Sugar workers renew call for President’s intervention

first_imgWales closure…say they’re struggling to support their familiesMonths after venting frustration over the non-payment of severance packages which were promised since December 2016, sugar workers have once again protested at their former place of employment, calling for President David Granger and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo to look into their concerns.Workers who gathered on Monday rejecting the transfer to Uitvlugt Estate and are demanding to be paid their severance packagesAt approximately 08:00h on Monday, the sugar workers formerly attached to the Wales Estate staged another protest at the factory demanding their payments. The workers’ contention is that they cannot be compelled to travel to the Uitvlugt Estate on the West Coast of Demerara, some 22 miles from Wales.At Monday’s protest, the workers told <<>> that they were finding it difficult to get consistent employment and, as such, were struggling to make ends meet. It was explained that their finances were dwindling since they were unable to garner five-day-a-week jobs. In fact, one former Wales employee stressed that many of his colleagues had to seek work in Georgetown.“The family making out real rough; right now, money going down real low,” stated Festus Roberts, who indicated that he worked in the sugar industry over 20 years.“We need money, people got instalment fuh pay, house rent fuh pay,” expressed another protester.Michael Chotoo, another demonstrator, told this publication that he was having great difficulty sending his children aged nine, 13 and 15 to school. “Meh family struggle because some days me children can’t go to school…meh can’t afford because meh nah get money since December month,” the frustrated father observed.In this light, the workers once again called on the Head of State and the Prime Minister to look into their plight and intervene on their behalf.“Not even to de Prime Minister, not one of them not come to solve our problems. Leh dem come look into our matter; we need them here because this is our President and he has to show us that he cares for us,” sugar worker Rahim (only name) expressed.His sentiments were shared by fellow protester Fizal Ali.“We have a very good President and all of here are depending on him as well to come with the verdict as early as possible [because] we deserve our money and we’re going to have it,” the worker highlighted.At last Thursday’s meeting with workers, Estate Manager Dave Kumar reportedly reiterated GuySuCo’s stance that employees must go to Uitvlugt. The workers claimed that they received threats to the effect that their names would be taken off the payroll at Wales. Meanwhile, there was a brief confrontation between a worker and one of the security staff who was filming Monday morning’s protest.The workers have been protesting over the last two months. At one of their many demonstrations, the workers had reminded that President Granger and Prime Minister Nagamootoo had committed their support to the sugar industry in the run-up to the 2015 General and Regional Elections. However, when Government had confirmed the end of sugar operations at Wales Estate last year, it was explained that cost was the main factor behind’s the entity’s closure. Government have also since expressed that only three sugar estates would remain operational in Guyana.last_img read more

Happy Easter

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! IT’S easy to see why the symbols most commonly associated with Easter bunnies, ducks, eggs have little or nothing to do with the actual holiday, on which Christians commemorate Christ’s resurrection from the dead. These are symbols of vitality, of youth, of new life and rebirth of spring. Easter is a celebration of fresh hope, of re-creation, of triumphing over both evil and death. And though the holiday itself arguably the most sacred on the Christian calendar is uniquely Christian, its themes are entirely universal. We all long for new beginnings and the promise of redemption. The arrival of Easter couldn’t come at a better time in Southern California this year, after weeks of rain that have felt endless. Southlanders aren’t used to the dark skies, the dampness and the cold. We long for the sunlight, and the new beginnings of Spring. And in Easter, they are manifest. Happy Easter to all! last_img read more

‘Sanchez over Ozil all day long. I’d bring Wilshere back and let Ozil go!’

first_imgRay Wilkins says Arsenal are a ‘totally different team’ without Alexis Sanchez and says he would prefer the Chilean over Mesut Ozil.The north Londoners are currently locked in contract talks with their star pairing, with the two reportedly looking to get paid as much as the Premier League’s top earners.Sanchez and Ozil both have 18 months to run on their current deals and former Gunners striker John Hartson believes they should ‘cough up or risk losing them to rival clubs’.Speaking to Adrian Durham and Darren Gough on Drivetime, former Chelsea and Manchester United midfielder Wilkins was asked: If you were Arsenal boss and could only have one of Sanchez and Ozil, who would it be?Without hesitation, he said: “I’d have Sanchez, all day long.“I’d bring Jack Wilshere back and let Ozil go. That is only my opinion.“I think Jack is thoroughly enjoying himself at Bournemouth. He is actually playing week in, week out and you can see progress he is making. Thankfully he is over the injury problems he has had in the past.“I think Jack Wilshere could be the equal of Ozil, if not better.“He has a total commitment around the pitch. Ozil has wonderful touches but when he plays against the big teams sometimes you see him go missing.”Sanchez is in red-hot form this season, with Arsene Wenger preferring to play the 27-year-old in a central position. He scored a hat-trick at West Ham on Saturday to take his tally for club and country this season to 13.Wilkins added: “Arsenal without Alexis Sanchez are a totally different team. Arsene plays him at every given opportunity.”Listen to Ray Wilkins on Drivetime, above.last_img read more

Mourinho ‘dines with Arsenal chief’ as pressure on Emery intensifies

first_img ‘I’ll get him’ – Robertson further endears himself to fans with revenge vow to Mane Sky Sports presenter apologises for remarks made during Neville’s racism discussion 1 Jose Mourinho could be set for a return to the dugout imminently Liverpool transfer news live: Mbappe latest, Lille star wants to join Reds in future Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Ndidi bid, targets named, Ozil is ‘skiving little git’ latest SORRY Liverpool’s signings under Michael Edwards – will Minamino be the next big hit? appointed revealed scrap MOST READ IN FOOTBALL According to The Times, Mourinho and Sanllehi had dinner together, with ‘The Special One’ suitably impressed with the latter’s plans for Arsenal’s squad.Pressure is mounting on Emery, who reportedly only has a couple of games to save his job following the 1-1 draw with Wolves at the Emirates on Saturday.Sanllehi is desperate for Champions League football to return to the Emirates, and believes Mourinho could be the man to deliver it.Mourinho, 56, has been out of work since being sacked by Manchester United in December 2018, but has spoken of his desire to return to management sooner rather than later. getty images LATEST The average first-team salaries at every Premier League club in 2019 Gerrard launches furious touchline outburst as horror tackle on Barisic sparks chaos Steve Round reveals how Mikel Arteta convinced him to join Arsenal staff PAYBACK TOP WORK In an interview by the Coaches Voice in September, Mourinho revealed that he was ready to return to the dugout – on one condition.“The only thing I know is what I don’t want,” he said. “What I don’t want is crystal clear.“What I want – the general profile of it of course – but I cannot say clubs and country.“I am quite pathological in this sense that I have to play to win.” Jose Mourinho reportedly dined with Arsenal’s head of football Raul Sanlleh this week as the north London side consider axing under-fire manager Unai Emery.The Gunners are thought to be plotting a sensational move for the former Manchester United boss if they call time on the Spaniard’s stint in Emirates, which has proved unspectacular to date.last_img read more


first_imgOn the weekend of August 5 and 6, areas of Haywood County will be filled with cyclists and runners participating in the Lake Logan Multisport Festival.  On Saturday, August 5 residents and visitors can expect bike traffic in the following areas:Bethel/Cruso: 7:00 AM-12:00 PMCanton: 7:15-9:30 AMClyde: 7:45-11:00 AMLake Junaluska: 8:30-10:45 AMCrabtree/Ironduff: 8:00-10:45 AMOn Sunday, August 6, the races will be concentrated in the Bethel/Cruso and Canton areas from 7:00 to 10:00 AM.Public safety officers will be staffing all of the key intersections.  We ask all motorists who will be in these areas during the race to be patient and give plenty of space to any cyclist on the roads.last_img

Wandile Mabanga, the genius from the townships

first_imgAt the age of 22, Wandile Mabanga is writing his MSc dissertation in quantum gravity. “I’m constantly asking myself different questions, challenging my mind to see if I can get answers,” he says.(Image: Allan Gray Orbis Foundation) Quantum gravity is a field of theoretical physics that can help scientists develop theories about, among many other things, what exactly happens in the centre of a black hole.(Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech) MEDIA CONTACT • Centre for Theoretical PhysicsSchool of PhysicsUniversity of the Witwatersrand1 Jan Smuts AveJohannesburgSouth Africa+27 11 717 RELATED ARTICLES • MeerKAT is under way• Taking the internet to townships • Olympics of maths coming to SA• Boost for knowledge economy• Science school comes to MvezoMary AlexanderHis mother dropped out of school to have him when she was 18. He went to school in the townships, where his family lived in an RDP house. Today, 22-year-old Wandile Mabanga is writing his master’s dissertation in a field of quantum physics so specialised there are only two people in the world qualified enough to supervise him.Genius is often linked to childhood. French poet Charles Baudelaire wrote, “Genius is nothing more nor less than childhood recaptured at will.” Mabanga bears this out. Again and again he displays a greedy curiosity, a childlike – but not childish – fascination with learning everything he can about everything around him.“Liking to learn comes mainly from playing, as a child,” he says in a video for the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation. “Catching crabs: what are these things? Why do they work the way they do?” A piece of paper pinned to his wall asks, “Why do we grow up?”Jumping the gradesMabanga was raised in KwaThema, a township outside Springs in Gauteng. He started school at Umsobomvu Primary in 1997, where his flair for learning allowed him to complete grades one and two in a single year.“The teachers had a love for what they were doing,” he says. “One of the fondest memories I have is from grade six. Mrs Sisulu taught us about the flower. I couldn’t understand how something so beautiful and elegant could be described on paper, in a language we invented.”This curiosity about the deep complexity yet simple workings of the flower set the roots for Mabanga’s enduring fascination with physics. His MSc degree at Wits University in Johannesburg is in the field of quantum gravity, an esoteric theoretical field that, broadly, seeks to unify gravity with the three other fundamental forces of physics – electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces.‘This child is troublesome’In 2003 Mabanga enrolled at Tlakula High School in KwaThema, where he was a member of the debating society and active in youth organisations. He excelled at his studies, particularly maths and science.High school stoked his love for science: “It started with doing experiments in high school and constantly watching National Geographic,” he told the Saturday Star. “The environment fascinates me and I’m curious to see how everything works and how things are made. My mind runs wild.“I’m constantly asking myself different questions, challenging my mind to see if I can get answers.” During one school holiday, he took a job investigating the viability of hydrogen fuel cell technology as a green-energy substitute for coal.In his matric year, 2007, there was a six-week teachers’ strike. Mabanga helped his classmates by taking over the teaching of maths and science. At the end of the year he emerged as one of the top five matriculants in Gauteng, with a perfect 100% mark for maths and 93% for physical science.In the Allan Gray video, Tlakula High School teacher SMS Masombuka recalls one of his colleagues saying of Mabanga: “This child is troublesome. He gets 98 out of 100, we clap our hands for him, and he says, ‘No, what about that two percent? I want that two percent, ma’am. Can I write another test?’”Masombuka adds: “And that’s how you manage to get 100 out of 100 marks – not percent. In mathematics, in grade 12. No other learner got such a mark in South Africa.”Meeting MandelaIt wasn’t only his studies that kept Mabanga busy in high school. He was also a member of Youth Connection, a KwaThema-based organisation working to develop the “soft” life skills of township kids, skills they need to get and keep jobs.In 2006, Mabanga joined the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund youth club Efeng Bacha, which was given the job of organising Mandela’s 88th birthday celebration, where he got to meet the great man.In 2008, Mabanga helped Efeng Bacha organise South Africa’s first Youth Parliament – a massive project. The organisation is currently building the first world-class Children’s Hospital in Johannesburg.Mabanga is also a member of the international Golden Key society, the world’s largest honour society, which connects high-achieving individuals locally, regionally and globally. And in 2011 he was the first South African to enter the International Maths Competition in Bulgaria.A funding conundrumBut there was a darker side to high school. His family scraped through each month, living on his brother’s social grant and the income of his TV-repairman father. There was a strong possibility that school would be the end of his education.“When I was still at high school I didn’t think I’d make it to university,” he says. “That was mostly because I knew my parents couldn’t afford it. What kept me going with my studies was my love for the subjects. I thought, after school I’d go and work – and that would be it.”That wasn’t it. His excellent marks easily landed Mabanga a bursary, allowing him to enter Wits University in 2008 to study chemistry with chemical engineering. This five-year, two-degree programme is limited to only 30 select students.But his fascination with physics remained. In 2009 he had to face a dilemma: continue with chemistry, or switch to physics and lose his funding.“In second year, unfortunately, I had to make a very difficult decision, of whether I keep my current sponsor, or I do physics,” he says. He had already applied to the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation , which funds young people who show potential to become great leaders or entrepreneurs.The funding came through, and he was on his way. Not only could he study his beloved physics, but he could also help pay for his younger brother’s school fees – and give his mom some money.“I am proud of my relationship with my mom,” he says. “We’ve been through a lot together. A lot of moms would choose for their kids. She has allowed me, for most of my life, to be myself.”Mentoring matricsMabanga hopes to become a working theoretical physicist, but also a social entrepreneur, giving back to the impoverished community that nurtured his love for learning.Today, he often returns to Tlakula High School to mentor the kids there. In the video, he shows a matric class film footage of majestic aerial vistas across the world: rainforests, the Himalaya mountains, tropical islands.“The most important thing, right now, for you, is to get your matric certificate,” he says. “But not just get it, but get it to go wherever you want to go.” The video, he says, is “to excite you about the world we live in, that you are about to explore as you go out.”Later, he says: “I go back to my high school because I believe in giving back. When I look at the kids at school, and I speak to them, it reminds me of myself. It keeps me going, to try to tell them, ‘Your circumstances are not permanent, and the world is not exactly the way you perceive it.’“We are all shaped by the environment. A lot of people constantly exposed to an environment where it’s impossible to do anything – that becomes reality for them.”last_img read more

Microsoft Extends Its Patent Deals Into Linux Servers

first_imgIT + Project Management: A Love Affair Tags:#enterprise#Open Source 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Related Posts Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo…center_img markhachman Microsoft said Wednesday that it signed a patent cross-license agreement with Amdocs Software Systems, extending Microsoft’s aggressive IP licensing strategy to Linux servers.Although Microsoft said the terms of the deal with Amdocs were confidential, the software giant confirmed two key points:One, the patent agreement covers Amdocs’ use of Linux-based servers in its data centers.Two, that Amdocs will pay Microsoft an “undisclosed amount of money under the agreement.”Microsoft Likes Patent License AgreementsTo date, Microsoft has aggressively enforced its patents against companies using Google’s Android software – which is based on Linux. In January, Microsoft said that more than 70% of all Android smartphones sold in the U.S. are covered by a patent licensing agreement, including devices from such tech giants as Acer, Compal, Huawei, HTC, LG, Samsung and Viewsonic, as well as smaller vendors such as Aluratek and Colby.Motorola, the other giant Android backer, escaped its own patent issues by being acquired by Google itself. In May, Citi analyst Walter Pritchard estimated that Microsoft makes more than $150 million from Android licenses, more than from its own Windows Phone program itself.Since Microsoft launched its IP licensing program in December 2003, the company has entered into more than 1,100 licensing agreements, the company said.“This agreement with Amdocs adds to the more than 1,100 patent license agreements Microsoft has entered into over the last decade,” said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel, Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft, in a statement. “Microsoft’s licensing program ensures respect for its world-class intellectual property portfolio while at the same time making available to others the result of its multi-billion dollar annual investment in research and development.”Amdocs is a provider of operational support systems to service providers, providing both operations support like provisioning as well as billing services.Do Patent Wars = Collaboration?Interestingly, Gutierrez has defended Microsoft’s aggressive IP licensing as “collaboration” with other companies. In a 2008 contributed article to the Intellectual Asset Management magazine, Gutierrez noted that in June 2003, Microsoft hired Marshall Phelps to serve as its corporate vice president of intellectual property and licensing. Gutierrez said that Phelps’ resume, which included building IBM’s patent licensing program into a “$2 billion a year profit machine,” had been misinterpreted by pundits as an attempt to “generate a massive IBM-style IP royalty stream”.“In fact, Microsoft wanted Phelps to oversee the expansion of the firm’s patent portfolio so that it could be used as currency for building relationships with other firms,” Gutierrez wrote. “Big firms, small firms, open source firms – we intended to work with anyone and everyone to produce the technology innovations that will help us remain at the forefront of new markets and business opportunities.“As Marshall would often say: ‘We don’t need to be driven by a blind strategy to maximise royalties. What we need is greater collaboration with other forces in the industry,’” Gutierrez added.“This decision to focus on relationship building required that we treat intellectual property in a fundamentally new way,” Gutierrez added. “We could no longer view IP as primarily the right to prevent others from using our technology or competing in our market. In the age of open innovation, intellectual property’s greatest value would lie in serving as the currency for collaborative relationships with other firms that could help us acquire the technologies and competencies we needed to remain successful.”Amdocs had no comment on the deal, according to a spokesperson. Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…last_img read more

What Would Make AOL Relevant Again (Not Refreshed Email)

first_imgAs attention fades for Yahoo’s latest CEO switch, we turn to another Internet pioneer — AOL. That company has a new version of its Web-based email software, is basking in good quarterly earnings and this week saw its stock price briefly hit a yearly high. Talk about mixed emotions, the rally followed one of its lowest rates of decline in revenue in a while.Recent good financials were aided by the sale of more than $1 billion worth of patents to Microsoft. Had it not made that deal, AOL would have lost more than $30 million last quarter. Like Yahoo, it’s a big company that has lost its way. And no better example of that strategy is the update of their webmail (below) that is being brought online in the next week.  8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting The update is the first major overhaul of AOL mail in nearly five years. In that time, AOL has bled email customers to Gmail and others. comScore says the free AOLmail service has 24 million users, which contrasts with the numbers of paid AOL subscribers at fewer than 5 million. At AOL’s peak, it had about 27 million paid subscribers.(Whether you believe these numbers or not, there still are lots of folks with inactive accounts. I probably have four or five AOLmail accounts, none of which I have checked in probably 10 years.) The company said that its new email interface is cleaner, but it’s still pretty cluttered compared to Gmail and even Hotmail. AOL execs also claim the backend infrastructure is faster and more stable. That’s nice, but it’s something that they should be working on continuously.Probably the most noticeable new email feature is Facebook messaging that is integrated with AOL’s Instant Messenger and SMS texts. And the messaging center is right on the email screen, in the same position as Google’s integrated chat window. Did it really take them five years to figure this out?AOL had been an email leader in the early days. Back in 1992, it had one of the earliest and most connected email gateways to CompuServe, MCI Mail, AT&T Mail, AppleLink, Sprint Mail and other Internet-connected systems. A year later, it was the only online provider with a palm-top software client. This was back when we all used dial-up.AOL was also the go-to IM network when IM was the defacto teen communications tool. Too bad this generation has since moved on to texting and sexting.AOL sowed the seeds of its decline with the buyout of Compuserve, Netscape and, eventually, Time Warner. It couldn’t decide whether it was a media or a technology company. In the past several years it has bought numerous content properties, such as HuffingtonPost, Engadget, TechCrunch, Patch and my favorite video-streaming site, has more than a billion dollars in cash still on hand, so expect it to buy more content providers. And their ad sales are improving, basically replacing the revenue from all those dial-up customers and people who have turned off their $20 monthly Internet service.All of this may be too late to save AOL email. Regardless of what the Web interface looks like, having an email address at is akin to broadcasting that you live in a shabby neighborhood where few people tend their lawns. And while it is great that AOL has a renewed webmailer, it isn’t going to bring people back.Let’s face facts: If you’ve got mail, you are reading it somewhere else. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts david strom Tags:#AOL#web last_img read more

North Carolina ~ Corporate, Personal Income Taxes: Senate Passes Market-Based Sourcing, Rate Reduction Bill

first_imgCCH Tax Day ReportThe North Carolina Senate passed legislation that would require corporate income taxpayers to use market-based sourcing rules for apportioning business income to North Carolina, reduce the corporate and personal income tax rates, increase the personal income tax standard deduction and child tax deduction, and cap the amount of the itemized deduction for mortgage interest based on a taxpayer’s filing status.S.B. 325, as passed North Carolina Senate on April 5, 2017last_img

‘We’re in a mess.’ Why Florida is struggling with an unusually severe HIV/AIDS problem

first_img “This is Dr. Suzie, the doctor of the Haitian community!” announces the host of “Radio Coin,” a talk show on WLQY-AM in Miami that caters to the city’s large Haitian population. Suzie Armas, who runs Miami’s New Health Community Center in a neighborhood known as Little Haiti, takes to the microphone like a preacher at the pulpit. In a mix of Creole and English, she urges listeners to come to her clinic, regardless of whether they have insurance or legal immigration status, and receive a free HIV test.”If you become positive, next step is to seek treatment,” says Armas, a physician’s assistant who was a licensed doctor in Haiti and Mexico. “We will take care of you.”Haitian immigrants have one of Florida’s highest new infection rates for people born in other countries, and Armas wants to make sure that people with the virus stay on treatment. But that takes a special effort with clients such as Chimens Point du Jour, 57, who worked as a high school administrator in Haiti but speaks limited English and tested positive for HIV in 2016 during a routine checkup at Armas’s clinic. Because of language issues, most newspaper articles or public health campaigns have little impact on people like him, Armas notes, and many other Haitians are uneducated, even illiterate. “But every Haitian living in the U.S. listens to some type of radio station,” she says. That makes “Radio Coin” a potent tool.For Point du Jour, another draw is that the clinic offers him free transportation to appointments. “Bél bagay!” he says, which roughly translates to “This place is awesome!”The center’s program for Haitians is but one small-scale attempt to help HIV-infected Floridians stay in care. Another is the Infectious Disease Elimination Act, known as IDEA Exchange, which Tookes and his team began in December 2016. IDEA Exchange offers Miami drug users clean needles, HIV tests, and referrals to rehab and treatment. The exchange also has a mobile unit that travels to the city’s drug hot spots.Shortly after the IDEA Exchange van rolls into Miami’s Overtown neighborhood early one April morning, a steady stream of clients shows up. Natasha Dixon, 33, was diagnosed with HIV last year at the van. “I can barely take care of myself,” says Dixon, who brings along a kitten that the IDEA Exchange staff later agrees to adopt. A sometimes homeless mother of three, Dixon ran out of ARV pills when she left town to visit her mom. Tookes sees that Dixon urgently needs care and tells her they’ll arrange a clinic visit and restart her on the drugs, along with helping her find a place to live. “I want to get my life back together,” Dixon says. “This is crazy.” By Jon CohenJun. 13, 2018 , 12:30 PM IN FLORIDA—It’s a Tuesday afternoon in April, and doctors at the adult HIV/AIDS clinic at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami face their usual onslaught of patients. There’s the young, recently diagnosed gay man from Venezuela here for his first appointment. An older gay man who emigrated from Colombia and has been treated at the clinic for 18 years. A 37-year-old Massachusetts native who is battling a heroin addiction, has a drug-related heart condition, and has done time for selling sex. Rounding out the queue are an undocumented grandmother from the Dominican Republic, a mentally challenged and occasionally homeless African-American woman, and an elderly Haitian woman in a wheelchair.The mosaic of patients represents the major drivers of HIV’s spread and the communities hard hit by AIDS in the United States. And it helps explain why in 2016, Miami had the highest new infection rate per capita of any U.S. city: 47 per 100,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s more than twice as many as San Francisco, New York City, or Los Angeles.”Miami is the epicenter of the epicenter of HIV/AIDS in the United States,” says Mario Stevenson, a virologist with a thick Scottish brogue who heads the infectious disease department at the University of Miami (UM) Miller School of Medicine, which shares a campus with Jackson Memorial. “There’s no abatement in our upward slope.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The rest of the state isn’t faring much better. Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and Jacksonville also made the list of top 10 U.S. cities for rate of new HIV diagnoses. And more HIV infections progress to AIDS here than in any other state, in part because many infected people who start taking antiretroviral (ARV) drugs don’t stick with them.Stevenson, who specializes in HIV cure research, left Massachusetts for Florida in 2010. Since then, he has reached beyond probing how HIV hides in chromosomes to also addressing why the virus still infects and sickens so many people walking the streets outside his lab. “Stemming the tide is going to need more than just working at the bench doing molecular biology,” says Stevenson, who has pushed UM to bring together affected communities, legislators, and the Florida Department of Health (DOH) to better coordinate the response to their epidemic. “We’re saying, ‘Hey, guys, we’re in a mess.’ Why is HIV spreading rapidly across the Sunshine State, famous for its tropical weather, wide beaches, the Everglades, and amusement parks? The stream of visitors and transplants drawn to those attractions is one piece of the puzzle. More than 100 million tourists visit Florida each year, some lured by the party-hearty, bacchanalian reputation of Miami, Key West, and other beach towns. Since the AIDS epidemic surfaced in 1981, the state’s population has doubled to nearly 21 million people, many of them immigrants from Latin America or the Caribbean—and in several of the island nations in the region, HIV is substantially more prevalent than in the United States. Florida is also in the deep South, which, because of a surge of HIV infections among black and Latino men who have sex with men (MSM), is home today to nearly half the estimated 1.1 million people living with HIV in the country.According to DOH modeling estimates, Florida in 2016 had 135,986 HIV-infected people, just behind California and New York. But 21,214 of those people—15%—did not know their status, and that fuels the state’s high transmission rate. “A significant fraction of the new infections come from people who don’t even know they have HIV,” says Michael Kolber, clinical director of UM’s HIV/AIDS program.Florida’s complex demographics magnify the challenge of reaching that 15%. A campaign that might prompt a Haitian immigrant to seek testing differs from what’s needed to reach Latinos, blacks, MSM, heterosexuals, drug users, the homeless, or the mentally ill. Urban and rural communities also have vastly different lifestyles and testing options. “It’s such a diverse state from the Panhandle to Key West that it’s almost like different countries,” says Jeffrey Beal, medical director of DOH’s HIV/AIDS section, based in Fort Myers.Many doctors, especially in rural areas, still don’t routinely test for HIV, and some are slow to offer infected people treatment. “There’s been a lack of attention on the part of my fellow physicians—I have to be very honest about that,” says Beal, who began his career in Oklahoma at the start of the AIDS epidemic and burned out from watching so many patients die. He even quit practicing medicine for a year and moved to Florida to become a housing developer with his partner before the shortcomings of the state’s HIV/AIDS care in rural areas led him back to the clinic.At the same time, not enough people seek out testing, further undermining the promise of treatment as prevention. Some fear being ostracized if they’re infected: Florida falls in the country’s Bible Belt, which CDC notes suffers from “homophobia and transphobia, racism, and general discomfort with public discussion of sexuality.” In conservative Clewiston, a few hours’ drive north of Miami, Timothy Dean, who is openly gay and has his HIV-positive status tattooed on his arm, sees doctors at the nearby county health department. But he knows several local, infected people who avoid it. (GRAPHIC) J. YOU/SCIENCE; (DATA) AIDSVU, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH HIV prevalence (percentile) ‘We’re in a mess.’ Why Florida is struggling with an unusually severe HIV/AIDS problem 2.Ft. Lauderdale Division, FL 40.1 80–99 As Florida’s HIV/AIDS caseload keeps growing, more leaders are calling for change. Stevenson helped spearhead a task force that last year issued a report called Getting to Zero for Miami. The report built on the treatment-as-prevention principle of the international Ending AIDS movement: Infected people rarely transmit the virus or develop AIDS if they know their status and take ARVs. The report urged Miami to strengthen its testing and treatment efforts—as has happened in San Francisco, New York state, and Vancouver, Canada—and it promoted a proven prevention strategy called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP): giving ARVs to uninfected people who are at high risk. At the state level, the same agenda is at the heart of DOH’s plan to eliminate HIV transmission and AIDS deaths, which it has rolled out, albeit slowly, over the past few years.Florida has made some progress, but Stevenson knows the path ahead will be rough. He and others complain that state officials have turned away federal funding for prevention and care, limited sex education, and generally downplayed the problem. The reformers say that in addition to politics, they must tiptoe around cultural minefields, slash through excessive bureaucracy, and tackle the stigma that compromises HIV/AIDS efforts everywhere.The push for reform also faces indifference, especially among state and local legislators. For them, other illnesses—heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s, each of which takes more lives—often eclipse the need for HIV/AIDS resources, Stevenson says. And the epidemic can feel like old news. “Everyone recognizes the problem, but when it comes time on the microphone to say, ‘This is what we’re doing with HIV,’ there’s a disconnect,” he says. “We know how to address the issue. We know how to fix it. We just have to get up to speed.” 1.Miami Division, FL 47.0 Russia’s HIV/AIDS epidemic is getting worse, not better 9.Jacksonville, FL 22.9 10 “This town is very tight-knit, and rumors can start,” says Dean, who works for DOH to connect HIV-infected people to care. “Your children may not want nothing to do with you because they find out that you’re positive.” And Clewiston, a sparsely populated community built around growing and processing sugar cane, has no public transportation, so Dean says seeking care outside of town simply isn’t a realistic option for some.Complacency, rather than fear, is the issue for other groups, such as immigrants from the many countries where HIV is relatively uncommon. MSM from Latin America, for example, may not realize that moving to Florida could boost their risk of infection, says UM HIV/AIDS clinician Susanne Doblecki-Lewis. “The idea that the same behavior can have different consequences in different locations is a little bit difficult to process,” Doblecki-Lewis says.Other public health measures also have lagged here. Needle and syringe exchanges that now are in 32 other states—they were endorsed by the U.S. National Commission on AIDS in 1991—only became legal here in 2016. “We were decades late,” says UM clinician Hansel Tookes, who, while still a med student at the school, led a 4-year lobbying campaign that persuaded legislators to change the law.Similarly, Florida has been slow to promote PrEP, unlike many other locales. Florida Surgeon General Celeste Philip mandated in December 2017 that all 67 county health departments offer PrEP at no cost by the end of 2018. On a smaller scale, UM has a mobile clinic named Gamechanger that will start driving around Miami in the next few months, offering both HIV testing and PrEP.When people test positive, Florida’s system routinely links them to care. But the system falls short at keeping them there. Nearly one in three people are, in medical jargon, “lost to follow-up” for reasons such as transportation difficulties, stigma concerns, relocation, lack of social support, substance abuse, and poverty. In New York City, by contrast, which had nearly 90,000 people who knew their positive status in 2016, 88% were retained in care. As a consequence, only about half of the HIV-infected people here are fully suppressing the virus with ARVs, compared with 76% in New York City. Florida’s shortfall has two steep costs: People are more likely to spread the virus to others, and they have a greater risk of developing AIDS themselves. 60–79 7.Philadelphia Division, PA 25.1 6.Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 27.4 Physician Hansel Tookes (left), who oversees a needle exchange program in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood, meets with Natasha Dixon (right) and Erik Olivero (center). 1 MISHA FRIEDMAN 3 Nigeria has more HIV-infected babies than anywhere in the world. It’s a distinction no country wants 8 6 0–19 7 No data 8.Jackson, MS 25.0 2 4 40–59 5.Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA 29.4 More content from this package MISHA FRIEDMAN Special package: Far from over Three places where “ending AIDS” is a distant hope  Miami is the epicenter of the epicenter of HIV/AIDS in the United States. 20–39 10.Memphis, TN-MS-AR 22.9 4.Baton Rouge, LA 30.2 3.New Orleans-Metairie, LA 33.3 Suzie Armas (left) speaks in Creole on WLQY-AM in Miami to encourage Haitian immigrants to come to her clinic for HIV testing and care. Geography of infection The southern U.S. states, including Florida, are home to nearly half the people living with HIV in the country, as shown in blue. Four of the 10 metropolitan areas with the highest rates of new infection per 100,000 (numbered dots) are in Florida. (“Newly infected” is used interchangeably with “newly diagnosed,” even though diagnosis often happens long after infection.) 9 Mario Stevenson, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine 5 But the Florida health system’s bureaucracy works against that sense of urgency. A few weeks later, when Dixon visits Tookes at his clinic, he says he cannot prescribe ARVs to her. Regulations stipulate that she first visit the county health department, meet with a case manager, and then enroll in the federally funded AIDS Drug Assistance Program before receiving treatment. Tookes attributes the breakdown to DOH policies, as well as Florida’s decision to not accept the federal government’s offer of “expanded” Medicaid, which makes it easier for low-income, younger people to receive care.”There literally should be a conveyor belt, with a red carpet, to move her from the mobile unit into clinic with me sitting there smiling to welcome her into care,” Tookes says. “She made a major first step by coming to see us at clinic, but the barriers within our system are almost insurmountable.” Instead, after more than 6 weeks had passed, Dixon still was not back on medication.Beal says his team recognizes that Florida must revamp its response. He’s particularly buoyed by DOH’s recent moves. The department has begun to use some new federal money and repurpose state funds to find patients lost to follow-up, make HIV testing a routine part of care, promote PrEP, and immediately offer newly infected people a free, 30-day supply of ARVs while they clear insurance hurdles.Change is underway. Aside from the new PrEP mandate from the state surgeon general, HIV testing is becoming more routine after a law change that simplifies the consent process. “Disease intervention specialists” at DOH have begun to comb through databases to find and then contact people lost to follow-up. And even Tookes, who is sharply critical of the system in Florida, was heartened in late May when DOH started a new project with IDEA Exchange to rapidly offer treatment to people his team diagnoses.It’s early days. But once those barriers are knocked down, Beal says, “No one can really look me in the face in the state of Florida and say, ‘I can’t get the medicines I need.’” He does not expect to see an immediate decline in new infections. But, he says, “Hopefully, by 2019, we will.”Science produced these stories in collaboration with the PBS NewsHour, which is airing a companion five-part series. Reporting for this project was supported by the Pulitzer Center.last_img read more