October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the time of year when we all strengthen our focus on breast health for women and men. If you don’t know how to examine your own breasts, take a moment to learn. If you haven’t had your mammogram yet this year, take a moment to schedule that appointment. And if you want to talk to someone about joining one of our mobile screening events, call Ingrid Berkhout at 206.461.4493, Marilyn Calbert at 206.461.4489, or Karly Garcia at 425.226.1266 x1006.
Posted by ywcakatie on October 1, 2014
What is HIV?
To start, it is the abbreviation for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV is a virus that can only infect people and that weakens the immune system. Unlike other viruses, HIV does not clear out of the body – there is currently no cure for HIV.
According to AIDS.gov,
We know that HIV can hide for long periods of time in the cells of your body and that it attacks a key part of your immune system – your T-cells or CD4 cells. Your body has to have these cells to fight infections and disease, but HIV invades them, uses them to make more copies of itself, and then destroys them.
Over time, HIV can destroy so many of your CD4 cells that your body can’t fight infections and diseases anymore. When that happens, HIV infection can lead to AIDS, the final stage of HIV infection.
It used to be said that HIV was a “death sentence” – but nowadays, there are many options for treatment and medication, and programs throughout the United States to help patients afford medication.
Around the world, there are about 35 million people living with HIV. There are about 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States, 12,300 living in Washington state, and about 7,300 in King County. In the United States, 16% of those living with HIV don’t know they are – which means they haven’t been tested and aren’t receiving the medical treatment that will help them be healthy in the long-term. What to get tested? Click here for more info on local testing sites.
For those living with HIV, medical treatment isn’t the only way to stay healthy. Having a good relationship with a doctor, and honestly and openly discussing your health is an important part of taking care of your health. And, there are additional ways to live well.
- Manage your mental health – talk to a counselor if you’re experiencing major stress or just need to talk through some things.
- Avoid using substances like drugs and alcohol in a way that harms your health.
- Consider quitting smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products. Smoking isn’t healthy for anyone, but it also can increase your risk of co-infections if you’re living with HIV. Learn more here.
- Follow a healthy diet – talk to your doctor or a nutritionist about learning how to improve your diet. Are you getting enough veggies? What about protein?
- Keep moving! Exercise increases your strength, endurance and fitness. It helps your immune system work better to fight infections.
- Talk about family planning options with your health care provider – there are lots of options for birth control and ways to plan for having children.
- Learn about how to prepare to travel abroad.
These are just some ideas. What do you need to be healthy and live well? Make sure to talk about your goals with your doctor, and find support to help you be successful!
If you are a woman living with HIV, consider giving us a call at BABES Network-YWCA at 206.720.5566. BABES is here to support women living with HIV and their families. We’re happy to connect with you on the phone or via email. Or, you can join us at a support group or upcoming retreat. We’d love to get to know you and have you join the sisterhood!
Posted by ywcakatie on September 24, 2014
September is Disaster Preparedness Month. This is a great time to make a plan and practice it with your family so that if there is a disaster – like an earthquake, wildfire or flood – you’ll be able to be safe and prepared together.
It only takes a few steps to become more prepared.
For example – you can build an emergency supply kit that includes:
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Food, at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day, for at least 3 days, for drinking and sanitation
- Can opener for food
- Local maps
Some additional items to consider adding to your emergency kit are:
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Infant formula and diapers
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
FEMA has a full checklist available that can help you put together a solid emergency supply kit. Go through it with a family member and start setting items aside now.
And if you or a family member is living with a disability or is a senior, learn about how to enhance your plan. For example, consider how to care for any service animals or pets; talk to friends, neighbors or coworkers in case you would be in need of assistance; and include important documents in your emergency kit like copies of your social security card, medical records, and bank account information. Read more about some of these specialized tips at FEMA’s Make a Plan website.
Take the steps now to protect yourself and your family in the event of a disaster.
Posted by ywcakatie on September 17, 2014
Last Friday, BABES Network-YWCA celebrated our 25th anniversary at Stella Steps Out, our annual fundraising event. Many thanks to all who made this event a success!
To honor those we have lost over the years and to honor those who have worked and continue supporting women living with HIV, we share this video with you.
Congratulations, BABES Network, for 25 years of incredible dedication to positive women and their families!
BABES Network is a sisterhood of women facing HIV together. We reduce isolation, promote self-empowerment, enhance quality of life, and serve the needs of women facing HIV and their families through outreach, peer support, advocacy, and education.
Posted by ywcakatie on September 11, 2014
At YWCA Health Access, we believe that access to health care is a right, and that an important component of health care access is having coverage.
Across the country and in Washington state, the number of people 65 and over is growing. The 65+ population in Washington is expected to be 13.9 next year, and is expected to rise to 18.1 by 2030. As our population ages, it becomes more and more important that seniors understand the services available to them and know how to access them. Most people 65 and older have at least one medical health condition – like diabetes or high blood pressure – so it becomes especially important to receive regular health care to stay on top of these chronic conditions.
MyLocalHealthGuide.com recently published information on Medicare and what is important to know as you approach age 65. Below are some key pieces of information about Medicare. Read the full, original article here, and pass on the information to others in your life who may benefit.
Remembering the difference among Medicare plans can be difficult. Here are the different options available.
- Original Medicare (Parts A and B) is a federal insurance program that offers basic coverage for hospital care and medical expenses and no coverage for prescriptions. Beneficiaries typically must pay a premium for Part B coverage. Many find they need additional coverage for services not covered by Original Medicare.
- Medicare Supplement plans pay some of the costs that Original Medicare doesn’t cover, including deductibles and coinsurance. Beneficiaries must pay an additional premium.
- A Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP), or Medicare Part D, provides prescription drug coverage, helps lower prescription drug expenses and protects against higher costs in the future. Beneficiaries must pay an additional premium.
- Medicare Advantage (Part C) typically provides extra benefits, services and often prescription drug coverage. Beneficiaries may or may not pay an additional premium.
Did you know there are certain times when you can enroll in Medicare plans? To get coverage starting in 2015, seniors must review plan options and enroll during the window October 15-December 7, 2014. But if you are turning 65 before October, you’re able to enroll earlier in the year. There’s a special Initial Enrollment Period when you can enroll: this window includes the three months before your 65th birthday, the month of your birthday, and the three months following.
For more information about Medicare, how to enroll and other considerations, check out these resources:
- MyLocalHealthGuide.com’s Turning 65? Know your Medicare options – Guest column
- 1-800-MEDICARE (633-4227): For general Medicare information, ordering Medicare booklets, and information about health plans
- Medicare Benefits
- How To Apply Online For Just Medicare
Posted by ywcakatie on August 29, 2014
The focus of this blog has always been on access to and information on health, wellness, and health care. However, at this time, it feels more right to use this space to speak to the actively and publicly violent situation continuing in Ferguson, Missouri. There is much community dialogue around what’s going on, much press coverage, and much social media attention.
YWCAs across the country are fighting against racism. I see YWCA USA exercising leadership in the conversation around Ferguson and the death of Michael Brown. And for that reason, I share this blog post with you from YWCA USA, written by Donte Hilliard, the YWCA USA Director of Mission Impact.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
- U. S. Declaration of Independence 1776
YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.
- Adopted by the General Assembly, 2009
If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.
- Zora Neal Hurston
Once again, an unarmed Black person is dead at the hands of local law enforcement agents. How many spectacles of bullet-riddled, broken Black bodies must we endure? How many cablecast reports and tweeted acts of grief and rage must we consume before we declare it is too much? How much evidence do we need before we admit that the United States of America has a problem?
Unfortunately, we at the YWCA USA know all too well that racialized community violence is neither novel nor rare for people of color in the U.S. Even as we join the hundreds of thousands of people who demonstrate their solidarity with the Brown Family (on the ground and online) as they grieve the loss of Michael Brown and seek justice, we know there are innumerable victims and survivors of this type of systemic violence who will never be acknowledged on a national platform.
We also know, that despite what continues to be revealed about the specifics of this incident in Ferguson, Mo., the script is uncomfortably predictable:
- A person of color is racially profiled, surveilled and killed;
- Despite being unarmed, he/she is accused of being a threat or threatening;
- Peaceful, organized community action is ignored — framed as a riot rather than a protest or civic engagement, or rendered moot because of other acts (such as looting);
- The local community is admonished for “rushing to judgment” and not waiting on the facts;
- Images of the dead person of color surface that portray him or her as a scary, menacing, or gang-affiliated;
- Local and national law enforcement agents and agencies will seek to frame the death in a race-neutral context, denying the reality of institutional and systemic racism; we will be asked to see victims, survivors and perpetrators only as individuals and not as members of social groups of varying institutional and structural power, while simultaneously being bombarded with racially-coded words and images;
- Taxpayers will be treated as “enemy combatants,” rather than citizens who are guaranteed the right to gather, speak, and protest per our founding and governing documents.
What do we say and do in the face of this gut-wrenching, all-too-familiar cycle of violence against the psyche and soma of people of color?
We at the YWCA USA dare not desecrate the lives and memories of the victims and survivors of racialized community violence with hollow platitudes. Rather, we seek to transform our anger, confusion, and despair into action.
Here’s what we can do:
- Locally, those near Ferguson can contact the YWCA of Metro St. Louis. This YWCA has a long history of working on racial justice and to end discrimination in St. Louis, through workplace seminars, hosting speakers, guided dialogues, and more. Amy Hunter, Director of Racial Justice, leads these groups to “increase understanding of the institutionalized and systemic impact of racism, work towards peace and healing and positively impact the community we all live in.” Earlier this week, she joined other community leaders at Christ the King United Church of Christ in Florissant for a forum with Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson.
- No matter where you live, please take action today and tell Congress the time is now to end racial profiling—a United States problem that destroys American values of fairness and justice. Congress must take action and pass the End Racial Profiling Act this year. This bill requires that local law enforcement agencies receiving federal funds maintain adequate cultural competency policies and procedures for eliminating racial profiling. In addition, this bill allows victims to obtain declaratory or injunctive relief.
- If you are or aspire to be a White racial justice ally, you MUST show up. Racism is a problem for all of us. People of color cannot be the only ones putting their bodies on the line.
Do not let this movement end here. Racialized community violence must not be allowed to remain a normal part of our daily lives. We must come together and continue to fight for the fair and equitable treatment of all.
The YWCA is a social justice organization and movement with over 150 years of experience providing direct service to, building with, and advocating on behalf of the most vulnerable people in our society: low wage workers, the unemployed, women and girls, people of color, non-native English speakers, members of the military, abuse survivors, etc. As a social justice organization, we have a deep and abiding commitment to working on issues of economic, gender, and racial justice — particularly in the places where these systems of oppression overlap each other.
As an organization dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women, we will not allow issues of racial profiling, hate crimes and/or community violence be placed on the back burner.
Donte brings more than 10 years of administrative leadership in the areas of: Diversity, Inclusion & Social Justice; education/training in African American, Gender, and Religious Studies; knowledge and application of various social change models; history of advocacy for historically underrepresented groups; and coalition building within and across various communities. Donte has notable experience as faculty, trainer, community volunteer and activist, researcher and author, and has received many awards and honors. He is the co-founder and Chair of the Institute for Justice Education & Transformation (IJET), an initiative of the UW Madison Multicultural Student Center, that provides and supports opportunities for deep reflection and action around issues of Social Justice for underrepresented communities and their allies. Donte has a B.A. in Psychology from The University of Arkansas, a M.A. in African American studies from Ohio State University, and a M.A. in Religious Studies from Chicago Theological Seminary.
Posted by ywcakatie on August 21, 2014
The friendships in our lives are important. The people we surround ourselves with become our support system, and we become theirs. Our friends become a part of how we live our lives. We can choose to support each other be healthy and safe.
What is one new way you and your friends can support each other be healthy?
The CDC shares some tips in celebration of last week’s National Girlfriends Day:
Be Active and Eat Healthy
Make healthy choices when you get together with your friends. Find fun ways to get physical activity like walking, dancing, gardening, or swimming. When eating out or cooking at home, be sure to include fruits and vegetables and other foods rich in vitamins and minerals. Avoid foods and beverages high in calories, saturated fat, or added sugars and salt.
- Be active for at least 2½ hours a week. Children and teens need at least one hour of activity daily.
- Exercise with friends and get the many benefits of regular physical activity.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Avoid portion size pitfalls. Split an entrée with a friend.
- Find ways to cut calorie intake and still feel full.
Intimate partner violence has significant adverse health consequences. Nearly 1 in 4 women (24%) and 1 in 7 men (14%) have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime. This violence and its heavy toll can be prevented. Promoting respectful, nonviolent relationships is key.
If you are, or know someone who is, the victim of intimate partner violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) or contact your local emergency services at 9-1-1.
- Binge drinking (defined for women as consuming four or more drinks on an occasion) increases the chances of breast cancer, heart disease, sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy, and other health problems.
- Call 1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357) — to get information about drug and alcohol treatment in your local community.
- Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits. You lower your risk for different types of cancer, and don’t expose others to secondhand smoke—which causes health problems in infants, children, and adults.
- Call the state tobacco quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669); TTY 1-855-855-7081; relay service 1-800-833-6384 or visit smokefree women.
Posted by ywcakatie on August 4, 2014
It’s definitely summer in Seattle, and temperatures are forecasted to stay in the 80s for the next week. It’s hot out there, y’all!
Whether you have children home for the summer, are running from errand to errand in the heat of the late afternoon, or are just looking for a refreshing way to relax and enjoy the summer – here are some exciting new snack ideas to keep you and your family happy, healthy and hydrated!
1 cup of Stonyfield Organic Nonfat Greek Yogurt
2 whole, peeled blood oranges
Zest of 1 blood orange (optional)
1 Tbsp organic raw honey
½ cup frozen mango chunks
4 ice cubes
Directions: Combine all ingredients and blend on high.
Frozen Fruit Kabobs
Directions: Skewer the fruit and drizzle with chocolate. Freeze on a baking sheet for 1-2 hours or until frozen.
Benefits: Hydration. Hydration. Hydration. With a less-than-reliable thirst mechanism in later years, it’s common for water reserve to drop too low.
Directions: Clean and slice up to 1 cup of any of your favorite seasonal fruits or veggies and add them, along with a few sprigs of fresh herbs, to a 1-quart pitcher. Fill with water and let steep in the refrigerator for two hours or longer. Serve as is, or strain out fruit mixture. Try, say, a strawberry-lime-cucumber water: Slice 12 large strawberries, one lime and one-fourth of a cucumber; add a few fresh crushed mint leaves along with ice and water and let steep. Note: For stronger flavors, muddle or crush fruits and herbs.
Posted by ywcakatie on July 30, 2014