How to Get a Job As a Teen

Sometimes, an allowance just isn’t enough. If you need some more pocket money to catch the latest movies, take out your new girlfriend/boyfriend, or just to start saving up, you might have to get a job. It can be difficult to get one when you are a teenager, but not impossible. As a teenager, you’re starting out brand new, and although most companies do request experience, the key to getting “THE” job is to sell yourself.

Start researching.

  • Find organizations and other places that you know pay teens to work. Good places to check are government departments and nonprofit organizations such as city park and recreation departments, zoos, museums, camps, and hospitals.
  • Don’t go out looking to be executive director of any job. Start out small and easy, retail and food industry jobs are probably the easiest to obtain.

Get the word out. You can post flyers in your neighborhood detailing jobs that you can do, such as lawn mowing, babysitting etc. You can also post your information on a website or job board, but beware of giving out personal information until you trust the other person. Post 3 x 5 cards at local stores and other places with notice-boards telling of the services you’re willing to do.

Use your connections. Talk to friends and family about any paying jobs they might know of, and follow through.

Volunteer . Sometimes, the best way to get a paying job is to begin as a volunteer and work your way up. You may have to give some of your time for free to make money in the long run. Treat your volunteer work as if it were a paying job — get there on time, call as soon as you know you can’t come in or are going to be late. Listen and learn about the organization. Do such a good job they learn to rely on you.

Make a resume . Even if most jobs you apply for don’t ask for a resume, it’s a good exercise, and it’s useful to have your work history and education details all written out in one place. It makes filling out applications much easier.

Apply early! The most important key to getting jobs with these places is to apply as soon as you hear about jobs. .

Go to an interview . One of the most often asked questions is: Why do you feel you are qualified for this job? Let them know how positive you are, always willing to help out, and go out of your way for special requests. When asked any experience you may have; Well now you have phone experience, can you dial numbers without really looking at the keypad or even better are you good with a calculator? That’s 10 key (depending on how fast and the job needs this is a good thing to include in your Job experience) Do you know how to use a computer? How about the Internet, Word, Outlook or email? Do you know how to use a fax machine, copy machine? Can you file, sort by alphabetical order, name order, date order. Believe it or not it’s all relevant and sometimes even as a mailroom attendant that’s all you need

Increase your earnings. After working at the entry level position for a few summers or after school, you will the have the experience to work at a higher level once you are out of high school. This can help you pay your way through college, and you can practically guarantee you’ll always have a vacation  job.

Tips

  • If you are called, be available and open to any job and/or time, and you will see how fast you can get a job. If your school schedule conflicts, be honest, let them know there is a conflict or that you have certain times of availability. There are a lot of employers whom are very understanding of special needs or situations.
  • Try to get a job in something that you are interested in, as it may help you get a career later in life, or count as experience when applying to college.
  • Once you’ve done good work for someone, ask if you can use them as a reference for future jobs.
  • Jobs are now harder to get thanks to the current economy, jobs traditionally held by teenagers are now being used by the unemployed as “fallback jobs”.
  • Demonstrate your skills. If you are a good worker, you will have a greater chance of being hired because they already know your work, they aren’t just reading someone’s application. You can show organizations that you are a good worker through volunteering or through references.
  • Take initiative. some  agencies and organizations get grants to hire teens after school. Even if they typically hire kids who are already volunteering for them, you never know. Contact them to find out what is available.

Warnings

  • If you get a job at someone’s house, always tell your parents where you are going to be, better yet, have them drop you off and meet the person. Trust your gut… if something doesn’t feel right, leave. If something happens to you, get some help.
  • Never talk about your life to your boss.
  • Do not expect to get paid for doing nothing- you must be prepared to earn your cash.
  • Check your local child labor laws. It could be that you are not formally allowed to work..

5 Reasons Why Teenagers Should Have an After-School Job

When your children become teenagers it’s time to start considering an after-school job. Not all parents feel that their teenagers should have to get a job, but it could be in their best interest to have a job, whether they need the money or not.

1-Responsibility- All teens need to learn about responsibility. When your teen has a job they are responsible for getting themselves to work on time (or arranging transportation via you or a friend), doing their job correctly while they are there and making sure that they can continue to keep up with their schoolwork. Having an after-school job is a fantastic way to teach your teenager about responsibility.

2-Money Management- All teenagers love the idea of having their own money, that’s why they always seem to have their hands out when you walk by them. By allowing your teenager to have an after-school job you are allowing them to learn a little bit about money management. If they are saving up for their first car they will have to manage how much money they can allow themselves to spend, as well as how much they should save out of each week’s paycheck in order to reach their goal. Your teenager will quickly realize that they can’t spend every coin  that they make if they want to have the something special that they are saving up for. Not to mention, you can’t spend all of your paycheck on Friday night if you are going out on Saturday too.

3-A Taste of the Real World- While having an after-school job at garage  may not feel like the “real world” to the parents, it certainly does for your teenager. Having an after-school job will give your teenager a taste of what life would be like when they are grown and they have to be a responsible employee, no matter where they work. Your teen will have to figure out how to pay their “bills” while having a little spending money. Your teen will have to find a place to cash their paycheck each week and even how to manage a bank account, if you allow them to have one.

4-A Job Keeps Them Out of Trouble- You are probably saying “Teens will get into trouble whether they have a job or not”. You are right, but it is less likely that your teenager will get into trouble if they are working five evenings a week, especially if you give them a curfew for after work. Depending on how long the drive from work to home is, you could allow your teen an extra 30 minutes to 1 hour to get home after work. This will insure that they won’t feel rushed but that they should still get home on time. Of course, if you are taking your teenager to and from work everyday you won’t have to worry about them getting home by curfew. We all know that teenagers like to stay up late at night and then sleep late the next morning. Try to make sure that your teenager is getting home from work early enough in the evening so as to not affect their morning wake-up time for school.

5-Hardwork is Good for Them- You know the saying, “a little hard work never hurt anyone”. I completely agree with that saying, especially when it comes to a teenager having an after-school job. There is no reason  why  teens  shouldn’t have some sort of job, either after-school, on the weekends or just during their  vacation. It’s a good idea to show your teenager that hardwork is what it takes to accomplish everything in their life. They can’t learn the meaning of hardwork if everything is handed to them. What will they expect when they are out on their own if they have never had to work hard for what they wanted?

In the end, it is a good idea for all teenagers to have an after-school job. If they aren’t able to handle a job after school then they should definitely have a  job when school is out. All teenagers, no matter what their parents’ financial situation, should have a job. They will need the practice and experience before they do get out into the real world.

There are far too many teenagers in the world today that expect things to be handed to them on a silver platter. Hardwork? What’s hardwork? Teach your teenagers that life is what you make of it. I don’t mean to sound mean ,  but every parent should make their kids to do  an after-school job so they can buy things for themselves . Show your teenager what it means to be a responsible human being in the world today and they will thank you for it in the future

Communication Skills

The ability to communicate effectively with superiors, colleagues, and staff is essential, no matter what industry you work in. Workers in the digital age must know how to effectively convey and receive messages in person as well as via phone, email, and social media.

Here are the top 10 communication skills that will make you stand out in today’s job market.

Listening Being a good listener is one of the best ways to be a good communicator. No one likes communicating with someone who only cares about putting in her two cents, and does not take the time to listen to the other person. Instead, practice active listening. Active listening involves paying close attention to what the other person is saying, asking clarifying questions, and rephrasing what the person says to ensure understanding (“So, what you’re saying is…”). Through active listening, you can better understand what the other person is trying to say, and can respond appropriately.

Nonverbal Communication Your body language, eye contact, hand gestures, and tone all color the message you are trying to convey. A relaxed, open stance (arms open, legs relaxed), and a friendly tone will make you appear approachable, and will encourage others to speak openly with you. Eye contact is also important; you want to look the person in the eye to demonstrate that you are focused on the person and the conversation (however, be sure not to stare at the person, which can make him or her uncomfortable).

Also pay attention to other people’s nonverbal signals while you are talking. Often, nonverbal signals convey how a person is really feeling. For example, if the person is not looking you in the eye, he or she might be uncomfortable or hiding the truth.

Clarity and Concision Try to convey your message in as few words as possible. Say what you want clearly and directly, whether you’re speaking to someone in person, on the phone, or via email. If you ramble on, your listener will either tune you out or will be unsure of exactly what you want. Think about what you want to say before you say it; this will help you to avoid talking excessively and/or confusing your audience.

Friendliness Through a friendly tone, a personal question, or simply a smile, you will encourage your coworkers to engage in open and honest communication with you. This is important in both face-to-face and written communication. When you can, personalize your emails to coworkers and/or employees – a quick “I hope you all had a good weekend” at the start of an email can personalize a message and make the recipient feel more appreciated.

Confidence It is important to be confident in all of your interactions with others. Confidence ensures your coworkers that you believe in and will follow through with what you are saying. Exuding confidence can be as simple as making eye contact or using a firm but friendly tone (avoid making statements sound like questions). Of course, be careful not to sound arrogant or aggressive. Be sure you are always listening to and empathizing with the other person.

Empathy Even when you disagree with an employer, coworker, or employee, it is important for you to understand and respect their point of view. Using phrases as simple as “I understand where you are coming from” demonstrate that you have been listening to the other person and respect their opinions.

Open-mindedness A good communicator should enter any conversation with a flexible, open mind. Be open to listening to and understanding the other person’s point of view, rather than simply getting your message across. By being willing to enter into a dialogue, even with people with whom you disagree, you will be able to have more honest, productive conversations.

Respect People will be more open to communicating with you if you convey respect for them and their ideas. Simple actions like using a person’s name, making eye contact, and actively listening when a person speaks will make the person feel appreciated. On the phone, avoid distractions and stay focused on the conversation.

Convey respect through email by taking the time to edit your message. If you send a sloppily written, confusing email, the recipient will think you do not respect her enough to think through your communication with her.

Feedback Being able to appropriately give and receive feedback is an important communication skill. Managers and supervisors should continuously look for ways to provide employees with constructive feedback, be it through email, phone calls, or weekly status updates. Giving feedback involves giving praise as well – something as simple as saying “good job” to an employee can greatly increase motivation.

Similarly, you should be able to accept, and even encourage, feedback from others. Listen to the feedback you are given, ask clarifying questions if you are unsure of the issue, and make efforts to implement the feedback.

Picking the Right Medium An important communication skill is to simply know what form of communication to use. For example, some serious conversations (layoffs, changes in salary, etc.) are almost always best done in person. You should also think about the person with whom you wish to speak – if they are very busy people (such as your boss, perhaps), you might want to convey your message through email. People will appreciate your thoughtful means of communication, and will be more likely to respond positively to you.

Child labour

Child labour refers to the employment of children in any work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful. This practice is considered exploitative by many international organisations. Legislations across the world prohibit child labour.These laws do not consider all work by children as child labour; exceptions include work by child artists and supervised training.

In developing countries, with high poverty and poor schooling opportunities, child labour is still prevalent.

Causes of child labour

Primary causes

International Labour Organisation (ILO) suggests poverty is the greatest single cause behind child labour.For impoverished households, income from a child’s work is usually crucial for his or her own survival or for that of the household. Income from working children, even if small, may be between 25 to 40% of these household income.

Lack of meaningful alternatives, such as affordable schools and quality education, according to ILO,is another major factor driving children to harmful labour. Children work because they have nothing better to do. Many communities, particularly rural areas where between 60-70% of child labour is prevalent, do not possess adequate school facilities. Even when schools are sometimes available, they are too far away, difficult to reach, unaffordable or the quality of education is so poor that parents wonder if going to school is really worth it.

Child Construction Worker

Cultural causes

In European history when child labour was common, as well as in contemporary child labour of modern world, certain cultural beliefs have rationalised child labour and thereby encouraged it. Some view that work is good for the character-building and skill development of children. In many cultures, particular where informal economy and small household businesses thrive, the cultural tradition is that children follow in their parents’ footsteps; child labour then is a means to learn and practice that trade from a very early age. Similarly, in many cultures the education of girls is less valued or girls are simply not expected to need formal schooling, and these girls pushed into child labour such as providing domestic services.

Child labour in picture.

Child living in Misery

Agriculture deploys 70% of the world’s child labour.[ Above, child worker on a rice farm in Vietnam.

Macroeconomic causes

Biggeri and Mehrotra have studied the macroeconomic factors that encourage child labour. They focus their study on five Asian nations including India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines. They suggestthat child labour is a serious problem in all five, but it is not a new problem. Macroeconomic causes encouraged widespread child labour across the world, over most of human history. They suggest that the causes for child labour include both the demand and the supply side. While poverty and unavailability of good schools explain the child labour supply side, they suggest that the growth of low paying informal economy rather than higher paying formal economy is amongst the causes of the demand side. Other scholars too suggest that inflexible labour market, sise of informal economy, inability of industries to scale up and lack of modern manufacturing technologies are major macroeconomic factors affecting demand and acceptability of child labour.Girl Child Working

 

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Rolihlahla (Madiba) Mandela

Nelson Rolihlahla (Madiba) Mandela is an amazing man who changed history in South Africa and brought democracy to the nation. Nelson Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 at Qunu, near Umtata in South Africa. His father was the Chief Councillor to the Superior Chief of the Thembu. As a young boy, he was being prepared to take over as the Chief of the Thembu. With the death of his father in 1930, he was placed under the care of his guardian and cousin, David Dalindyebo, the acting Chief of the Thembu.
While at home, a prepared marriage was being set up for him. To avoid getting married, Mandela and his cousin Justice moved to Johannesburg where he worked temporarily as a night watchman as he wanted to be a lawyer.In Johannesburg, Mandela met Walter Sisulu who assisted him in finding employment as articled clerk with a legal firm. When he completed his BA degree by correspondence in 1941, Mandela enrolled at the University of the Witwatersrand for an LLB.

The ANC (African National Congress)

Together with Walter Sisulu and Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela helped in founding the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) in 1944. By 1948 he was holding the position of National Secretary. In 1949 the African National Congress (ANC) supported the ‘Programme of Action’ handed in at their annual conference. The more radical members such as Mandela and Sisulu were elected to the program.
Mandela and Sisulu did not trust other racial groups, but Mandela’s views changed during the 1952 Defiance Campaign. Mandela was made the National ‘Volunteer-in-chief’ of the Defiance Campaign. As part of his duties he moved around South Africa signing up volunteers who were prepared to break apartheid laws. As their first sign of defiance against Apartheid, Mandela and 51 volunteers started breaking the curfew rules.In December 1952, Mandela and Oliver Tambo opened the first Black legal partnership in the country. In the same month, Mandela and some other activists were charted under the Suppression of Communism Act. Mandela was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment with hard labour, suspended for two years.
Over a period of nine years he was put under banning orders. In this time he was also made the Deputy National President of the ANC. Even though he was not allowed to attend the meetings of the ANC, he worked with small groups of the ANC members. Nelson Mandela played a major role in the constructing of the ‘M Plan’ (named after him). The plan formulated the grouping of ANC members to cope with underground activity. Renewed bans made it imperative for Madiba to resign from the ANC in September 1953. From that point Madiba had to lead secretly, except during the year of the Treason Trial.In December 1956 Mandela and 155 political activists were arrested and charged with High Treason. Almost five years later, Justice Rumpff found all of the accused not guilty. In the late 1950s Mandela became National President of the ANC Youth League. By 1959 the treason trial was still in progress. In the same year, the ANC planned an anti-pass laws campaign. The campaign was displaced when the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), arranged mass anti-pass protests on 21 March 1960.
During one of the protests, the Sharpeville massacre occurred. This resulted with the banning of the ANC and the PAC and the government declared a state of emergency. During the time period of the emergency up 1 800 political activists, including Mandela, were imprisoned without charge or trial.In March 1961 an All-In Africa Conference was held in Pietermaritzburg. Various political groups came together. The banning order on Mandela expired on the eve of the conference, allowing him to make a surprise appearance. Subsequently he was placed as the Honorary Secretary of the All-In National Action Council. Mandela and the Council decided to arrange demonstrations against the proclamation of South Africa as a Republic on 31 May.
They wanted to arrange for a three day stay-at-home strike on 29, 30 and 31 May 1961. Mandela had to go underground, to avoid arrest. Mandela and Walter Sisulu travelled the country in secret arranging the specifics of the strike. Mandela (nicknamed the Black Pimpernel at the time) was a fugitive for almost a year and a half. After large police roll-out on the strikers, Mandela called the strike off on the second day.During this time, he and some of his colleagues decided that violence in South Africa was inevitable, and that African leaders could not continue their non-violence policy when the government met human rights demands with violence and force. The decision to form MK (Umkhonto we Sizwe – the Spear of the Nation), was not by the ANC, but certain people in the ANC decided to create it. Nelson Mandela was MK’s first commander-in-Chief.

The Imprisonment of Nelson Mandela

In 1962 Mandela crossed the border in secret to make a surprise appearance at the Pan-African Freedom Movement Conference in Addis Ababa. He explained to the conference why Umkhonto we Sizwe had to make their initial attacks. On his trip, he got guerrilla training in Algeria and travelled to London where he met with leaders of British opposition parties. When Mandela returned to South Africa, he was captured on 5 August near Howick in Natal. Mandela was tried in Pretoria’s Old Synagogue and in November 1962 sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for incitement and illegally leaving the country. He began this sentence in Pretoria Central Prison.While Mandela was in prison, police raided the underground headquarters of the ANC at Lilliesleaf Farm in Rivonia, arresting members like, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Ahmed Kathrada, Dennis Goldberg and Lionel Bernstein. Police found documents relating to the manufacture of explosives, Mandela’s diary of his African tour and copies of a draft memorandum – ‘Operation Mayibuye’ – which outlined a possible strategy of guerrilla struggle.
In October 1963 Mandela was brought from jail to join the other eight accused on trial for sabotage, conspiracy to overthrow the government by revolution, and assisting an armed invasion of South Africa by foreign troops. Mandela’s statement from the dock was, “I am Prepared to Die” which received worldwide publicity.On 12 June 1964, all of the accused were sentenced to life imprisonment. The following evening Nelson Mandela was flown to Cape Town en route to Robben Island Prison where he was held until April 1982, when he was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison near Cape Town. A massive ‘Release Mandela Campaign’ was launched in 1982, in South Africa and abroad. A lot of foreign countries put pressure on the South African government to release Mandela, who at that point was the world’s most famous political prisoner.
From July 1986 Mandela was in contact with government members, initially with the Minister of Justice Kobie Coetzee, and then with the Minister of Constitutional Development, Gerrit Viljoen. Eventually he had a meeting with the State President PW Botha in July 1989 at Tuynhuys. In December 1989 he met the new state president, FW de Klerk.

Mandela’s Release

On 2 February 1990, State President De Klerk announced the unbanning of the ANC and other political parties during his opening speech to Parliament. Mandela was released from prison on 11 February 1990. Mandela immediately addressed mass rallies in Cape Town, Soweto and Durban which drew hundreds of thousands of people.

Up to 1994

The years following up to 1994 were very busy. Nelson Mandela travelled South Africa and parts of the World, meeting up with important members of government and the ANC. He started with a trip to Lusaka to meet the ANC’s Executive Committee in March 1990.
Mandela then visited the ANC President – Oliver Tambo in Sweden, but had to end the trip early with the growing unrest within South Africa. In May 1990, Mandela headed the ANC delegation, which held talks with South African government representatives at Groote Schuur. In June, Mandela embarked on his six week tour of Europe, the United Kingdom, North America and Africa. He received recognition wherever he went.During 1992, Mandela continued his programme of extensive international travel, visiting Tunisia, Libya and Morocco. He and the State President – FW De Klerk jointly accepted the Unesco Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize in Paris on 3 February. At the same time the two men attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
On 13 April 1992, Mandela called a press conference at which he stated that he and his wife, Winnie, had agreed to separate as a result of differences, which had arisen between them in recent months.
Mandela indicated in September 1992 that he was prepared to meet De Klerk on condition that he would ban of the public display of dangerous weapons and release the political prisoners. They met at the end of the month and these bi-lateral talks resulted in the signing of a Record of Understanding by the two leaders, which enabled negotiations to be resumed.

Presidential Elections

In September 1993, Mandela visited America and urged world business leaders to lift economic sanctions on South Africa. During the latter half of 1993 and early 1994 Mandela campaigned on behalf of the ANC for the 1994 elections and addressed a large number of rallies and people’s forums. In 1994, the first general elections were held, for all members of the public to vote no matter their race denomination.
On 9 May 1994, Mandela was elected as the State President of South Africa. His presidential inauguration took place the next day at the Union Buildings in Pretoria and was attended by the largest gathering of international leaders ever in South Africa.
During his inauguration speech, Mandela called for a ‘time of healing’ and stated that his government would not allow any sort of discrimination. Mandela promised to create a society in which all South Africans could walk tall without fear.
In 1999 Mandela retired from active political duty. He still works with health and educational issues through the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.

Rest in Peace Nelson Mandela.

Rest  in peace Papa Nelson Mandela. If all African leaders can be like you then Africa would be a better place for us all to live. Unfortunately most of them are very greedy. You fought for the rights of the voiceless. Even after spending so many years in prison ,you only stayed in power for just 5 years with all the sacrifice you put in anyone could have thought you would stay In power for ever  and I am sure the south Africans would still have voted you no matter what because they would have thought that you deserved it but the gentleman you was knew that every one deserves a chance hence reason you spent so many years in prison. Papa good people do not die. You are just resting and your legacy will live on. Rest in peace Madiba.

why parents choose courses for their children

Every parent wants the  best for their children. Parents often help children to make the right  choices in many aspects of life. But what happens when a parent decides  what career path his or her child should take?

children who have been pushed into doing a course or pursuing a career  they are not interested in, have limited chances of succeeding both at  school and in the professional world.
“Do not force a child to do  a course they are not interested in. You are likely to regret this when  the child does not succeed and puts the blame on you,”

“Sit down and listen to the child and find out why they are opposing the idea and reach an agreement.”
Parents should ask themselves whether the child has the potential to do what they want them to do.
With a mismatch in the career, the productivity of such an  individual is likely to be low.
“Motivating a person who is in a  profession they did not choose is hard. Such people’s concentration at  work is very low. They may not be as innovative as a person who likes  their career,”
Forcing a child into a profession is identity persecution.  One is denied a chance to come into contact with the profession of their  choice and people that share the same calling passionately.

Such  a person’s potential in that field may never be tapped and developed.

Parents need to help children identify their unique potential and  talents right from a tender age. They should find ways of how best to  grow, protect and promote their potential.
“Some parents associate particular courses with failure. But every profession has got people with success stories.
Pushing a child into doing a course or  pursuing a career against their will is wastage of time and resources.

“Such  a child may drop the course or go ahead and graduate, but keep the  documents and start afresh in pursuing the career of their choice. Time  and money spent educating someone who will later change careers is a big  waste,”

why parent want children to follow into their footsteps.

Some parents want their  children to follow in their footsteps. If a parent is paying your school  fees and insists that you must study a course, you have to obey. I  believe much as a parent wants a child to succeed in life; they should  leave children to choose courses/careers they want.

Such  parents want the children to take on careers they associate with  success, compared to careers where workers are paid peanuts. However, I  believe such a decision is not right. If a child hates it and performs  poorly at school or work, the child will always blame the parents for  their failure in life.

Some  courses are not marketable in the country and earn little pay. There is  no parent who would want their child to become unemployed after  studying. Parents choose courses which they believe are marketable and  can help their child easily find a job.

Some  parents want children to take after them so that after school, a parent  can work with the child or find a job for the child easily in the field  where they already have connections.

How to Prevent HIV/AIDS and other STDs

There are several steps you can take to protect yourself against HIV/AIDS and other STDs:

  • Abstinence: Simply choose not to have sex.
  • Sober Sex: If you’re drinking or taking drugs, you are more apt to get into a situation where safer sex practices falter or fail altogether. If you have sex when you’re sober, you’re more likely to be safe.
  • Latex and Polyurethane Barrier Methods: Use safe sex materials such as male and female condoms, dental dams, and finger cots when engaging in sexual activity. Do not use male and female condoms at the same time!
  • Fewer Partners/Monogamy: The fewer sex partners you have, the more you reduce your risk of HIV infection.
  • Needle Exchange/Clean Your Works: Always use new, unused needles or clean your works by flushing the needle and plunger with water and bleach each time you use an intravenous drug syringe. Do not share other IV drug paraphanalia such as cookers cottons/filters, or water glasses.
  • Pregnancy: If you are HIV positive and think you may be pregnant, you should contact your doctor immediately to discuss your options. There are medications that you can take during your pregnancy to reduce your baby’s risk of being HIV positive.
  • Breastfeeding: HIV positive mothers should not nurse a child. HIV can be transmitted from mother to child via breast milk. Instead your physician will provide alternatives to nursing your baby.
  • Getting Tested: The only way to be sure of your HIV status is to get tested. With a rapid oral test, you can even get a cheek swab and get your results in as little as 20 minutes. If you test negative, your healthcare provider will provide tools that can help you remain that way. If you test positive, your healthcare provider can counsel you on methods used to prevent the spread of HIV.

What Is AIDS? What Is HIV?

AIDS (Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is a disease caused by a virus called HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). The illness alters the immune system, making people much more vulnerable to infections and diseases. This susceptibility worsens as the disease progresses.

HIV is found in the body fluids of an infected person (semen and vaginal fluids, blood and breast milk). The virus is passed from one person to another through blood-to-blood and sexual contact. In addition, infected pregnant women can pass HIV to their babies during pregnancy, delivering the baby during childbirth, and through breast feeding.

HIV can be transmitted in many ways, such as vaginal, oral sex, anal sex, blood transfusion, and contaminated hypodermic needles.

Both the virus and the disease are often referred to together as HIV/AIDS. People with HIV have what is called HIV infection. As a result, some will then develop AIDS.  The development of numerous opportunistic infections in an AIDS patient can ultimately lead to death.

According to research, the origins of HIV date back to the late nineteenth or early twentieth century in west-central Africa. AIDS and its cause, HIV, were first identified and recognized in the early 1980s.

There is currently no cure for HIV/AIDS.  Treatments can slow the course of the disease -  some infected people can live a long and relatively healthy life.

What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?

HIV is the virus which attacks the T-cells in the immune system.
AIDS is the syndrome which appears in advanced stages of HIV infection.
HIV is a virus.
AIDS is a medical condition.
HIV infection causes AIDS to develop. However, it is possible to be infected with HIV without developing AIDS. Without treatment, the HIV infection is allowed to progress and eventually it will develop into AIDS in the vast majority of cases.
HIV testing can identify infection in the early stages. This allows the patient to use prophylactic (preventive) drugs which will slow the rate at which the virus replicates, delaying the onset of AIDS.
AIDS patients still have the HIV virus and are still infectious.  Someone with AIDS can pass HIV to someone else

What are the signs and symptoms of HIV/AIDS?

What is the difference between a sign and a symptom? A sign is something other people, apart from the patient can detect, such as a swelling, rash, or change in skin color. A symptom is something only the patient feels and describes, such as a headache, fatigue, or dizziness.

For the most part, the symptoms of HIV are the result of infections caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. These conditions do not normally develop in individuals with healthy immune systems, which protect the body against infection.
Signs and symptoms of early HIV infection
Many people with HIV have no symptoms for several years. Others may develop symptoms similar to flu, usually two to six weeks after catching the virus. The symptoms can last up to four weeks.
Symptoms of early HIV infection may include:

  • fever
  • chills
  • joint pain
  • muscle ache
  • sore throat
  • sweats (particularly at night)
  • enlarged glands
  • a red rash
  • tiredness
  • weakness
  • weight loss

Asymptomatic HIV infection
In many cases, after the initial symptoms disappear, there will not be any further symptoms for many years. During this time, the virus carries on developing and damages the immune system. This process can take up to 10 years. The infected person will experience no symptoms, feel well and appear healthy.
Late-stage HIV infection
If left untreated, HIV weakens the ability to fight infection. The person becomes vulnerable to serious illnesses. This stage of infection is known as AIDS.
Signs and symptoms of late-stage HIV infection may include:

  • blurred vision
  • diarrhea,  which is usually persistent or chronic
  • dry cough
  • fever of above 37C (100F) lasting for weeks
  • night sweats
  • permanent tiredness
  • shortness of breath
  • swollen glands lasting for weeks
  • weight loss
  • white spots on the tongue or mouth

During late-stage HIV infection, the risk of developing a life-threatening illness is much greater. Examples include:

  • esophagitis(an inflammation of the lining of the lower end of the esophagus)
  • infections to the nervous system (acute aseptic meningitis, subacute encephalitis, peripheral neuropathy)
  • pneumonia
  • some cancers, such as Kaposi’s sarcoma, invasive cervical cancer, lung cancer, rectal carcinomas, hepatocellular carcinomas, head and neck cancers, cancers of the immune system known as lymphomas
  • toxoplasmosis (a disease caused by a parasite that infects the brain. It can also cause disease in the eyes and lungs)
  • tuberculosis

Life-threatening illnesses may be controlled and treated with proper HIV treatment.

What causes HIV/AIDS?

HIV is a retrovirus that infects the vital organs of the human immune system. The disease progresses in the absence of antiretroviral therapy.  The rate of disease progression varies widely between individuals and depends on many factors (age of the patient, body’s ability to defend against HIV,  access to health care, existence of coexisting infections, the infected person’s genetic inheritance, resistance to certain strains of HIV).
HIV can be transmitted through:

  • Sexual transmission. It can happen when there is contact with infected sexual secretions (rectal, genital or oral mucous membranes). This can happen while having unprotected sex, including vaginal, oral and anal sex or sharing sex toys with someone infected with HIV.
  • Perinatal transmission. The mother can pass the infection on to her child during childbirth, pregnancy, and also through breastfeeding.
  • Blood transmission. The risk of transmitting HIV through blood transfusion is nowadays extremely low in developed countries, thanks to meticulous screening and precautions. Among drug users, sharing and reusing syringes contaminated with HIV-infected blood is extremely hazardous.
    Thanks to strict protection procedures the risk of accidental infection for healthcare workers is low.
    Individuals who give and receive tattoos and piercings are also at risk and should be very careful.

Myths: There are many misconceptions about HIV and AIDS. The virus CANNOT be transmitted from:

  • shaking hands
  • hugging
  • casual kissing
  • sneezing
  • touching unbroken skin
  • using the same toilet
  • sharing towels
  • sharing cutlery
  • mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
  • or other forms of “casual contact”

How is HIV/AIDS diagnosed?

1 in every 5 HIV-positive Africans is unaware of their HIV-status, and only 49% of those who are aware receive ongoing medical care and treatment.
HIV blood test
Diagnosis is made through a blood test that screens specifically for the virus.
If the HIV virus has been found, the test result is “positive”. The blood is re-tested several times before a positive result is given to the patient.
For those whose tests came back positive, they will be asked to undergo some other tests to see how the infection has progressed, and also to decide when to start treatment.
If a person has been exposed to the virus, it is crucial that they get tested as soon as possible. The earlier HIV is detected, the more likely the treatment will be successful.  Also, precautions can be taken to prevent the virus from spreading to other people.
After infection with HIV, it can take up from three weeks to three months for the virus to show up in testing. Re- testing may be necessary.
If a patient’s most at risk moment of becoming HIV infected was within the last three months, he/she can have the test immediately. However, a good doctor will urge that another test be carried out within a few weeks.

Endometritis

Endometritis is an inflammation or irritation of the lining of the uterus (the endometrium). It is not the same as endometriosis.

Causes

Endometritis is caused by infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, tuberculosis, or mixtures of normal vaginal bacteria. Endometritis is more likely to occur after miscarriage or childbirth, especially after a long labor or c-section.

A medical procedure that involves entering the uterus through the cervix will increase the risk of developing endometritis. This includes a hysteroscopy, and placement of an intrauterine device (IUD).

Endometritis can occur at the same time as other pelvic infections such as acute salpingitis, acute cervicitis, and many sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Symptoms

  • Abdominal distention or swelling
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Discomfort with bowel movement (constipation may occur)
  • Fever (100 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling (malaise)
  • Lower abdominal or pelvic pain (uterine pain)

Exams and Tests

The health care provider will perform a physical exam and a pelvic exam. The lower abdomen may be tender. Bowel sounds may be decreased. A pelvic exam may show the uterus and cervix is tender. There may be cervical discharge.

The following tests may be performed:

  • Cultures from the cervix for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and other organisms
  • Endometrial biopsy
  • ESR (sedimentation rate)
  • Laparoscopy
  • WBC (white blood count)
  • Wet prep (microscopic exam of any discharge)

Treatment

Antibiotics are used to treat and prevent complications of endometritis. If you’ve been prescribed antibiotics following a gynecological procedure, it is very important to finish all the medication and follow up with your health care provider.

You may need to be admitted to a hospital if you have a complicated case of endometritis, such as those that involve serious symptoms, or which occur after childbirth.

Other treatments may involve:

  • Fluids through a vein (by IV)
  • Rest

Sexual partners may also need to be treated if the condition is caused by a sexually transmitted infection.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Most cases of endometritis go away with antibiotics. Untreated endometritis can lead to more serious infection and complications with pelvic organs, reproduction, and general health.

Possible Complications

  • Infertility
  • Pelvic peritonitis (generalized pelvic infection)
  • Pelvic or uterine abscess  formation
  • Septicemia
  • Septic shock

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have symptoms of endometritis.

Call immediately if you have symptoms and have recently had a baby, miscarriage, abortion, IUD placement, or any surgery involving the uterus.

Prevention

Endometritis caused by sexually transmitted infections can be prevented by:

  • Early diagnosis and complete treatment of sexually transmitted infections in yourself and all sexual partners
  • Practicing safe sex, such as using condoms

The risk of endometritis is reduced by the careful, sterile techniques used by providers when delivering a baby or performing an abortion, IUD placement, or other gynecological procedures.

Antibiotics are often givenduring a C-section, right before the surgery starts, to prevent endometritis and other surgery related infections.