Influence of Media on HIV Advocacy

As highlighted in the course reading, media as a window on the world has a responsibility of giving a perfect package of information about what is happening around the globe. Notably, it has a role in controlling public awareness on the transmission and exposure to HIV. A UNAID report on those affected directly, PLWH, shows that wrongful and biased communication often disadvantage People Living with HIV (PLWH). Besides, it blocks sympathy from the well-wishers. Also, it inhibits good relations between the victims and community members. However, broadcasting correct and detailed information builds the right awareness as well as slowing down the spread of HIV/AIDS.

A research article available on the National Biotechnology information Center shows that positive and truthful media campaigns result to increased awareness of HIV/AIDS and the right prevention mechanisms. The U.S introduced a VISION Project in Nigeria that showed a positive impact on educating the population on dangers of HIV/AIDS. The program focused on reaching out to a larger population, particularly those with limited access to any form of media in the rural areas. The information distributed included the importance of practicing safe sex and equipping people with helpful information on addressing HIV patients. These activities were aimed at generating positive effects of distributing proper health-related news and support programs. Therefore, such national involvements should be raised internationally. Besides, mass media should be educated on information honesty and accuracy especially in those regions experiencing inequalities.

635975763239472267148272066_STOPhivHowever, the case seems different in China due to dishonesty in media publications which significantly increases the spread of this disease. The threat of HIV/AIDS is a serious concern as shown by the increasing involvements by both the government and the NGOs to improve the awareness of the disease. Notably, J. Hood’s article, Media perception on HIV in China similarly explains this message by shedding light on the poor and racial media messages in China. These messages suggest a wrong sense of HIV insusceptibility among the elite Chinese natives. In this case, the media presents a biased health information to the public which paints the Africans and the unfortunate natives in rural China as the most vulnerable to the disease. They relate the disease to misfortunes such as poverty mainly linked to the poor Blacks’ nations or unlucky people. From the course readings, this is a presentation of a stereotype. In this case, such stereotypes happen to portray the Han Chinese as immune to HIV. Nonetheless, I firmly believe that such beliefs should be challenged to improve a global concern of fighting this epidemic.

The practice of researching and presenting accurate and well-informed content to the citizens promotes the spread of the right information. Also, it allows for the fair administration of health services among those affected without fears.

 

-Qing Li

Cosmetic threaten our health

Nowadays, with the development of society, people’s lives become more rich and colorful than before. In order to meet the increasing various needs of women, cosmetic gradually take a large part in women’s lives. As recorded by TODAY and AOL, women spend an average of 55 minutes everyday for priming. And many merchants find business opportunities from the nature of women. As a result, different kinds of cosmetic brands start to appear in emporium such as Nordstrom. What’s more, there are also some stores especially for selling cosmetics like Sephora. However, a question has been asked by someone about whether makeup is dangerous to our health or not?

We always can see some news report about some harmful substance found in cosmetics. Actually, many studies have demonstrate this point is true. For example, in this scientific article or this link a study has been done about the association between the health effects and using a mercury-containing beauty cream. Not surprisingly, scientists found that the urine mercury level of women who use this beauty cream exceed the average mercury level of ordinary people. As you can expect, neuropsychiatric symptoms were among those women use on a daily basis most frequently reported. Although, there are no major abnormalities were noted on physical examination, still minor abnormalities are found. We can draw a conclusion that some cosmetics do harm to our body.

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The picture above is a screenshot from a popular video website. In this video website, cosmetic ads as a “push” media showed to audience. What’s more, there are also some ads about makeup as a “pull” media just like the picture in the right, which is also a screenshot form another video website. Cross-production is another good strategy of commercials for big company to make a progress in Cosmetics area. For instance, the well-known French brand, Saint Laurent Paris launched ysl cosmetics under its brand, which now become prevalent all around the world.

There are also some popular sources’ article also mention the point about cosmetic use and health. No one would deny that using so many chemical ingredients a day definitely risks our health in many aspects. Many chemical ingredients will not remain on the surface of skin, instead they penetrate the skin to influence the deep fat of our body. However, many people don’t recognize the dangerous of makeup but also expose those cosmetics to their children which is harmful to their health.

By Ruitao Zhang

If the scientific article cannot open you can search the citation from:

Weldon, Minda M, Smolinski, Mark S, Maroufi, Azarnoush, Hasty, Brian W, Gilliss, Debra L, Boulanger, L Lucy, Balluz, Lina S, Dutton, Ronald J, and Davis, Larry E. “Mercury Poisoning Associated with a Mexican Beauty Cream.” The Western Journal of Medicine 173.1 (2000): 15. Web.

 

Potential Health Concerns and Benefits of Social Media

It is doubtless that social media is hugely influential and has a large impact on many aspects of our lives; we use it to stay up to date with trends and current events and share things with friends and family. We use various platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Snapchat, and many others for an extraordinary amount of time – an average of about 106 minutes per day.

Of course, there are many pros and cons to social media with the rise of digital networking, but many sources of mass media seem to tend to put social media use in a negative light. For example, a post by Huffington explained that excessive use of social media use may over time contribute to poor mental health. But while this article states that there are some studies that do suggest a correlation between social media habits and mental well-being, there is no basis for causality. Social media and mental health are both multi-faceted and complex each in their own way, and we should tread lightly around exaggerated claims of causation.

On the other hand, some suggest social media can be a very helpful resource for some health conditions. Social media offers a unique means of fostering support and sharing information. This methodological review, conducted at the University of Melbourne reviewed and analyzed studies that investigated such benefits in relation to chronic disease management, and found that some studies examined social media’s impact in chronic disease management to be positive, and none were found that suggested negative effects. However, many studies turned out to have covered a narrow range of social media platforms, and older ones, including discussion forums and online support groups. This review of past literature indicates that that social media can become a more meaningful and effective tool for chronic disease management if individual intervention methods can be delivered, but more research must be conducted in order to further investigate such affordances.

Like many other sources of media that rose with the new digital age, social media has apparent pros and cons. Questions that should be asked as such platforms evolve include, how can social media be used to promote awareness for certain health conditions, and what can be done to best accommodate affected individuals? To what extent does social media negatively impact the mental health of the general public, and is this redeemed by the many positive ways social media is used by specific populations?

Rio and Steroids

With the beginning of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, spectators are being drawn to media devices with the hope of watching glory and history being made.        

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Along with the celebratory news of Gold medals and broken records comes the controversy of steroids and masking steroid use. The biggest controversy in this summer’s Olympic games are the allowance over 100 Russian athletes who tested positive last month for steroid use and drugs masking steroid use.

There have been investigations of a state run program in Russia that was giving steroids to its athletes and then giving oral drugs mixed with alcohol to avoid detection of steroids. The effect on the Olympic games is already being seen with athletes from Russia being booed whenever they walk into a stadium or arena.

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The largest scandal so far in the games was Russian swimmer, Yulia Efimova. She was a competitor for the gold medal in the 100 meter breaststroke. She was mainly competing against American Lilly King. King who believed Efimova should not have been able to compete has said that “You’re shaking your finger ‘No. 1’ and you’ve been caught for drug cheating,” after Efimova won her semifinal heat and threw up a celebratory no. 1 finger. King continued and said “I’m not a fan.”  

The two athletes met during the finals, where King prevailed and won the gold medal. Efimova won silver but that still is taking a medal from Katie Meili of America who competed without any evidence that she was doping while Efimova had tested positive for doping twice in the last year. It is still early in the olympic games and there are many more events where olympians can be robbed of their dreams by those previously banned for doping but allowed to compete. But what makes steroids so bad?

In America, steroids are stigmatized so everyone knows if they get caught using it, they will lose their records and respect. Socialization of this value that steroids are bad is why Americans such as Lilly King see them as the worst kind of evil in sports. And the truth is that steroids are harmful. Steroids consists of the male hormone testosterone but is abused in large amounts by athletes to boost their performance. According to a research article by Ji- Guo Yu, steroids alter the morphology of skeletal muscle tissue in athletes allowing them to grow faster and gain more strength compared to other athletes not using steroids. The long term harmful effects of continued anabolic steroid use is damage to the liver, shrunken testicles, chemical addiction and alteration of normal brain pathways. For all of these reasons have steroids been banned. However socialization in another culture may have been why so many athletes knowingly or unknowingly took steroids, such as in this case with Russia. Values such as being the best at all costs, glory and winning are values that may have tempted so many athletes and their coaches to cheat. In the end, when Russian athletes medal they will claim glory but also shame. Shame from not winning their medals clean.

 

-Steven Kaufman

Dreaming Social Media

There is no doubt about it that in the modern era of 2016, social media is taking over the country. A recent survey shows that in the past 3 years, the percentage of the US population that uses social media has increased by 16% and is at 78% in 2016. Social media has become so intrusive in our daily lives that it affects almost all aspects of it; including our sleep.

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Young adults make up the majority of consistent social media users. According to the Huffington Post, a study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh examined 1,788 young adults between the ages of 19-32. Researchers observed their social media frequency and volume, as well as their sleep patterns. On average, participants use social media for about an hour total each day. The scientists found a strong correlation between social media frequency and volume and a greater chance of sleep disruption. They saw that subjects who frequented social media sites often woke up during the night to check media or had some form of sleep problems. Further studies show that college students who use social media during sleeping hours experience fatigue during the day as well as cognitive impairment and are more likely to use sleep medication. Social media and sleep problems can also have affects on individual’s mental state and can increase anxiety and depression.

This video highlights the University of Pittsburgh study examining the correlation between social media use and sleep disruption:

The researchers of the study however, state that they are uncertain if social media is the cause for the sleep disruption in many individuals, or if it is because of the sleep disruption that the frequency of social media use increases. What other facets of our health does social media affect? Will social media keep growing and eventually affect the entirety of our lives or has it already reached this point?

– By Justin Smick

Hey Kids, Want Some Drugs?

The methods and language of the drug industry can be quite curious; despite the fact that all medications, prescription or otherwise, are in fact drugs, it seems to try to separate “medication” from “drug.” As such, the regulation of medications by the FDA is often ambiguous and confusing, and the language used can be misleading for consumers.  For example, amphetamines are under the same class of drug cocaine and methamphetamine is under. Amphetamines is a stimulant that has been the traditional medication for treating ADHD, but under the familiar brand name of Adderall. This is one of many marketing strategies used by the drug industry, and ever present in the media.

In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in ADHD prescriptions for not just children, but also for adults. By 2012, there were nearly 16 million monthly prescriptions for people aged 20-39. This phenomenon has been fueled by the drug industry pushing for more prescriptions, resulting in media influences present in advertisements and articles suggesting not only that restless children should be on Adderall, but also cultivating a wide spread notion that possible symptoms should be treated right away to prevent further mental health problems.

There has been an increasing concern in the medical community that ADHD is over diagnosed, and that pressure from concerned parents combined with brief and superficial assessments are likely to lead some children receiving inappropriate prescriptions. Many of these prescriptions are allegedly “new” drugs under different names that drug companies market despite the compounds in the drug being the same, and often these new drugs are not even FDA approved, as the video below explains.

 

Ritalin, Concerta and Modafinal (which are also amphetamines, like Adderall) are examples of this marketing scheme, and it is clearly working. During the 1990s, there was a 700% increase in the use of psychostimulants, with the United States consuming 90% of the world’s supply of the drugs. This begs the question, is ADHD overdiagnosed in the US? Why aren’t other countries exhibiting proportionate amounts of ADHD diagnoses? The symptoms of ADHD can easily be seen in toddlers; children are known for their short attention spans and restlessness. But the marketing of ADHD medications in popular sources of media (i.e. commercials and magazine ads) have led parents to believe that something is wrong with their child.

Further, although behavioral literature shows that stimulants can help improve sustained attention, they may also impair performance of tasks that require adaptation, flexibility, and planning. Other adverse effects include increased heart rate, insomnia, and anorexia. The anorexic effects of amphetamines are especially problematic in a population of young children that require adequate levels of nutrition.

Adderall and other amphetamines used for medical purposes and treatments should be fully disclosed as a drug, not a cure – and should be treated as such. Prescribed medication can induce positive behavior effects, but also come with other dangerous effects like any other drug. The media plays a significant role in perpetrating a fragmented image of medications to a society who buys into the industry, influenced by fear and fragmented information.

Miran Kim

The “red blood” outside our body

IN Wine, the most popular drink around the world, has very long story, old enough that you cannot imagine. The first wine vessel was found in Khramis Didi Gora, Marnculi, which can be traced back about 8000 years ago. What’s more, in the modern society,  people’s enthusiasm to wine not decrease a little, but become more crazy than before. Many chateaus, vineyards and wineries are built in every corner of the globe. People at every social classes like wine.  what factors make the wine so long standing in human history? Just because of its taste? There are many benefits wines have to our health which is also the technique commercials use to advertise their products mainly towards to women.

In this video, it mainly talks about 5 things that wine help people especially women to improve their health indicators. The first one is Resveratrol, a substance found in wine, which is believed to help prevent damage to blood vessels, reduce cholesterol and prevent blood clots. The second benefit is that wine has anti-inflammatory functions which can aid many conditions from joint aches to asthma. Thirdly, resveratrol in red wine has a similar properties to estrogen. It can help with conditions such as menopause and breast cancer. What’s more, it also mentioned that red wine is better than white wine because the majority of those beneficial substances are found in the skin of grapes.

Towards to men, the commercials strategies are changed completely but still effective for their wine sales. For example, in this commercial ads about Changyu wines, by using a typical kind of pull media let audience immerse themselves in, which showed almost all the attractors to men such as world, elegance, long historical, experts and famous. Those factors will satisfy men’s vanity by drinking wine, especially those expensive wines. Moreover, earned media also play an important role in the distribution of wine. As you can imagine, we drink wine in family dinner, see hundreds of wines in front desk of a bar, even put wine in our home as decoration. There is no reason for wine not popular worldwide.

However, though drinking wine is good for our health, still it is essential to control the quantity of wine we drink per day. Because drinking lots of wine will harm to our bodies. No matter what benefits wine has, it is alcohol. As long as it is alcohol, drinking to much will definitely dangerous to people’s health. According to this article, it mentions that drinking too much red wine can increase risk for coronary heart disease and stroke and increase our fat for the liver first decompose the alcohol in the red wine not the fat in our body.

-By Ruitao Zhang