CONDOMS STILL THE MOST EFFECTIVE METHOD TO STOP THE SPREAD OF AIDS

by Scherilyn Ishop

Contributing Writer

High-risk behavior in the era of AIDS is like playing Russian roulette, according to Bart Loeser, education director for AIDS Foundation Houston.

"HIV is hard to get because it must get into the bloodstream to survive, but the risk is still very high. You can contract it the first time or the twentieth time you have unprotected sex. But it spreads because of denial. People believe it can't happen to them," Loeser said.

As part of AIDS Awareness Week, the virus was the subject of a workshop and panel discussion that allowed students the opportunity to voice their concerns and ask questions about HIV.

Most students' concerns ranged from testing procedures to which types of behavior are the most unsafe.

The primary AIDS risk is intravenous drugs, where it is highly possible to have infected blood injected directly into the veins of an uninfected person.

Loeser suggested cleaning needles with alcohol or water and bleach.

Unprotected anal, oral and vaginal sex are also risky, due to the large amounts of body fluids being exchanged.

Loeser asked students to talk with their partners and to think about ways to lower their risk of contracting HIV.

"Each of us makes our own choices about what kind of risk we should take," Loeser said.

Aside from abstinence, condoms are the most effective preventive measure against HIV -- when used properly.

Loeser used props to demonstrate the correct way to use a condom.

The problem is not condoms, Loeser said, but people who do not use them correctly. He said a water-based lubricant should be used, as well as a spermicide, preferably nonoxynol-9, which helps kill the AIDS virus.

"AIDS is a very preventable disease -- no one has to get this virus," he said. "That's the basics."

Jay Slemmer, president of People with AIDS Coalition, related the human side of HIV by recounting his experiences of living with the virus over the last six years.

Slemmer, a 31-year-old gay man, contracted the virus through sexual contact when AIDS ravaged the gay community in the early '80s.

"I've lost 54 friends in seven years," Slemmer said. "Sometimes there would be three or four to die in one month."

Many people who are now affected by AIDS, such as heterosexual men and women, didn't listen to the warnings of the gay community, Slemmer said.

Slemmer sees a kinesiologist and takes up to 20 pills a day. He follows an exercise regimen and adheres to a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables and stays away from red meat and caffeine.

He also credits metaphysics, meditation and the holistic religion for his positive outlook on life.

"I believe everything is beatable, 80 percent is your attitude."

 

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PROF SAYS RECESSION, BUSH'S DEFEAT FED RESERVE'S FAULT

by Deborah Hensel

Daily Cougar Staff

Responsibility for the nation's current economic recession and George Bush's election loss fall on the shoulders of the Federal Reserve Banking System, according to Barton Smith, UH professor of economics.

Smith, a former director of the UH Center for Public Policy, spoke to a group of Houston business people at the J. W. Marriott Thursday.

Smith said he was surprised that none of the three presidential candidates pointed the finger at the Federal Reserve during the recent campaign.

The Federal Reserve, a quasi-public, quasi-private bank with the ability to control the nation's money supply, was created in 1913, Smith said.

"Eighteen years later, the Fed succeeded in creating the worst economic disaster in American history," Smith said, referring to the Great Depression of the 1930's.

Since WWII, the U.S. has suffered 10 recessions, Smith said, and economists have differing opinions about what causes recession. Supply-side shocks and national fiscal policy are some contributing factors, Smith said.

Some analysts even suggest that recession is a natural purging process, Smith said.

"Capitalist market economies have a regular need to carve away the fat and recessions fill that role," he explained.

Smith said he thought a good bumper sticker for the Republicans would have been "Recessions Happen."

In his opinion, Smith said, recessions are tied to monetary policy.

"Each recession (since WWII) has been coincidental with a falling real dollar money supply," he said.

"Some may argue that the Fed can't completely control the nation's money supply," Smith said. "That's true."

"But, the Fed can provide reserves to the nation's banks, but if the banks don't lend, the money supply will not grow," he said.

Smith also said the Fed can drop enormous reserves into the banking system without generating an expansion of the money supply, and that's what's happening now.

Banks are now choosing the safest investments -- government bonds -- instead of lending to businesses for capital expansion, Smith said.

Inflation also contributes indirectly to recession, he added.

"The Fed over-stimulates the economy leading to inflation. When inflation becomes intolerable, they slam on the brakes of monetary restraint," Smith said. As a result, the economy goes into a tailspin.

With regard to current interest rates, Smith said they are really not that low by historical accounts, especially during a time of recession or sluggishness.

"Consumers have been making progress to reduce debt," Smith said.

"Growth must be based on consumer savings, not on consumption.

"We don't want this recovery to ride on the backs of consumers," he said.

Smith also remarked on the impact the newly-elected president will have on the economy.

"The election may scare the Fed," he said. "Clinton wants to come off as fiscally conservative." If neither Clinton nor the Fed makes a move, neither will the economy, according to Smith.

 

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AUDIENCE OF THREE HIT HARD BY AIDS LECTURE

by Melissa Neeley

News Reporter

Education about AIDS plays an important role in stopping the spread of the virus; however, only three students attended Wednesday's lecture at the U.C. to learn more about the disease during AIDS Awareness Week.

In the United States, one of every 200 people are HIV positive. In Houston, one of every 100 people are estimated to be infected with the virus, said Greg Cason, an AIDS's counselor.

Cason said he was not surprised at the turnout, but he hopes the students who attended will tell their friends about what they learned at the meeting.

"It's like the typical shampoo commercial you see on television. One person will tell his friend, and then he, in turn, will tell somebody else and the message (about AIDS) will spread in that way."

Cason, who is working on his Ph.D. in general counseling, said Montrose Counseling Center offers free services to those persons whose annual income falls below $20,000.

Patients are entitled to 24 free counseling sessions if they go to the center. If a person in need of counseling is unable to leave their home, a counselor will make a house call, and patients can receive up to 18 of these free sessions, Cason said.

Some people receiving support at the Montrose Counseling Center are UH students, he said. Most of the staff at the center is comprised of current or former UH students, he said.

Cason, who completed his undergraduate studies at UCLA, said, "I can remember going to the fraternity parties in 1985 and nobody did anything to protect themselves.

"There would be drinking until 2 a.m. and afterwards, people would go upstairs for sex until 5 a.m.," he said.

Cason suggested placing bowls of condoms and lubricants containing nonoxynol-9, which is known to kill the HIV virus, in easily-accessible areas of parties where sexual activity might occur.

Only latex condoms having marked expiration dates should be purchased and they should be kept in a cool place. He said condoms should not be stored in a wallet because they can be broken.

AIDS testing and counseling is also available at the UH Health Center. In Texas, a physician must keep medical information, including an AIDS diagnosis, about his patient confidential to prevent discrimination, Cason said.

Although there are laws to protect people with AIDS, including federal legislation like the Americans with Disabilities Act, Texas Penal Code 2106 prohibits the "deviant sexual behavior" of two people of the same sex having intercourse with each other, Cason said.

Laws like these discourage gay men from getting tested and from seeking help, he said.

Cason encourages people who are HIV positive to get a second opinion from other doctors if they feel that their current doctor is keeping them in the dark about their illness, he said.

"People with AIDS need to take control of their lives. As a counselor, I try to get people to be goal-oriented and to look at ways for coping with their situation," Cason said.

Brian Briggs, a UH student majoring in pharmacy, attended the AIDS meeting because he has many gay friends and eventually wishes to specialize in AIDS counseling, he said.

"I'm very interested in AIDS research and want to see more hand-holding between the medical and the pharmaceutical industries," he said.

Vincent Trautmann, another UH student who attended the meeting, is originally from France and wanted to learn more about AIDS and its impact on the United States.

"Before I left France, AIDS was labelled as a disease from the States and from Africa," Trautmann, a chemistry graduate student, said.

Recently, Trautmann read an article about two young boys who died in France from blood transfusions which were infected with HIV, he said.

More than 5,000 people were reportedly infected with the virus because of inadequate blood testing procedures, Trautmann said.

More AIDS-related information should be published in France so people can better understand that it is not limited to the United States and Africa, he said.

People in need of AIDS counseling can call the Montrose Counseling Center at 529-0037. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and is located at 900 Lovett, Suite 203.

 

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PLAY FOCUSES ON FAMILY'S HEALING PROCESS

by Ericka Schiche

Daily Cougar Staff

Pain does not last always.

That is one of the messages conveyed in Elizabeth Brown-Guillory's play, <p>Just A Little Mark<o>.

Seven characters in need of healing are introduced in the production, which is set in a small town in Louisiana.

"It is primarily a play about healing." Brown-Guillory, an associate professor of English, said. "It seems as if every play I've written in the last 10 years keeps coming back to reconciliation, resolving conflicts."

Caroline Mark, a doctor who seeks the guidance of Bill, a psychologist, learns to appreciate reliable family members. Two such members are Gertrude, the proud matriarch of the family, and Granny Vi, a mean woman in her early seventies.

Both apparitions seek to comfort the nervous doctor and provide her with the strength of the Mark family.

Other characters featured in <p>Just A Little Mark<i> are Taunt Cia, a woman who wails constantly, Caroline's bitter sister Jackie and her grandfather, Mr. Ernest.

Brown-Guillory relies on elements of drama and comedy to tell the story of the Marks, who weave a rich tapestry of old Louisiana folklore, spirituality, and family history.

The cast, comprised of UH students, includes Coy Archie, Tamara Conner, Renette Brown, LaKeshia Sapp, Larry Humphrey, Gerald Woodford and Tanya Kelsaw. Playwright Brown-Guillory directs the play, with Travis-Jon Mader serving as assistant director.

<i>Just A Little Mark<p>, sponsored by The Houston Suitcase Theater, will be produced Nov. 6 and 7 at 7 p.m. in the St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church gymnasium, located at 6220 LaSalette.

The final performance is slated for Nov. 8 at 4:30 p.m. in the Cullen Performance Hall. It follows after the production of <i>Primary Care<p>, a play written by Bill Monroe, which will be performed at 3 p.m.

A panel discussion, during which theater arts professionals will discuss the humanities content of the play, will follow the Nov. 7 and 8 performances.

Panelists scheduled to appear include Whitney LeBlanc, a television producer, Douglas Turner Ward, founder of the Negro Ensemble Company, Texas Southern University Visiting Professor of English Romanus Muoneke and Eileen Morris, director of The Ensemble.

The play will be featured at the 1993 Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, which will be held in New Orleans.

 

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VOLLEYBALL TEAM SETS ATOP SWC

by Heather Ellis

Daily Cougar Staff

First place is always best. Just ask the Lady Cougars, who are currently holding onto the top spot in the SWC with an 8-1 record.

When Coach Bill Walton says he wants the Lady Cougars to strive for a perfect record the rest of the season, it has not been in vain. From the looks of things it seems as though the Cougars are more than willing to comply.

Houston shares the first place berth with the Texas Longhorns, who have also posted an 8-1 record.

Coach Walton has a game plan for the Houston netters.

"Our goal after we play A&M is to continue to win. We want to go undefeated over the next two weeks. If we do this we can develop momentum going into the SWC tournament."

The SWC tournament is an important contest in which all of the volleyball teams in the SWC battle for a position to the finals.

"The only way we can insure ourselves of a definite spot in the finals is to win the SWC tournament," Coach Walton explained.

Tonight the Lady Cougars start a five-game homestand in the friendly confines of Hofhienz Pavilion against Sam Houston State.

The game begins at 7:30 p.m.

The Cougars take on the LadyKats of Huntsville in a non-conference match. The LadyKats finished in third place last season, posting a 7-3 record in the Southland Conference.

Hofheinz heats up again Saturday night when the Lady Cougars take on the Hilltoppers from Kentucky.

It is the first meeting for the two teams so it should be interesting to see how they match up. The Hilltoppers finished up in second place last season in Sunbelt conference with a 7-2 ending.

Wednesday, the Cougars traveled to the land of the maroon and white to face A&M.

The Aggies were all systems go against Houston in the first game. The Cougars put up a good fight, but it was to no avail and the Aggies got the best of them 15-17.

Not wanting to be bested by a bunch of farmers, the Lady Coogs were rejuvenated and proceeded to plow through the Aggies in three straight games 15-9, 15-8, and 15-13.

It was the second time this season that Houston defeated A&M in the SWC play.

Ashley Mulkey and Lily Denoon continued to lend strong support for the Cougars.

 

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