More focus needed on mental health after Abdirahman Abdi's death, advocates say
Ayan Yusuf, 29, has lived with the symptoms of schizophrenia for the past 10 years. And she has been an outspoken mental health advocate in Ottawa’s Somali community for years.

The news of Abdirahman’s Abdi’s death after a violent arrest hit close to home for a woman who shares two things in common with Abdi: mental illness and Somali roots.

Ayan Yusuf, 29, has lived with the symptoms of schizophrenia for the past 10 years. And she has been an outspoken mental health advocate in Ottawa’s Somali community for years.

“When I first heard the news and read the articles, I cried because it hurt, because that could have been me,” she said. “A lot of people are just talking about Black Lives Matter, you know, and I think it’s a bigger issue than Black Lives Matter.”

The discussion surrounding Abdi’s death needs to include a larger conversation about mental health stigma more generally, Yusuf said.

Abdi was described by his family’s spokesperson as having a “mental illness.” His specific condition is still unknown — something that’s doesn’t surprise Yusuf.

“You’ll see kids with autism and stuff and their parents don’t bring them out into the community because a lot of people will start talking about them, they’ll put them down,” she said. “There’s a big stigma (in the Somali community), it’s a taboo. People don’t talk about it. They don’t bring it up. They hide their condition.”

Medicine or doctors are often not the first resort for someone who is mentally ill in the Somali community, she said. People will often go to religious leaders or pretend like mental health issues doesn’t exist.

Yusuf said she felt the same stigma from her community and didn’t get diagnosed until 2011 — about five years after her symptoms first began.

She adds that a lack of resources catering to her community is a compounding problem.

Continue Reading.

Lots of newspapers put Bill on covers after Hillary secured nomination, Mothers of the Movement, Charges dropped against remaining cops in Freddie Gray case
  • Lots of newspapers put Bill on covers after Hillary secured nomination, Mothers of the Movement, Charges dropped against remaining cops in Freddie Gray case
  • Citizen Radio

Citizen Radio needs your support! New Miscreants (and higher!) will receive a signed copy of Jamie’s debut music album A Bit Much, Hillary Clinton is the first female presidential nominee of a major political party but for some fucking reason all these newspapers put Bill Clinton (and Bernie Sanders??) on their covers, DNC Day 2: Bill Clinton’s speech, Mothers of the Movement and Black Lives Matter, who let Terry McAuliffe speak to the press?, and some Sanders supporters stage a walkout, charges dropped against remaining officers in Freddie Gray case, Austin cop body slams black teacher and tells her whites are right to fear “violent” black people, Bill O'Reilly says Michelle Obama is wrong because “slaves had it good building the White House,” Donald Trump will not be releasing his taxes, coercive mental health legislation threatens rights of people with disabilities, and Allison and Jamie do one final Choose Your Own Adventure for the last Sidewalk Cafe show

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She is 76 years old “he started working out in her 50′s which truly shows no one is ever too old to get fit! She was trained by a former Mr. America.” “She runs 10 miles or more a day? How many of us can’t even run 1 mile at a time?”

“If we, as women and men, truly look to our elders, like Mrs. Ernestine Shepherd, we could learn so much. Its time that we, as people, find a true purpose. We write so much on the negative issues in our world, when we there are wonderful examples of the good side of our world like Mrs. Shepherd. If we could really focus on self preservation, respecting others and helping others in what we do, God would be so pleased. Let’s get inspired by this angel of a woman that should make anyone jump up and get a heads start on being fit for life. We’re running at this moment….!! Lol”

Study Links Hair Relaxers To Fibroid Tumors and Early Puberty In African American Females

Scientists followed more than 23,000 pre-menopausal Black American women from 1997 to 2009 and found that the two- to three-times higher rate of fibroids among black women may be linked to chemical exposure through scalp lesions and burns resulting from relaxers.

Women who got their first menstrual period before the age of 10 were also more likely to have uterine fibroids, and early menstruation may result from hair products black girls are using, according to a separate study published in the Annals of Epidemiology last summer.

Three hundred African American, African Caribbean, Hispanic, and White women in New York City were studied. The women’s first menstrual period varied anywhere from age 8 to age 19, but African Americans, who were more likely to use straightening and relaxers hair oils, also reached menarche earlier than other racial/ethnic groups.

While so far, there is only an association rather than a cause and effect relationship between relaxers, fibroid tumors, and puberty, many experts have been quick to point out that the hair care industry isn’t regulated by the FDA, meaning that there’s no definite way to fully know just how harmful standard Black hair care products really are. [BLM/YBW]

Goodmorning loves. With all forces of oppression working against the spirits & bodies of Black women, femmes, and girls, my sister and I are beginning to start each day with meditation & affirmations. This is a way to to build sisterhood and self love, as well as experience, practice, and live oneness of mind, body, and soul with the divine. Today’s affirmation, I am loved, I am powerful, & I believe in my strength. (pls don’t remove caption <3)
Why Did AIDS Ravage the U.S. More Than Any Other Developed Country?
The answer is a lot more complicated than saying we're less enlightened than Europe. Solving an epidemiological mystery.

So, I was looking up how the 80s AIDS epidemic affected the two Germanys (because my brain demands I know facts like that), I found this article, written last year, about how and why the AIDS epidemic hit the US so devastatingly hard compared to Europe–even taking larger population numbers into account, the numbers were disproportional. 

Some highlights taken from the long article.  I wish I could just say “Blame the Reagans” but it’s not as simplistic as that. (Some superfluous wording edited out for brevity because this ended up being too long even for snippets.)

  • Looking at the data on AIDS deaths, you see that the virus hit the United States early and hard. In 1982, the first year of nationwide CDC surveillance, 451 people died of AIDS in America. Just five died in Britain. In 1985, when Germany started reporting, it had 170 AIDS deaths. The United States had almost 7,000.
  • The clustering of our high-risk populations. In 1986 the sheer concentration of gay people in San Francisco may have had no parallel in history.
  • These clusters were also engaged in riskier behavior. The United States had higher rates of STDs and intravenous-drug use before AIDS arrived. 
  • In 1989, when the Berlin Wall came down, West Germany had about 35,000 people infected with HIV. East Germany had fewer than 500… Guys in East Berlin were still hooking up with each other,but the low labor mobility, combined with the logistical barriers to participating in gay life and getting intravenous drugs, kept clusters from forming. (there, brain. satisfied?)
  • The third explanation for how the HIV epidemic in the United States got so severe so early has to do with intravenous-drug use—and the policies that tried to prevent it.
  • No one knew how severe the epidemic was among drug users until 1984, when the still-under-development antibody test found that 50 percent of drug users in New York City and Edinburgh and 30 percent in Amsterdam were already infected.
  • Almost immediately after those first tests, Western European countries installed needle-exchange programs, gave out free syringes, and established opiate-substitution treatment. By 1997, England and Wales were giving out 25 million free syringes per year. 
  • The United States, on the other hand, refused to provide federal funds for needle exchanges or even fund research into whether they were effective.  [In the context of the War on Drugs]… just possessing syringes was illegal in most states…The ban on federal funding for needle exchanges wasn’t lifted until 2009—and then got banned again in 2011.
  • Germany threw funding at gay community NGOs and gave them carte blanche to devise their own prevention projects. Britain put a John Hurt voice-over on top of Mordor imagery, called it “AIDS: Don’t Die of Ignorance,” and beamed it to the whole country. 
  • In the United States, despite Ronald Reagan’s sloth-like funding of HIV research and the government’s stinginess in supporting NGOs, gay activists were on the streets and in the bathhouses from the earliest stages of the epidemic, condoms in hand, telling people how to protect themselves. 
  • Less well known is that intravenous-drug users were also educating each other about how to reduce risks. Drug users started sharing needles with fewer partners, even setting up their own needle exchanges, pilfering clean needles from hospitals, or importing them from Canada. 
  • By the mid-’80s, gay men and drug users knew about HIV, they knew about their risks, and they were making changes to reduce them. In all three countries, HIV incidence peaked in the mid-’80s, then started to drop as people de-risked their sex and drug use.
  • Consider the scale of the epidemic in the United States. When HAART first became available in 1995, the United Kingdom had around 30,000 people diagnosed with HIV. Germany had 38,000. The United States had 759,000 and more new infections every year than the United Kingdom or Germany had in total. Providing testing, treatment, and follow-up to all those people would have been a Hoover Dam–size investment. One we were not, as a country, willing to make.

So that’s that.  And that’s what I thought was worth sharing, given all the stories that have been shared about either living through the epidemic, or telling the stories about the people we knew who lived through the epidemic–or even the stories of those who didn’t make it.

Also worth sharing, I think–and perhaps more important given that it is happening now–is what came later in the article:

A 2013 study that found the United States with four-year HIV mortality rates roughly equal to those in South Africa.

And it’s not just the death rates that stayed high. In 2010, the United States had 47,500 new HIV infections. The entire European Union—with a population more than one and a half times that of the United States—had just 31,400.


Getting an HIV test is pretty easy in [the US, the UK, and Germany]. The next stage of the cascade, getting linked to another round of tests and into treatment, is more challenging. In the United Kingdom and Germany, if you test positive for HIV, you’ll immediately be referred to an HIV clinic for tests to measure how much of the virus is in your blood and how well your immune system is holding up.

Three-quarters of Brits diagnosed with HIV get to this next stage of care within two weeks, and 97 percent make it within three months…Clinics that provide testing are required to get HIV-positive people to the next round of tests or they don’t get fully reimbursed.

In the United States, only 65 percent of people with HIV get linked to a hospital or clinic within three months. A survey in Philadelphia published in 2010 found that the median time between diagnosis and treatment was eight months. The effect of the wait can be devastating. A 2008 study found that gay men who had full-blown AIDS before they were diagnosed were 75 percent more likely to die within three years, even if they got on treatment.

In Britain and Germany, two-thirds of people with HIV have a prescription for HAART. In America? Only one-third. .The most obvious reason for this gap is cost. In the United Kingdom, HIV treatment is completely free. Some clinics even reimburse you for your bus fare. In Germany, drugs might cost you a co-pay of 5 euros ($7.50), but that’s subsidized if you’re unemployed or below an income threshold.

Neither the CDC nor the National Institutes of Health tracks the out-of-pocket costs of anti-retrovirals…Someone without insurance and earning too much to qualify for Medicaid could pay as much as $2,000 a month. And that’s just the pills. Clinic visits, infections, hospitalizations: The costs of treatment multiply as fast as the virus does without it. (and then we have asshole babies like broken-hand shkreli…)

And the article ends talking about how the face of HIV has changed:

  • From its origins as a concentrated, urban epidemic, HIV has migrated resolutely outward and southward. 
  • As the geography of HIV has shifted, so have its demographics. Ethnic minorities, rural drug users, impoverished heterosexuals: The virus has found the people least likely to seek—and have access to—health insurance and specialized clinics.
  • [One study] from 2012 that found uneducated black men had an AIDS mortality rate 30 times higher than educated white men. Among uneducated black women, it found that the introduction of HAART barely dropped mortality rates at all. In 2011, AIDS was the ninth-highest cause of death for blacks and twenty-fourth for whites. 
  • Higher levels of stigma, poor infrastructure for treatment in rural areas, abstinence-only education. they all contribute to the higher rates of diagnoses and deaths. Syringe exchanges are still illegal in almost every Southern state. An estimated 60,000 uninsured or low-income people with HIV live in states that have rejected the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.
  • “The disease burden in the South is high for other diseases, too,” Reif says. “A lot of it goes back to institutionalized racism, poverty, the legacy of Tuskegee. There’s a lack of trust in health care. The states say they don’t have the money [to expand Medicaid]—and there’s some truth to that.” (i wonder how much money those states put into prisons)

The good news is, everything above aside, HIV/AIDS isn’t the death sentence it used to be, if you can get treatment.  We’ve made advancements, and those with the disease can live long lives under medication–provided you can get the medication and can stay on it.