Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe for People With Diabetes?

As diabetes educators, we are frequently asked if sugar substitutesare safe and which ones are best. Over time there have been many sugar substitutes, and we always tell people that the one you use is a personal choice. They are safe for people with diabetes, and they can be used to reduce both your calorie and carbohydrate intake. Sugar substitutes also can help curb those cravings you have for something sweet.

You’ll find artificial sweeteners in diet drinks, baked goods, frozen desserts, candy, light yogurt and chewing gum. You can also find them as stand-alone sweeteners to add to coffee, tea, cereal and fruit. Some are also available for cooking and baking.

It’s important to remember that only a small amount is needed since the sweetening power of these substitutes is (at least) 100 times stronger than regular sugar.

There are currently six artificial sweeteners that have been tested and approved by the FDA—or placed on the agency’s Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) list. Numerous scientific studies have been performed on each of them to confirm they are safe for consumption.

The FDA has established an “acceptable daily intake” (ADI) for each of the products. This represents the amount of a food ingredient that can be used safely on a daily basis over a lifetime without risk. Here is a current list of sweeteners that have been approved by the FDA.

1. Acesulfame-potassium, also known as Ace-K

This is generally blended with another low-calorie sweetener.

Brand names include Sunett® and Sweet One®

It is stable under heat, even under moderately acidic or basic conditions, allowing it to be used as a food additive in baking, or in products that require a long shelf life. In carbonated drinks, it is almost always used in conjunction with another sweetener.

2. Aspartame, called by many “the blue packet”

Over 200 studies support its safety. Aspartame is a source of phenylalanine which is an ingredient people with phenylketonuria (PKU) should avoid.  A warning label is on the product. Aspartame is not heat stable so it is not the best choice for baking and cooking.

Brand names include Nutrasweet® and Equal®

3. Neotame

This has 7,000 to 8,000 the sweetening power of sugar. It does contain phenylalanine, but because the amount of neotame needed is so small, the levels of phenylalanine are insignificant. The labels are not required to have a warning. There are no other brand names. This product is mainly used by large food manufacturers and it is moderately heat stable in cooking.

4. Saccharin, called “the pink packet”

Also in a liquid form, it has been used for more than 100 years. The studies in the 1970s that linked saccharin to bladder cancer were dismissed by the FDA as they were not relevant to humans. Saccharin is heat stable and a good choice for use in cooking, baking and canning/preserving.

Brand names include Sweet ‘N Low®, Sweet Twin® and Sugar Twin®

5. Stevia, known as “the green packet”

Also called Stevioside, Rebaudioside A, B, C,D,F,  Dulcoside A, Rubusoside and Steviolbioside

Also comes in liquid and dissolvable tablets. Some Stevia products have not received GRAS status and must be sold as dietary supplements, not as a non-nutritive sweetener. Use to sweeten beverages. May be used in baking but adjustments have to be made for the lack of moisture and bulk. Follow recommendations on product labels.

Brand names include A Sweet Leaf®, Sun Crystals®, Stevia®, Truvia® and PureVia®6.

6. Sucralose, called “the yellow packet”

Saccharin and sucralose are heat stable and are easiest to use in baking and cooking. It’s available to buy in dissolvable tablets, granular tablets and baking blends.

Brand names include N’Joy® and Splenda® 

Using sugar substitutes in cooking and baking

Read packages carefully for specific instructions on the best way to substitute the low-calorie sweetener for sugar in recipes. Things to know when using a sugar substitute:

  • Baked products may be lighter in color because of the lack of browning effect found in real sugar
  • Volume may be lower in cakes, muffins and sweet breads because of the lack of bulking ability in real sugar
  • The texture may be altered
  • There may be an aftertaste with some of the substitutes
  • Cooking time may vary
  • Products may not keep as long

Statin Use Strongly Linked to Diabetes in Healthy Adults

Even healthy adults taking statins are 87% more likely to develop diabetes.

A recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine evaluated 3982 Tricare beneficiaries who were taking statins and 21,988 peers in the military health system who were not.

Using 42 baseline characteristics, the researchers matched 3351 statin users to 3351 nonusers and then examined the incidence of diabetes, diabetic complications, and obesity in both groups. At baseline, all study subjects had no cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or other life-limiting chronic disease.

In addition to seeing a strong association between new-onset diabetes and statin use, those taking statins also had a 250% greater likelihood of developing diabetes with complications than their counterparts, and they were 14% more likely to be overweight or obese. The researchers also determined that the higher the dose of the statin, the greater the risk of these conditions.

While previous studies have linked statin use to increased risk of diabetes and potential weight gain, the current authors noted they provided more evidence of the association among healthy adults, which is less frequently studied.

“The risk of diabetes with statins has been known, but up until now, it was thought that this might be due to the fact that people who were prescribed statins had greater medical risks to begin with,” said lead author Ishak Mansi, MD, a professor and physician-researcher with the Veterans Affairs North Texas Health System and the University of Texas Southwestern, in a press release.

The authors did not advise patients to stop taking statins based on their study results; rather, they recommended that patients and health care providers discuss potential benefits and risks with statin use. However, they also encouraged patients to pursue lifestyle changes to potentially avoid taking statins.


Wath the video. URL:



This illustration shows Earth surrounded by theoretical filaments of dark matter called “hairs.”

The solar system might be a lot hairier than we thought.

A new study publishing this week in the Astrophysical Journal by Gary Prézeau of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, proposes the existence of long filaments of dark matter, or “hairs.”

Dark matter is an invisible, mysterious substance that makes up about 27 percent of all matter and energy in the universe. The regular matter, which makes up everything we can see around us, is only 5 percent of the universe. The rest is dark energy, a strange phenomenon associated with the acceleration of our expanding universe.

Neither dark matter nor dark energy has ever been directly detected, although many experiments are trying to unlock the mysteries of dark matter, whether from deep underground or in space.


This artist's rendering zooms in on what dark matter "hairs" might look like around Earth. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This artist’s rendering zooms in on what dark matter “hairs” might look like around Earth.

Based on many observations of its gravitational pull in action, scientists are certain that dark matter exists, and have measured how much of it there is in the universe to an accuracy of better than one percent. The leading theory is that dark matter is “cold,” meaning it doesn’t move around much, and it is “dark” insofar as it doesn’t produce or interact with light.

Galaxies, which contain stars made of ordinary matter, form because of fluctuations in the density of dark matter. Gravity acts as the glue that holds both the ordinary and dark matter together in galaxies.

According to calculations done in the 1990s and simulations performed in the last decade, dark matter forms “fine-grained streams” of particles that move at the same velocity and orbit galaxies such as ours.

“A stream can be much larger than the solar system itself, and there are many different streams crisscrossing our galactic neighborhood,” Prézeau said.

Prézeau likens the formation of fine-grained streams of dark matter to mixing chocolate and vanilla ice cream. Swirl a scoop of each together a few times and you get a mixed pattern, but you can still see the individual colors.

“When gravity interacts with the cold dark matter gas during galaxy formation, all particles within a stream continue traveling at the same velocity,” Prézeau said.

But what happens when one of these streams approaches a planet such as Earth? Prézeau used computer simulations to find out.

His analysis finds that when a dark matter stream goes through a planet, the stream particles focus into an ultra-dense filament, or “hair,” of dark matter. In fact, there should be many such hairs sprouting from Earth.

A stream of ordinary matter would not go through Earth and out the other side. But from the point of view of dark matter, Earth is no obstacle. According to Prézeau’s simulations, Earth’s gravity would focus and bend the stream of dark matter particles into a narrow, dense hair.

Hairs emerging from planets have both “roots,” the densest concentration of dark matter particles in the hair, and “tips,” where the hair ends. When particles of a dark matter stream pass through Earth’s core, they focus at the “root” of a hair, where the density of the particles is about a billion times more than average. The root of such a hair should be around 600,000 miles (1 million kilometers) away from the surface, or twice as far as the moon. The stream particles that graze Earth’s surface will form the tip of the hair, about twice as far from Earth as the hair’s root.

“If we could pinpoint the location of the root of these hairs, we could potentially send a probe there and get a bonanza of data about dark matter,” Prézeau said.

A stream passing through Jupiter’s core would produce even denser roots: almost 1 trillion times denser than the original stream, according to Prézeau’s simulations.

“Dark matter has eluded all attempts at direct detection for over 30 years. The roots of dark matter hairs would be an attractive place to look, given how dense they are thought to be,” said Charles Lawrence, chief scientist for JPL’s astronomy, physics and technology directorate.

Another fascinating finding from these computer simulations is that the changes in density found inside our planet – from the inner core, to the outer core, to the mantle to the crust – would be reflected in the hairs. The hairs would have “kinks” in them that correspond to the transitions between the different layers of Earth.

Theoretically, if it were possible to obtain this information, scientists could use hairs of cold dark matter to map out the layers of any planetary body, and even infer the depths of oceans on icy moons.

Further study is needed to support these findings and unlock the mysteries of the nature of dark matter.


Watch the video. URL:



Could the very plant that for decades was accused of “frying” users’ brains be far superior to pharmaceuticals in treating the “incurable” neurodegenerative condition known as Parkinson’s disease?

Despite the political controversy surrounding medical marijuanause in the country, research has begun to emerge showing that a component of this plant known as cannabidiol (CBD), and which does not have the controversial psychoactive properties associated with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), may have a wide range of therapeutic applications, including treating conditions that are refractory to conventional drug-based approaches.

One such condition is Parkinson’s disease, to which there is, at present, no effective conventional treatment. In fact, the primary treatment involves dopamine increasing drugs that also increase a neurotoxic metabolite known as with 6-hydroxy-dopamine, and which therefore can actually accelerate the progression of the disease. This is why natural alternatives that are safe, effective, and backed up by scientific evidence, are so needed today. Thankfully, preclinical research on cannabidiol has already revealed some promising results, including two studies in animal models of Parkinson’s disease (PD) assessing its neuroprotective properties:

“In the first one, Lastres-Becker et al. (2005) showed that the administration of CBD counteracted neurodegeneration caused by the injection of 6-hydroxy-dopamine in the medial prosencephalic bundle, an effect that could be related to the modulation of glial cells and to antioxidant effects (Lastres- Becker et al., 2005). In the next year, Garcia-Arencibia et al. (2007) tested many cannabinoid compounds following the lesion of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra with 6-hydroxy-dopamine and found that the acute administration of CBD seemed to have a neuroprotective action; nonetheless, the administration of CBD one week after the lesion had no significant effects (Garcia-Arencibia et al., 2007). This study also pointed to a possible antioxidant effect with the upregulation of  mRNA of the enzyme Cu-Zn-superoxide dismutase following the administration of CBD.” [1]

In addition to these animal studies, the following three human clinical trials have been conducted to evaluate cannabidiol’s neuroprotective effects.

  • A 2006 study published in Biological Psychology titled, “Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex N-Acetylaspartate/Total Creatine (NAA/tCr) Loss in Male Recreational Cannabis Users,” investigated the N-acetylaspartate to creatine ratios (NAA/Cr) in the brain of regular cannabis users through magnetic resonance spectroscopy (H1-MRS) to assess the neurotoxic and neuroprotective effects of cannabinoids present in the drug and found a strong positive correlation between CBD and NAA/Cr in the globus pallidus and putamen.[2] According to the study, “the globus pallidum is the region with the highest amount of CB1-receptors in the brain and the target of neurostimulation in patients with Parkinson’s disease, who developed a strong tremor. Our MRSI results support a positive effect of CBD on the putamen/globus pallidum region in cannabis use. Therefore, it may be promising to test a possible influence of the nonpsychotropic CBD in the onset of Parkinson’s disease.”
  • A 2009 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology titled, “Cannabidiol for the treatment of psychosis in Parkinson’s disease,”[3] assessed the therapeutic use and neuroprotective effect of CBD in PD patients. The open label study was conducted with six patients with PD-related psychosis. They were administered CBD at doses ranging from 150 mg in the first week to 400 mg in the fourth and last week of treatment (doses were adjusted to optimize the clinical response). The study reported significant improvements in psychosis as well as in the total scores of a scale that measures general symptoms of PD (Unified Parkinson’s disease rating scale – UPDRS)
  • A 2014 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology titled, “Effects of cannabidiol in the treatment of patients with Parkinson’s disease: an exploratory double-blind trial,” evaluated the effects of cannabidiol in Parkinson’s disease patients, dividing 21 patients into 3 groups of 7 receiving either placebo, cannabidiol (CBD) 75 mg/day or CBD 300 mg/day. Increases in well-being and quality of life were observed in the 300 mg/day groups versus the placebo groups. The researchers hypothesized that these improvements may have been due to cannabidiol’s “anxiolytic,” “antidepressant,” “anti-psychotic,” and “sedative” properties.

These results, taken together with the results from the animal models of PD, indicate that CBD may provide a drug alternative in PD patients. Additionally, a new study published inToxicology In Vitro titled,”The neuroprotection of cannabidiol against MPP+-induced toxicity in PC12 cells involves trkA receptors, upregulation of axonal and synaptic proteins, neuritogenesis, and might be relevant to Parkinson’s disease,” makes the case for using cannabidiol in PD even more compelling by helping to illuminate some of the molecular mechanisms beneath its benefits.

The study found that cannabidiol protects against the neurotoxin known as MPP(+), which is widely believed to be responsible for the damage to the dopamine-producing cells in the substania nigra of Parkison’s patients, by preventing neuronal cell death and inducing neuritogenesis (a neuro-regenerative process for repairing damaged neurons). This mechanism was found to be independent of the neural growth factor (NGF) pathway, even though it involves NGF receptors. Cannabidiol was also found to increase the expression of axonal and synaptic proteins. The study concluded that CBD’s neuroprotective properties might be of benefit to Parkinson’s disease patients.

For additional research on how cannabis can contribute to mitigatingneurodegenerative diseases read our article, “Marijuana Compound Found Superior To Drugs For Alzheimer’s,” and peruse the cannabis research database on Also, for an extensive set of data on natural interventions for Parkinson’s disease, view our database on the topic: Parkinson’s disease research. Finally, peruse an extensive list of foods, spices, and natural substances that have neuritogenic properties here.


[1] Chagas MH, et al. J Psychopharmacol. 2014 Nov;28(11):1088-98. doi: 10.1177/0269881114550355. Epub 2014 Sep 18. Effects of cannabidiol in the treatment of patients with Parkinson’s disease: an exploratory double-blind trial.

[2] Hermann D, Sartorius A, Welzel H, et al. (2007) Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex N-acetylaspartate/total creatine (NAA/tCr) loss in male recreational cannabis users. Biol Psychiatry 61: 1281–1289.

[3] Zuardi AW, Crippa JA, Hallak JE, et al. (2009) Cannabidiol for the treatment of psychosis in Parkinson’s disease. J Psychopharmacol 23:979–983.



Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that have numerous benefits for health. However, not allomega-3 fatty acids are created equal—in fact, there are 11 different types, and some are better for you than others.

The three most important ones are ALA, EPA and DHA. ALA is mostly found in plants, while EPA and DHA are mostly found in animal foods like fatty fish.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: A Recap

Like all fatty acids, omega-3s are chains of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms.

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated, meaning they have two or more double bonds (poly = many) in their chemical structure. Just like the omega-6s, omega-3 fatty acids cannot be made by the body and we must get them from the diet. This is why they are termed essential fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids are not simply stored and used for energy. They have important roles in all sorts of bodily processes, including inflammation, heart health and brain function. Being deficient in omega-3s is associated with lower intelligence, depression, heart disease, arthritis,cancer and many other health problems (1, 2).

Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of polyunsaturated fats that we must get from the diet. They have numerous benefits for health.

1. ALA (Alpha-Linolenic Acid)

ALA is short for alpha-linolenic acid. This is the most common omega-3 fatty acid in the diet. It is 18 carbons long with three double bonds.

ALA is mostly found in plant foods and needs to be converted into the EPA or DHA before it can be utilized by the human body.

However, this conversion process is inefficient in humans. Only a small percentage of ALA is converted into EPA and even less into DHA (3, 4, 5, 6).

When ALA is not converted to EPA or DHA, it remains inactive and is simply stored or used as energy, like other fats. Some observational studies have found an association between a diet rich in ALA and a reduced risk of heart disease deaths, while others have found an increased risk of prostate cancer (7).

This increase in prostate cancer risk was not associated with the other main omega-3 types, EPA and DHA, which actually had a protective effect (8).

ALA is found in many plant foods, including kale, spinach, purslane,soybeans,walnuts and many seeds such as chiaflax and hemp seeds. ALA is also found in some animal fats. Some seed oils, such as flaxseed oil and rapeseed (canola) oil are also high in ALA.

Bottom Line: ALA is short for alpha-linolenic acid. It is mostly found in plant foods and needs to be converted into EPA or DHA in order to become active in the human body.

2. EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid)

EPA is short for eicosapentaenoic acid. It is 20 carbons long, with 5 double bonds.

Its main function is to form signaling molecules called eicosanoids, which play numerous physiological roles.

Eicosanoids made from omega-3s reduce inflammation, while those made from omega-6s tend to increase inflammation (9).

For this reason, a diet high in EPA may reduce inflammation in the body. Chronic, low-level inflammation is known to drive several common diseases (10).

Several studies have shown that fish oil, which is high in EPA and DHA, may reduce symptoms of depression. There is also some evidence that EPA is superior to DHA in this regard (11, 12).

One study also found that EPA reduced the number of hot flashes experienced by menopausal women (13).

Both EPA and DHA are mostly found in seafood, including fatty fish and algae. For this reason, they are often called marine omega-3s.

EPA concentrations are highest in herring, salmon, eel, shrimp and sturgeon. Grass-fed animal products, such as dairy and meats, also contain some EPA.

Bottom Line: EPA is short for eicosapentaenoic acid. It is an omega-3 fatty acid that can reduce symptoms of depression and help fight inflammation in the body.

3. DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)

DHA is short for docosahexaenoic acid. It is 22 carbons long, with 6 double bonds.

DHA is an important structural component of skin and the retina in the eye (14).

Fortifying baby formula with DHA leads to improved vision in infants (15).

DHA is absolutely vital for brain development and function in childhood, as well as brain function in adults.

Early-life DHA deficiency is associated with problems later on, such as learning disabilities, ADHD, aggressive hostility and several other disorders (16).

A decrease in DHA during aging is also associated with impaired brain function and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease (17).

DHA is also reported to have positive effects on diseases such as arthritis, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and some cancers (18).

The role of DHA in heart disease is also well established. It can reduce blood triglycerides and may lead to fewer harmful LDL particles (19).

DHA also causes the breakup of so called lipid rafts in membranes, making it more difficult for cancer cells to survive and for inflammation to occur (20, 21).

As mentioned before, DHA is found in high amounts in seafood, including fatty fish and algae. Grass-fed animal products also contain some DHA.

Bottom Line: DHA is short for docosahexaenoic acid. It is a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid that is very important for brain development. It may also help protect against heart disease, cancer and other health problems.

Conversion Process: From ALA to EPA to DHA

ALA, the most common omega-3 fat, needs to be converted into EPA or DHA to become “active” (3).

Unfortunately, this conversion process is inefficient in humans. On average, only 1–10 percent is converted into EPA and 0.5–5 percent is converted into DHA (4, 5, 6,22).

Furthermore, the conversions are dependent on adequate levels of other nutrients, such as vitamins B6 and B7, copper, calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron. Many of these are lacking in the modern diet, especially among vegetarians (23).

The low conversion rate is also because omega-6 fatty acids compete for the same enzymes needed for the conversion process. Therefore, the high amount of omega-6 in the modern diet can reduce the conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA (5, 24).

Bottom Line: ALA is not biologically active in the body. It needs to be converted into EPA and/or DHA in order to become active, but this conversion process is inefficient in humans.

8 Other Omega-3 Fatty Acids

ALA, EPA and DHA are the most abundant omega-3 fatty acids in the diet.

However, at least 8 other omega-3 fatty acids have been discovered:

  1. Hexadecatrienoic acid (HTA).
  2. Stearidonic acid (SDA).
  3. Eicosatrienoic acid (ETE).
  4. Eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA).
  5. Heneicosapentaenoic acid (HPA).
  6. Docosapentaenoic acid (DPA).
  7. Tetracosapentaenoic acid.
  8. Tetracosahexaenoic acid.

These fatty acids are found in some foods, but are not considered essential. However, some of of them do have biological effects.

Bottom Line: At least 8 other omega-3 fatty acids have been discovered. They are found in some foods and can have biological effects.

Which Omega-3 Fatty Acid is Best?

The most important omega-3 fatty acids are EPA and DHA.

EPA and DHA are mainly found in seafood, including fatty fish and algae, meat and dairy from grass-fed animals, and omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs.

If you don’t eat a lot of these foods, then omega-3 supplements can be useful.

Countries adopt UNAIDS Fast-Track Strategy to double number of people on life-saving HIV treatment by 2020

An estimated 15.8 million people are now on HIV treatment, a doubling from five years ago, as countries adopt the UNAIDS Fast-Track Strategy using data to fine-tune delivery of HIV prevention and treatment services to reach people being left behind

GENEVA, 24 November 2015—Ahead of World AIDS Day 2015, UNAIDS has released a new reportshowing that countries are getting on the Fast-Track to end AIDS by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. By adapting to a changing global environment and maximizing innovations, countries are seeing greater efficiencies and better results.

Progress in responding to HIV over the past 15 years has been extraordinary. By June 2015, UNAIDS estimates that 15.8 million people were accessing antiretroviral therapy, compared to 7.5 million people in 2010 and 2.2 million people in 2005. At the end of 2014, UNAIDS estimates that new HIV infections had fallen by 35% since the peak in 2000 and AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 42% since the 2004 peak.

“Every five years we have more than doubled the number of people on life-saving treatment,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “We need to do it just one more time to break the AIDS epidemic and keep it from rebounding.”

The life-changing benefits of antiretroviral therapy mean that people living with HIV are living longer, healthier lives, which has contributed to an increase in the global number of people living with HIV. At the end of 2014, UNAIDS estimates that 36.9 million people were living with HIV. Once diagnosed, people need immediate access to antiretroviral therapy.

Countries are gearing up to double the number of people accessing HIV treatment by 2020. This Fast-Track approach will be instrumental in achieving the UNAIDS 90–90–90 treatment target of ensuring that 90% of people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90% of people who know their HIV-positive status are on treatment and 90% of people on treatment have supressed viral loads.

“Today, we have more HIV prevention options than ever before. And with better data, we can become better match makers, finding the right prevention options for the right people,” said Mr Sidibé.

To end AIDS as a public health threat, an accelerated and more focused response is needed using better data to map and reach people in the places where the most new HIV infections occur. To support countries with this approach, UNAIDS has released a new report, Focus on location and population: on the Fast-Track to end AIDS by 2030, which gives examples of more than 50 communities, cities and countries that are using innovative approaches to reach more people with comprehensive HIV prevention and treatment services.

Through the responsible use of detailed national data sets, countries are able to focus at a more granular level, mapping where new HIV infections occur and where people need services most.  The report demonstrates how countries can redistribute resources to improve access to HIV prevention and treatment services. With the Fast-Track approach and front-loaded investments, gaps are closed faster and resources go further and from 2020 annual resource needs will begin to fall.

The report highlights how high-impact HIV prevention and treatment programmes, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis, voluntary medical male circumcision and sexual and reproductive health services, are being successfully implemented in various locations and for different populations, including adolescent girls and young women and their partners, pregnant women living with HIV, sex workers, transgender people, gay men and other men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs.

Examples of high-impact programmes are:

  • A nationwide mapping in Kenya has helped to reach more female sex workers with a comprehensive package of HIV services and reduce the number new HIV infections among sex workers. Most dramatic has been the reduction in the incidence of sexually transmitted infections, from 27% among people screened in 2013 to just 3% in 2015.
  • In Botswana, a policy change increased access to secondary school. Each additional year of secondary education was shown to reduce the cumulative risk of acquiring HIV by 8.1 percentage points.
  • In the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2002–2003 only one prison provided methadone for just 100 prisoners dependent on opioids. By 2009, however, 142 prisons across all 30 provinces offered this vital harm reduction service, reaching 25 000 prisoners.
  • A quarter of El Salvador’s transgender people live in the capital, San Salvador. In 2014, community centres were established in the country’s three largest cities to provide a comprehensive package of HIV prevention and health-care services tailored to the specific needs of this highly marginalized population. Within the first six months of 2015, these specialist services had reached a quarter of San Salvador’s transgender population.

These innovative programmes use national and subnational data and local knowledge from populations at higher risk of HIV to direct tailored HIV and related services to reach the people currently being left behind, resulting in greater impact at lower cost.

  • Since July 2014 the community organization Colectivo Amigos contra el SIDA (CAS) has provided comprehensive HIV services in Guatemala City that are promoted on popular social networking websites and gay dating apps. The services are then provided through outreach activities in popular meeting places, such as parks, pedestrian walkways, saunas and nightclubs. These efforts have increased the reach of HIV prevention services by 61%, and the number of people tested increased by 32%. However, the map shows that coverage of services is still very low in many parts of the city.
  • In the Blantyre district of Malawi, self-test kits were provided to 16 000 residents. Some 76% of residents self-tested and shared their results with a volunteer counsellor within one year.
  • In 2012 and 2013, health facilities in Guangxi, China, began offering immediate initiation of antiretroviral therapy following diagnosis of HIV. As a result, the average time between diagnosis of HIV and initiation of treatment plummeted from 53 days to five days. Mortality also fell by approximately two thirds, from 27% to 10% during that same time period.
  • Rwanda has integrated programmes to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV into maternal, neonatal and child health services and by 2014 had reduced new HIV infections among children by 88% compared to 2009.

In the report UNAIDS identifies 35 Fast-Track countries that account for 90% of new HIV infections. Focusing on location and population and programmes that deliver the greatest impact will reap huge benefits by 2030: 21 million AIDS-related deaths averted; 28 million new HIV infections averted; and 5.9 million new infections among children averted.

“Everyone has the right to a long and healthy life,” said Mr Sidibé. “We must take HIV services to the people who are most affected, and ensure that these services are delivered in a safe, respectful environment with dignity and free from discrimination.”

The report shows that areas with fewer numbers of people living with HIV and lower HIV prevalence are more likely to have discriminatory attitudes than areas that have more cases of HIV. This seemingly contradictory result is explained by education and understanding about HIV usually being higher in countries where HIV is more prevalent and where more people are receiving treatment. However, these discriminatory attitudes make it more difficult for people in low-prevalence areas to come forward to seek HIV services for fear of stigma and reprisals.

Adopting the UNAIDS Fast-Track approach through strong leadership and investment within the communities, cities and countries most affected, the AIDS epidemic can be ended by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.

  In 2014/2015 an estimated:15.8 million people were accessing antiretroviral therapy (June 2015)

36.9 million [34.3 million–41.4 million] people globally were living with HIV (end 2014)

2 million [1.9 million–2.2 million] people became newly infected with HIV (end 2014)

1.2 million [980 000–1.6 million] people died from AIDS-related illnesses (end 2014)


Read the publication on ISSUU


The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter andInstagram.


  • 15.8 million people accessing antiretroviral therapy (June 2015)
  • 36.9 million [34.3 million–41.4 million] people globally were living with HIV (end 2014)
  • 2 million [1.9 million–2.2 million] people became newly infected with HIV (end 2014)
  • 1.2 million [980 000–1.6 million] people died from AIDS-related illnesses (end 2014)

People living with HIV accessing antiretroviral therapy

  • As of June 2015, 15.8 million people living with HIV were accessing antiretroviral therapy, up from 13.6 million in June 2014.
    • 41% [38%-46%] of all adults living with HIV were accessing treatment in 2014, up from 23% [21%-24%] in 2010.
    • 32% [30%-34%] of all children living with HIV were accessing treatment in 2014, up from 14% [13%-15%] in 2010.
    • 73% [68%-79%] of pregnant women living with HIV had access to antiretroviral medicines to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies in 2014; new HIV infections among children were reduced by 58% from 2000 to 2014.

People living with HIV

  • In 2014, there were 36.9 million [34.3 million–41.4 million] people living with HIV.
    • Since 2000, around 38.1 million people have become infected with HIV and 25.3 million people have died of AIDS-related illnesses.

New HIV infections

  • New HIV infections have fallen by 35% since 2000.
    • Worldwide, 2 million [1.9 million–2.2 million] people became newly infected with HIV in 2014, down from 3.1 million [3.0 million–3.3 million] in 2000.
  • New HIV infections among children have declined by 58% since 2000.
    • Worldwide, 220 000 [190 000–260 000] children became newly infected with HIV in 2014, down from 520 000 [470 000–580 000] in 2000.

AIDS-related deaths

  • AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 42% since the peak in 2004.
    • In 2014, 1.2 million [980 000–1.6 million] people died from AIDS-related causes worldwide compared to 2 million [1.7 million–2.7 million] in 2005.


  • Tuberculosis-related deaths in people living with HIV have fallen by 32% since 2004.
    • Tuberculosis remains the leading cause of death among people living with HIV, accounting for around one in three AIDS-related deaths.
    • In 2014, the percentage of identified HIV-positive tuberculosis patients who started or continued on antiretroviral treatment reached 77%.


  • The world appears to be within reach of achieving the investment target in the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS, which called on the global community to mobilize between US$ 22 billion and US$ 24 billion in low- and middle-income countries for the AIDS response by 2015.
  • At the end of 2014, US$ 20.2 billion was invested in the AIDS response in low-and middle-income countries.
  • Domestic resources constituted 57% of the total resources available for AIDS in low- and middle-income countries in 2014.
  • Between 2009 and 2014, 84 out of 121 low- and middle income countries increased their domestic spending on AIDS. Of these countries, 46 reported an increase of more than 50%, including 35 countries which reported an increase in domestic spending of more than 100%.
  • 44 low- and middle income countries looked to international donors for 75% or more of their AIDS financing needs.
  • UNAIDS estimates that US$ 31.1 billion will be required for the AIDS response in 2020, with US$ 29.3 billion required in 2030.

Download the full version to view regional statistics, global HIV trends in 2014, regional HIV data in 2014, regional antiretroviral therapy in 2014


Dear all my blog readers, followers and subscribers,

best thanksgiving pics peanuts-thanksgiving-730x444 12 - Copy

Today is a beautiful day. A day when we are reminded to focus on the things, people and
experiences, we love and appreciate. By filling our hearts with love and gratitude, and
by looking all around us, it seems as though the world has become a more beautiful

This is the power of Thankfulness!

When we look for things to appreciate, for reasons to be thankful, the way we look at the
world around us changes, and the things that once looked so dark and gray, now seem
to be so full of life and color…

Life is a wonderful and precious gift. And if we could treat each day as if it were
Thanksgiving Day, we would all realize how wonderful it is to walk this Earth.

And this is my wish for you. I wish you’ll learn how to treat each day as if it were
special – with love, gratitude and appreciation. And I wish you a Happy

Big hug! :)





New Type 1 diabetes treatment restores production of insulin.

  • Type 1 diabetes is a condition where the immune system attacks insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, stopping them producing the hormone
  • Experts found injecting immune cells into the body protects the pancreas
  • Treatment restored the production of insulin for a year and was safe
  • Could end need for injections and prevent the disease from progressing

Millions of people with Type 1 diabetes may be freed from injecting themselves with insulin every day after a breakthrough discovery.

Scientists have found that injecting billions of immune cells into the body restores the production of the hormone, which breaks down sugar in the blood.

Experts said the treatment, which lasted for a year, could be a ‘game-changer’ for people with the disease.

Millions of people with Type 1 diabetes may be freed from inject themselves with insulin every day, scientists claim. They found injecting billions of immune cells into the body restores the production of the hormone 

Millions of people with Type 1 diabetes may be freed from inject themselves with insulin every day, scientists claim. They found injecting billions of immune cells into the body restores the production of the hormone

Diabetes is a life-long health condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly.

Insulin is the hormone secreted by cells in the pancreas which breaks down sugar in the blood.

Healthy people have millions of ‘T-reg’ cells which stop the body’s immune system attacking these insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

However, people with Type 1 diabetes do not have enough T-reg cells to protect the pancreas, and so it is attacked and stops making enough insulin.

Everyone diagnosed with Type 1 is treated with insulin, and the majority inject themselves with insulin multiple times daily.

Now, Californian researchers have found that T-reg cells can be removed from the body and increased by 1,500 times in a laboratory, the Telegraph reports.

Then, they can be put back into the bloodstream and will function normally to protect the insulin-producing cells.

A trial of 14 people found the treatment is safe – and lasts up to 12 months.

The people in the study were aged between 18 and 43 and had recently been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

Doctors removed around two cups of blood containing two to four million T-reg cells.

These were separated from other cells and allowed to replicate in a laboratory, before being infused back into the blood.

 Insulin is the hormone secreted by cells in the pancreas (pictured) which breaks down sugar in the blood. People with type 1 diabetes stop making insulin as the body's immune system attacks cells in the pancreas

 Insulin is the hormone secreted by cells in the pancreas (pictured) which breaks down sugar in the blood. People with type 1 diabetes stop making insulin as the body’s immune system attacks cells in the pancreas

A quarter were found to be there after 12 months, and they were able to protect the pancreas so it could continue to produce insulin.

Professor Jeffrey Bluestone, of the University of California San Francisco, told The Telegraph: ‘This could be a game-changer.

‘By using T-regs to “re-educate” the immune system, we may be able to really change the course of this disease.

This could be a game-changer
Professor Jeffrey Bluestone, of the University of California San Francisco

‘We expect T-regs to be an important part of diabetes therapy in the future.’

The therapy could stop the need from regular insulin injections.

It could also stop the disease from progressing, leading to organ damage, blindness and limb amputations.

The team added that the treatment could be developed in future to help people with other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

It may even help people with cardiovascular disease, neurological disease and obesity.

The research was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Commenting on the study, Alasdair Rankin, of Diabetes UK, said: ‘Regulating the immune system in people with Type 1 diabetes to stop insulin producing cells being killed is an important part of research towards a cure.

‘The clinical study described today is exciting early research, but it will be some time before we know if it will become an effective treatment.’


Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 develops when the insulin-producing cells in the body have been destroyed, leaving the body unable to produce any insulin at all.

Everyone diagnosed with Type 1 is treated with insulin.

Scientists don’t know why the insulin-producing cells are destroyed in people with the condition.

All those diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes are treated with insulin, pictured

All those diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes are treated with insulin, pictured

It is thought to be caused by an abnormal, autoimmune, reaction to the cells, which could be triggered by a virus or other infection.

Experts believe there is a genetic element to Type 1 diabetes.

It is more common in some parts of the world than others.

Unlike Type 2, Type 1 diabetes has nothing to do with lifestyle or weight.

The condition can develop at any age, but is usually diagnosed before the age of 40, most commonly in late childhood.

Around 10 per cent of the 3.5 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK have Type 1.

Type 2 diabetes

The condition develops when the body is still able to make insulin, but not enough.

It also develops when the insulin that is produced by the body does not work properly – known as insulin resistance.

Initially, Type 2 diabetes can be controlled with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Being obese or overweight is the biggest risk factor for developing Type 2 diabetes

Being obese or overweight is the biggest risk factor for developing Type 2 diabetes

Medication is also often required and a large number of sufferers eventually progress to needing insulin.

People who are overweight and have a large waist, are more likely to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes – it is the biggest risk factor.

Those who have a close relative with the condition, or who are from a black or South Asian background are also at increased risk.

The condition usually affects those aged over 40, but people from South Asia are commonly affected from the age of 25.

Around 90 per cent of the 3.5 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK have Type 2.

In addition, there are 549,000 people who have Type 2 diabetes but don’t know they have it because they haven’t been diagnosed.