We need to change how we refer to people with disabilities

11th Special Olympics World Summer Games
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On Wednesday I found this post by a parent of a child with disbilities trying to get people to stop using the “r-word” on twitter. It documents the responses she got, some make fun, but others take her point. We need more people like her! That post brought a tear to my eye. I rarely use the word, and now I will endeavour to use it less.

Then while going through my news feeds I discovered this story on the Irish Examiner, its sub heading was “HE won gold in the Special Olympics but is classed a “lunatic”.”

This post was about our legal system and how it classes people with mental disabilities as a “person of unsound mind”. How demeaning is that? How old fashioned is that? Why do we allow our legal system to still use terminology like that? Why is the Lunacy Act 1871 still in force?

Can we not move on with the times and treat people with disabilities with respect and allow them to represeneted fully in law.

I hope the new government will take on board this and attempt to change how we refer to people with disabilities within in our legal system as that may help  change how the rest of society treats people with mental disabilities. It baby steps, but every little helps.

World AIDS Day – I am Getting Treatment

I am living my rights

Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise.

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I am Well

I am Safe

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World AIDS Day – I am Safe

I am living my rights

Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise

Related Posts:

World AIDS Day 2010 – I am Living My Rights

I am Well

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World AIDS Day – I am Well

I am living my rights

Stop AIDS. Keep The Promise.

Related Posts:

World AIDS Day 2010 – I Am Living My Rights

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World AIDS Day 2010 – I Am Living My Rights

Red Ribbon hanging in the North Portico of the...
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It is that time of year again. That Day when the worlds focus is on HIV/AIDS. The Day where we hope that the following year will be different.

That maybe HIV infections will decrease.

That maybe HIV won’t be passed on from mother to child.

That maybe by listening people may change their habits and not be infected.

That maybe we will find a cure.

It is a day of hope.

It is a day for action.

It is a day for remembrance.

It has been this way since 1988 when the first World AIDS Day was marked.

Things are different not then in 1988. We understand the disease more, people are living longer with the disease.

But just because they are living longer, it is not an end to their struggle. In fact it has led to a whole new struggle.

People with HIV/AIDS are discriminated against. Its a known fact. And we all play a role in it.

There is in many countries, including Ireland, no legal protection for those who are discriminated against due to their HIV/AIDS status. We cover nine grounds in Ireland so why not add another? These are vulnerable members of our society. They need our support, our solidarity, and most of all to treat them as normal human beings.

That is why I wear the Red Ribbon. Let them live their rights.

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World Suicide Prevention Day

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. According to the World Health Organisation 1 million people commit suicide every year. That makes 60 deaths per 100,000 a suicide. Or another way to put it, one death every 40 seconds.

This years theme is “Many Faces, Many Places: Suicide Prevention across the World”. This is to highlight the growing problem of Suicide in the Developing World.

Here in Ireland 527 people committed suicide in 2009. This could be increased by the 195 deaths classified as “undetermined intent”. Taking the accepted figure, it is a 25% increase on 2008. This shows action must be taken.

Not all suicides can be prevented but some actions can be taken. These include the following:

  • Developing and implementing national strategies as well as specific local interventions can lower rates of suicide in diverse populations.
  • Successful approaches to suicide prevention have included:
  1. restricting access to means;
  2. establishing community prevention programs;
  3. establishing guidelines for media reporting;
  4. engaging with frontline professionals through gate keeper training programs.

The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) is calling for “more evidence-based suicide prevention programs throughout the world”.

For the rest of us, the ISAP is asking us to light a candle near a window at 8pm for a number of reasons.

  • To show your support for Suicide Prevention
  • To remember a lost loved one
  • for the survivors of suicide.

For more information look up their Facebook Page and their website

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Uniform Codeine Regulation Needed

As some of you may be aware I work for a pharmacy chain. As part of my job I cover the Pharmacy Counter. As of the 1st of August new regulations came in on the supply of products containing Codeine. This has created some confusion which is not helped by pharmacists!

I have noticed from talking to friends, customers and pharmacists that each pharmacy and even sometimes branches within them, are adopting slightly different policies on the sale of codeine products.

An example of this is when my mother went to one pharmacy and was told she could not be sold a product and was not referred to the pharmacist as the regulations set out.

This makes it quite confusing for patients. It also makes it harder for those of us on the counter to help patients as if they can’t get what they want in our pharmacy they say they will go to another one.

The Draft Guidance on the Codeine Products is available on the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland’s website (PDF) but that does not set out a uniform policy.

Codeine products need to be strongly regulated and from my experience of this regulation I think they would be better off putting those products on prescription, it will be the only way that it will be regulated considering the abuse and misuse associated with these products and their addictive nature.

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Public Meeting on FairCare

Fine Gael
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A public meeting will be held on Monday 8th of March at 8:00pm in Silversprings Morans Hotel Cork on the the new Fine Gael Health Policy “FairCare”.

Speakers on the night will include Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny TD, Fine Gael Health Spokesperson Dr. James O’Reilly TD and Fine Gael Seanad Health Spokesperson Senator Francis Fitzgerald.

Local elected representatives will also be in attendance. This is a good chance to find out more about the Fine Gael Health policy. I hope to be in attendance!

For more information on the policy see FairCare.ie

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Road Deaths: 240

BRUSH, CO - JUNE 27:  A cross marks the spot w...
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2009 saw 240 people killed on Irish Roads. This is down (a record!!) 39 on last year. It is still a high figure.

Among those killed were:

  • 40 pedestrians,
  • 7 cyclists,
  • 128 were drivers
  • 38 passengers
  • 27 bikers.

Road deaths can effect anyone. They leave devastation behind. My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those killed this.

Here’s hoping that there will be less this year.

So buckle up, don’t speed, don’t drive while tired and wear a high visibility jacket when walking.

For all our sake, take care on the roads. Especially with the cold conditions we are experiencing at the moment. Please follow the RSA’s advice for the festive season.

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“The Government took the finger off the pulse by managing treatment rather than risk”

The above is a quite from Dr Fiona Mulcahy, consultant at St James’s department of genito-urinary medicine and infectious diseases. It is her view on how the Government is tackling the HIV/AIDS issue in Ireland. This year will see Ireland’s rate of infection increase by 20%. This is all reported in the Irish Times.

Dublin’s St James’s Hospital has reported the highest number of new HIV cases in one year since records began, with a 20 per cent increase in positive diagnoses.

It projected 242 people would be diagnosed with HIV in the hospital by the end of the year, compared to 208 people in 2008.

The number of new cases of infections among men who have sex with men doubled over the year. Most of them were under the age of 30.

Most people don’t know they are infected, until they go for routine tests. Women mostly find out during antenatal screenings and men find out during tests for other STI’s.

At-risk groups are being ignored by the Government and they needed to be targeted in a “national sexual health strategy” as called for by the Gay and Lesbian Equity Network (GLEN).

I also agree with Fine Gael’s Dr James Reilly TD who called for a “national education campaign on HIV prevention”.

These two ideas would work hand and hand and need to be implemented if we are to make a difference here.

Of course the Government is not alone on this. A lot of current HIV/AIDS campaigns are focused now on living with disease rather then prevention. While this is needed, the old adage, “Prevention is Better then Cure” is hugely important when it comes to HIV/AIDS. As the Irish Times article highlights, “the majority of new patients did not have health insurance due to their age and antiretroviral treatments cost up to €2,000 per person per year.”

Its time we took stock. Its time we woke up. Its time we educated ourselves and others.

So look at Spunout.ie’s pages on STI’s, know how to use a Condom. Be aware.

So Protect yourself. Protect others. Wear a Condom.

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