On World AIDS Day, here’s how the world looks

Image Courtesy: Google Images
Image Courtesy: Google Images

Currently, more than 35 million people across the globe live with HIV/AIDS. Around 3.3 million of them are under the age of 15. In 2012, an estimated 2.3 million people were newly infected with HIV, and 260,000 of them were under the age of 15. Every day about 6,300 people contract HIV— that’s 262 every hour. In 2012, 1.6 million people died of AIDS and 210,000 of them were under the age of 15. Since the beginning of the epidemic, more than 75 million people have contracted HIV and nearly 36 million have died of HIV-related causes.

India
Number of people living with HIV/AIDS: 2.39 million

India has a relatively low rate of HIV infection as compared to Africa and the Asia Pacific region. According to the 2012 National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) report, which is a Government of India institution, an estimated 2.39 million people are currently living with HIV/ AIDS in India. Of these, 0.31% people are above the age of 15. HIV epidemics are severe in the south and north-east of India. The highest estimated adult HIV occurrence is found in Manipur at 0.78%, followed by Andhra Pradesh at 0.76%, Karnataka at 0.69% and Nagaland at 0.66%.

In the southern states, HIV is primarily spread through heterosexual contact. Infections in the Northeast are mainly found amongst injecting drug users (IDUs) and sex workers.

Sub-Saharan Africa
Number of people living with HIV/AIDS: 25 million

More than 70% of all people living with HIV, which is estimated to be around 25 million live in sub-Saharan Africa. This includes 88% of the world’s HIV-positive children. In 2012, an estimated 1.6 million people in the region became newly infected. An estimated 1.2 million adults and children have died of AIDS, which accounts for 75 percent of the world’s AIDS deaths in 2012.

The Asia-Pacific
Number of people living with HIV/AIDS: 5 million

In the Asia-Pacific region, as many as 351,000 people were newly infected in 2012, bringing the total number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the region to nearly 5 million. AIDS claimed approximately 261,000 lives here in 2012.

The Caribbean
Number of people living with HIV/AIDS: 250,000

Approximately 12,000 people were infected in the Caribbean in 2012, bringing the total number of people living with HIV/AIDS there to over 250,000. AIDS claimed an estimated 11,000 lives in 2012.

Central and South America
Number of people living with HIV/AIDS: 1.5 million

There were an estimated 86,000 new HIV/AIDS infections and 52,000 AIDS-related deaths in Central and South America in 2012. This region currently has 1.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS.

North Africa and the Middle East
Number of people living with HIV/AIDS: 260,000

Approximately 260,000 people are living with HIV in this region and an estimated 32,000 people were newly infected in 2012. An estimated 17,000 adults and children have died of the virus here.

Eastern and Western Europe
Number of people living with HIV/AIDS: 1.3 million

In 2012, an estimated 130,000 people were newly infected with HIV, bringing the number of people living with HIV/AIDS to 1.3 million in Europe. HIV/AIDS claimed 91,000 lives in 2012. HIV infections have increased by 13% (that is 100,000 people) since 2006. The majority of people diagnosed with HIV were drug abusers who use intravenous needles and gay men. Less than 1% of the population was HIV positive across the continent.

In Western and Central Europe, there were 29,000 new cases of HIV, bringing the number of people living with HIV here to 860,000 in 2012. An estimated 7,600 people in these regions died of AIDS in 2012. However, Ukraine, Belarus and Spain were found to have the highest HIV rates among needle users, with 21, 17 and 16% respectively. The number of AIDS-related deaths in the region has increased from 36,000 in 2001 to 91,000 people last year. New infections among drug users in Greece have risen because of funding cuts in the treatment centres.

What is PEPFAR?

PEPFAR is the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Tanzania is its key partner. In 2013 alone, PEPFAR’s support programs directly helped more than 990,000 people in Tanzania. Of these, 330,000 were orphans and vulnerable children. The lifesaving anti-retroviral treatment was given to more than 444,000 Tanzanians through PEPFAR. This year alone, PEPFAR has diagnosed and counselled over 5 million Tanzanians, of which, an estimated 1.5 million were pregnant women. With PEPFAR’s combined efforts, Tanzanians are less likely to be infected with HIV and the ones living with HIV are hoping to live full lives.

PEPFAR envisions an AIDS-free generation for the entire world. In 2013, PEPFAR and its partners launched the PMTCT (prevent mother-to-child transmission) program which witnessed the millionth HIV-free baby born to an HIV-positive mother. Through various advances in healthcare and, individual and collective behaviourial changes, PEPFAR has reached a tipping point of the epidemic.

Source: UNAIDS report on the global AIDS epidemic 2013; UNAIDS Fact Sheet 2013 and NACO 

Straighten your back (pain)

back-pain1Nowadays back pain is most difficult and frustrating problem faced by a large number of people. The problem is referred by different names such as Backache, Low back pain, Lumbar pain, Pain – back. If you are like most people, you will have at least one backache in your life.

Our back is very complex structure made of bones, nerves and joints. It is very difficult to pinpoint to cause of pain.

Back pain or discomfort can happen anywhere in your back; most common place or the most common area affected is your low back. Our Low back supports most of our body’s weight. Low back pain may be short-term (lasting less than one month) or long-term (lasting longer than three months).

Pain felt in your lower back may come from the spine, muscles, nerves, or other structures in that region. It may also radiate from other areas like your mid or upper back, a hernia in the groin, or a problem in the testicles or ovaries. There are different variety of symptoms you may feel if your back hurts. You may feel burning sensation or tingling or you also may experience weakness in your legs or feet.

Causes of back pain

With the changing lifestyle back pain is becoming a serious problem. It is becoming more common in IT/ITES employees who have to sit for hours at a stretch. Common back pain causes include:

  1. Carrying, pushing, pulling or lifting incorrectly.
  2. Riding a two wheeler for long distances/Driving for long time or sitting improperly in car for long time
  3. Sudden Twisting
  4. Bending for a long period of time.
  5. Having poor sitting posture.

Sudden back pain without any reason are usually sign of muscle tear, ligament or disc problem.

There may be other, more serious underlying causes of your back pain, but these are rare.

They include: Fracture, Osteoporosis, slipped disc, Spinal stenosis, etc.

 

Pay Attention

If you experience any of the following symptoms, then see your GP as early as possible

Swelling on your back or Redness

Pain down your legs and below your knees

Numbness or weakness in one or both legs or around your buttocks

Constant pain, particularly at night

Pain that’s worsening and spreading up your spine.

These symptoms are known as red flags. It’s important to seek medical help for these symptoms to ensure you don’t have a more serious, underlying cause for your back pain.

Overcome back pain

A change is lifestyle is a must to overcome back pain. A little physical movements every now and then during the day can go a long way in keeping the back pain away. A few other good practices that can help in avoiding the back pain are:

Stretch gently and exercise your back muscles

Sit straight in a chair (avoid wrong posture)

Avoid sitting in one place for more than 30 minutes. Take a 30 seconds walk every 30 minutes.

If you are suffering from back pain, avoid lifting heavy things

Sleep straight on your back and as far as possible sleep on a hard bed or on the floor.

Adjust your sitting place, the computer screen according to your convenience so you don’t have to bend forward to see your computer monitor or reach your mouse.

Avoid riding long distances on two-wheeler

Back pain will soon reach an epidemic proportion but a little knowledge and small changes can help you family to avoid it.

 

Sameer Patel

Sameer, a fun loving individual, works as a Software Engineer in savetime. An engineering graduate from Pune University,   Sameer likes to take up complex coding scenarios and solve them with his full dedication. He enjoys his work as much as he enjoys his free time chit chatting with friends. Sameer loves listening to fusion music and his favorite pass time is watching action packed Hollywood movies with a bag full of pop corn in his hand.

Stress is just hype; only simple daily habits can defeat it

Stress has become a very common factor that is found in working professionals, many youngsters and even teenagers. Having the spirit to excel and giving your best is one thing and worrying about it all the time is another. When it comes to stress, it is only YOU who can help yourself. It’s as simple as accepting the fact, problems won’t stop occurring if you stress more. You will never be able to remove stress from your life completely, issues are going to creep up every now and then, and people around you (your parents, siblings, colleagues, seniors, managers)are going to expect higher and better performance every time.

It all comes down to how well you manage your stress.

Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. This may not sound simple but in reality if you sit down and think, you will come up with a list on your own. The real reason of stress is not always obvious and more than often you tend to overlook your own stress-inducing thoughts, feelings and behaviors. You are aware that you are constantly worried about work deadlines but the real reason may be your procrastination that lands you in a soup.

Stress management comes with practice, you need to exercise habits. Your to-do list is never going to be complete and more tasks will keep adding but there is one task that should never come off your to-do list: Relax.

The following tips if practiced daily may help you manage your stress. Just a mere couple of minutes from your schedule and you’ll be fresh and energized to take what the day brings!

Meditate

Meditation is one of the best ways to help you ease anxiety. Research has shown that when you meditate daily the neural paths in your brain may alter making you more pliant to stress. Meditation is a very simple process, sit up straight with both feet on the floor (you may also sit cross legged on the floor the bottom line is to sit up straight). Once you get comfortable, focus your attention on reciting a mantra loudly or silently that makes you feel positive. It can be anything like “I feel at peace” or “I am the strongest”. You can place your hands on your belly to sync the mantra with your breaths.

Just Breathe

Every time you feel you are worked up or beginning to stress due to the work load, take 5 minutes off and focus on your breathing. You can do this sitting at your desk in office, all you have to do is take deep breaths, inhale and exhale fully. Taking deep breaths releases stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.  5 minutes may seem a lot when at work but even if you try focusing on work you will be less productive. So take time off and just breathe!

Be Present

Live the moment, it’s as simple as that! You rush through dinner, hurry to reach the destination; you are running the race to strike off another to-do from your list. For a change try something different, try to slow down. Focus on the thing you are doing right now! If you’re having food, enjoy the texture and taste of every bite, notice how air feels on your face while walking or driving. When you are working concentrate on the task at hand and not about the problems that will arise in the next task. When you start to spend time in the moment and focus on your senses, you should feel the relaxation that grips your body and be more productive.

 Reach out

Very often you hear people saying, “Those were the golden, carefree days when we talked so much!” One of the major reasons that add to stress is not talking to family and friends. Take time out from your “busy” schedules to catch up with friends. Talk about worries that are troubling you and it will surprise you that talking out loud to your friends can do wonders to your mood. A good social support system plays a major role when dealing with stress. Meet friends face-to-face and spend time with them without talking or thinking of the to-do list, just have a good time! Having a good laugh is a great way to better manage whatever is stressing you out.

Listen to your body

Whether you believe it or not, your body is constantly talking to you, giving you signs to handle it with care. One of the best ways to manage stress and stay fit is to take up a sport of your choice – anything that requires physical involvement. Join a gym and more importantly go regularly, participate in a physical group activity you love whether it is cycling, running, football, table tennis or badminton. Just sweat it out at least for 45 minutes once in a day. You will be surprised by the wonders working on you. After continuous practice, you will see and feel the difference in you and your reaction to tension.

– By Shraddha Barde

Startup soldier? You need to pay more attention to your health

“Wow! what a work environment?”, we all said after reading an article about how global software product companies are creating cool office infrastructure to promote innovation and creativity.

However, when we peel the layers on this, we find engineers often slogging – either stuck with a specific issue that no one else has solved or meeting a release deadline to stay aligned with marketing efforts.

Welcome to startup world! The degree of stress that startups have remains unmatched for:

– the entrepreneurs who are trying to do everything from coding to selling to dealing with the plumber for a broken faucet

– the team members who are constantly reshaping their learning curves and dealing with new work challenges every day

Your health in this type of a pressure cooker environments begets even more attention. No wonder, great companies try to create a fun-loving and stimulating environment to act as a stress buster. But we as individuals need to do more as well. Here are some tips that could help:

– Take a walk at least every 30 mins, go say hi to your colleague. It not only improves blood flow in your system, it increases your social presence

– Do standup meetings, especially if they are setup after lunch. We are sitting all day long and feel lethargic after lunch. Standup meetings keep us alert and active

– Keep your workspace exciting. Pictures of family, friends can be a huge source of excitement and happiness at work place. A souvenir from your favourite destination or your favourite sport item are great appeasers.

– Participate in office activities, in fact – take lead on making arrangements for everyone if hosting a team lunch or an outing, etc.. This gives a great tangential setting to bust work stress and you come back to work with a sense of accomplishment and happiness if your efforts get appreciated.

– Eat healthy. It is easier said than done but being conscious about what you eat can be a good first step. And being conscious of frequency and quantity of your meal can be a huge second step.

At Savetime, we are trying everything we can to make the work environment exciting, fun and healthy. We would love to get more ideas on how to make work places better especially for a startup environment.

Mitesh Bohra, CEO & Co-founder

Mitesh is CEO, Co-founder at savetime.com. He has been working in the industry for over 16 years and this is his 3rd startup after InfoBeans and Infosignz. Mitesh is a BE in Electronics from India and has dual MBA from Columbia Business School, New York and Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley, California.

How to Remain Healthy at Work

Health is wealth.

Heard this? Yes, we all have. But somewhere in our busy schedule we have forgotten the fact that most of our waking hours are spent at work, which means that our working environment plays a big part in our health and well-being. Keeping healthy at work represents one of the biggest dilemmas that working professionals are facing today. Going to office and working around 10-12 hours a day, and sometimes 6 days a week, naturally drains one’s energy levels but it shouldn’t affect your health over time.

Remember, earning a living doesn’t need to cost you your health.

There are plenty of things you can do to make sure you stay healthy and happy at work. Let’s start with these few simple tips, which we can easily follow, in our day-to-day life.

Drink: No, don’t go to the weekend mood! Drink water, is what I mean. Dehydration makes you tired and sluggish. Staying hydrated can keep you energized and can prevent you from thinking you are hungry when in fact you are just thirsty.

An apple on the desk keeps the coffee away: Although coffee wakes us up and makes us feel energetic, the effect does not last long. On the other hand an apple not only provides us with fibre but also with fructose, which keeps us awake and energetic for longer hours when compared to coffee.

Get up and move: Stand up and move around every 30 minutes or so. Not only will your muscles thank you for it, but it will also improve circulation, making you a little less tired. Simply getting up and moving around for a few moments can keep you less fatigued and more focused.

Take it easy on your eyes: Poor lighting may not be the only problem for your eyes at the office. If you are working on a computer all day, please make sure to look away from your monitor periodically to give your eyes some rest every 15 to 30 minutes.

Connect with people: Feeling bored or stressed, go connect with the gossip guru or your funny co-worker in your office. Social interaction reduces stress and encourages happiness.

Say no to Elevator: If you have your office on lower floors, then take the stairs instead of elevators or escalators, as it will keep you fit and energetic.

Stretching: Perform simple stretching exercises at your chair like neck rotations, flexing your foot, stretching your legs and arms whenever you get time. This will relieve you from backache, body pain and joint pains.

Fuel your body: Think of your body as if it were a campfire. If you put too much wood on the fire at once, the fire will get smothered and burnt out. If you forget to put wood on the fire, it will die out. However, if you add small amounts of wood all day long to the fire, it will continue to burn. This is just like your body’s metabolism, if you do not continually fuel it it will burn out. Eat small meals throughout the day to fuel your body. Overall you will feel more energetic.

Get a good night’s sleep: Sleep well! Getting enough quality sleep boosts your immune system and energy levels. It also improves concentration at work, memory and your reaction time. Good sleep is very crucial and allows your body to heal and regenerate.

So it’s time to go home… mission “Healthy day at work” accomplished!

Amit Kumar

Amit takes care of the sales & marketing function at savetime.com. His in-depth knowledge of the healthcare industry and astute business acumen has helped him make pathbreaking forays in his career. His strategic vision of the function enables him to deliberate on important issues and steering it to the right direction. A post-graduate in marketing from university of Pune and a university rank holder, Amit loves to explore new places on his bike and watching Amitabh bachchan’s movies.