Keeping our liver alive
The liver is one of those parts of the body we can’t do without. It’s our largest internal organ; and in some ways, the most complex. It’s where our body returns unwanted substances so they can be rendered harmless and excreted; but it also has a storage and manufacturing function as well. For instance, about 50% of our body’s cholesterol requirements are made in the liver.

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HIV is still here
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is primarily transmitted in blood, semen and vaginal fluids via unprotected sex or sharing injecting equipment. HIV belongs to a group of viruses called retroviruses known for the capacity to copy their genetic blueprint onto the genes of the host person’s cells. HIV has been identified as the virus that causes AIDS. AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is not a single disease. It is a broad range of conditions that occur when a person’s immune system is seriously damaged after years of attack by the HIV. The terms HIV and AIDS are not interchangeable. It is important to remember that a person who is infected with HIV does not necessarily have AIDS. However, all people with AIDS have been infected with HIV.

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HIV/AIDS - getting to zero
One of the themes for World AIDS Day is “getting to zero”. The realisation of that aim seems a long way off, but the latest report from UNAids (the United Nations Joint Program on HIV/AIDS) indicated a significant decline in new infections worldwide amongst both adults and children and an increasing number of people on antiretrovirals (ARVs) – the medicines used to suppress the virus and prevent the progression of the disease.

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Good health gift ideas
For many people, Christmas has deep religious significance; for others, it’s simply a time to relax and enjoy a few days off work. But for almost everyone, this time of year has traditionally become one of celebration. Throughout many societies it is commonplace to exchange gifts or simply ‘season’s greetings’, and to express sentiments of peace and goodwill. Wishes of good health usually accompany greetings at this time of year; so, perhaps some healthy gift ideas could be worth a thought as well.

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Love your liver
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver – from any cause. Hepatitis C is transmitted via blood to blood contact and unlike other common hepatitis viruses A and B, there is no vaccine available to protect against hepatitis C. Prevention strategies, managing symptoms and reducing the risk of liver damage are critical.

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