old Venezuelan who travels to Colombia not just for medication but also for food. She said she sometimes has to decide between food or medicine because it is too expensive to get both. Many others are in the same position. 

Just last month, they gave me enough [antiretroviral drugs] for three months, because due to the situation in the country, we can’t be going up and down to get here. The price of [bus] tickets are incredibly high, and we can’t be coming down here every month,” Marisol Ramírez told Foreign Policy.

There is some hope. The U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) are reportedly going to send 12,000 doses of HIV/AIDS medication, but there are still several issues. 

Credit: @ReuterVZLA / Twitter

“When I was there I actually signed a letter of intent with the minister of health Juan Pablo Uribe for the United States to be providing HIV antiretrovirals to Colombia for the use with Venezuelan refugees,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar told Reuters. Azar also said there’s a plan in place to rebuild the healthcare system once Maduro is out, but who knows when that will be. 

“If you don’t have any money … or you don’t support the current government you don’t have anything,” a Venezuelan man told the Washington Blade. “It is, unfortunately, very sad.”

Some may assume that because HIV and AIDS are treatable that it’s not a problem like it was in previous years. However, people are only surviving this terrible illness because of medication, so, without it, people are likely to die. 

Credit: @PeterTatchell / Twitter

Jesus Aguais, founder of Aid for AIDS, an international organization, said that 80 percent of Venezuelans “with HIV who should be on treatment are not,” and added, “That’s terrible from a public health perspective. Not only are people going to get sicker, but HIV is going to spread faster.”

He also said another vulnerable group that is suffering from this disease that is not getting the help they deserve is the indigenous Warao community. He noted that HIV and AIDS are affecting them, and if they don’t get the proper medication, the community as a whole may be completely wiped out.

READ: The Crisis In Venezuela Is Worsening. Here’s What You Should Know Right Now

Covid-19 Cases Surge In Meat-Processing Plants As COVID-19 Spreads In Rural America

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Covid-19 Cases Surge In Meat-Processing Plants As COVID-19 Spreads In Rural America

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Meat processing plants have been at the center of the COVID-19 response conversation. The plants, many located in the Midwest, are crucial to the food supply chain to feed the country but outbreaks at these facilities have threatened that supply chain. Some closed to save the health of their employees but an executive order, with limited power, allowed for these plants to stay open.

The meat-processing industry is surprisingly small with 4 plants providing 80 percent of the meat in the U.S.

Workers at meat-processing plants have been testing positive for COVID-19 in April. The spread was quick and some plants began to shut down in late April and early May to avoid massive outbreaks in their plants. In early May, several plants closed to handle the outbreaks, including Tyson Foods, one of the largest pork-processing companies in the U.S.

New data shows that coronavirus cases are increasing in the U.S. meat processing plants. The numbers have tripled to 15,000 with 63 meat plant workers dying from the virus. Within a month, Tyson Foods, the country’s largest meat processing company, saw its number of coronavirus cases jump from 1,600 to 7,000.

The number of cases has spiked within meat-processing plants that have reopened.

In late April, President Trump signed an executive order that some people misinterpreted as ordering meatpacking and processing plants to remain open. What President Trump did was to order that meat and poultry plants are essential according to the Defense Protection Act of 1950. The DPA is used to compel manufactures to create “scarce and critical material essential to the national defense.”

The second thing the order did was to give the authority to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Perdue is responsible for keeping the meat processing and packing plants running during the pandemic. He has to adhere to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

As with some states, there are discrepancies showing in the data being released by the meat plants.

In North Carolina, the Smithfield meat-packing plant in Tar Heel is being elusive with their number of positive coronavirus cases. They are being assisted in the lack of transparency by state and local officials, according to The New York Times.

“There has been a stigma associated with the virus,” Teresa Duncan, the director of the health department in Bladen County, where the Smithfield plant is located, told The New York Times. “So we’re trying to protect privacy.”

A poultry plant in Arkansas was the cause of an outbreak in a Latino community.

In Arkansas, a community saw a spike in cases within the Latino community. The cases were coming from employees, their families, and their social circles. The one poultry plant resulted in 151 new cases in the Latino community of Dardanelle, Arkansas.

READ: Another Man Has Died Of Covid-19 In ICE Custody And The Agency Still Lacks Any Plan To Prevent More Deaths

Chrissy Teigen Gets Tested For Covid As Pre-Surgery Protocol

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Chrissy Teigen Gets Tested For Covid As Pre-Surgery Protocol

@chrissyteigen / Twitter / chrissyteigen / Instagram

Chrissy Teigen is known for her social media presence. The model is one of the most famous social media users because of her unfiltered voice. Teigen is honest about her life and outspoken when she sees wrongs online. One of Teigen’s latest posts on Instagram is another example of Teigen’s willingness to share all parts of her life.

Chrissy Teigen is getting ready for surgery and people just had to know why.

Teigen shared herself getting a Covid-19 test recently in preparation for surgery and people on social media began to ask questions. Of course, everyone would want to know what surgery she was having. Maybe people were concerned about her health. Maybe they just wanted to be nosey. Well, now we know what is happening.

Turns out that Teigen is getting her breast implants removed to start a new journey in her life.

The model stated on Instagram that she is simply done with having her implants and wants them removed. It is a trend we have seen with several celebrities, including “RuPaul’s Drag Race” judge Michelle Visage. Visage had her implants removed because of her Hashimoto’s Disease, an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid glands.

Some people saw Teigen’s original tweet and allegedly got upset that she was being tested for Covid-19.

Teigen lives in Los Angeles. Los Angeles was the first major city in the U.S. to expand free Covid-19 testing to all residents as a result of a county order expanding free testing to all residents of the county. There are steps to get the testing but all residents are allowed to receive free testing.

According to the LA County Covid-19 website, all people who want a test should contact their healthcare providers first to see if they are able to get the test there. If it is not possible to be tested there or you cannot make contact, you can register for an appointment for free Covid-19 testing through the city and county.

Patients who are undergoing elective surgeries are one group being tested before the procedure. Residents who are symptomatic, over 65, have chronic medical conditions, or are essential workers are prioritized for the Covid-19 tested provided by the county and city governments. Essential workers include janitorial, security, airport, government, health care, food and grocery, and more.

The Twitter user deleted the tweet and responded in the thread.

Looks like Teigen was able to get through to someone on social media. Covid-19 testing is a hot button issue with the federal government leaving testing up to the states. The lack of a federal plan means that states are handling their own testing and data. According to a report by Vox, only three states meet the threshold for a safe reopening. Those states are Alaska, Kentucky, and New York.

Women are celebrating Teigen’s honesty and transparency about her surgery.

Credit: chrissyteigen / Instagram

Teigen is known for being unfiltered and giving her followers what they want. She does not hold back and he has let people into some intimate moments in her life. The news of getting her breast implants removed is just another chapter in her open book life.

READ: Rebellious Women On Twitter Are Gearing Up To Be #FilthyMouthedWives Thanks To Donald Trump’s Latest Attack