Flour power: Saudi women bakers take Instagram by storm

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Saudi baker Dareen Shakir, who runs the account @dees_cakesnbakes, fuses Middle Eastern-style sweets with Western ones and has 23,000 followers. (Photo courtesy: Omaima Al-Shareef @omi_photography)
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Saudi baker Dareen Shakir, who runs the account @dees_cakesnbakes, fuses Middle Eastern-style sweets with Western ones and has 23,000 followers. (Photo courtesy: Omaima Al-Shareef @omi_photography)
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Saudi baker Dareen Shakir, who runs the account @dees_cakesnbakes, fuses Middle Eastern-style sweets with Western ones and has 23,000 followers. (Photo courtesy: Omaima Al-Shareef @omi_photography)
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Saudi baker Dareen Shakir, who runs the account @dees_cakesnbakes, fuses Middle Eastern-style sweets with Western ones and has 23,000 followers. (Photo courtesy: Omaima Al-Shareef @omi_photography)
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Saudi baker Dareen Shakir, who runs the account @dees_cakesnbakes, fuses Middle Eastern-style sweets with Western ones and has 23,000 followers. (Photo courtesy: Omaima Al-Shareef @omi_photography)
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Saudi entrepreneurs are carving out a niche in the food business with the help of Instagram. (Instagram photo)
Updated 12 March 2018
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Flour power: Saudi women bakers take Instagram by storm

JEDDAH: There had been a dramatic increase in the number of entrepreneurs in the food business section on Instagram in the past five to six years.
The social media application was always famous for the pictures people took of their meals and uploaded to their accounts. This paved the way for the many talented bakers who had the potential to sell their goods.
They would upload the pictures and interested users of the application would order their required delicacy. The account owners usually take the responsibility of delivering it to their addresses.
These foods are unique, have a better variety and a reasonable pricing scheme. Also, these are perfect for people looking for “the taste of home.”
There are all sorts of varieties from savory to sweets. From having an account dedicated to just one item to an account with a range of products.
As time passes there are more and more accounts appearing, each one introducing a newer, more innovative idea.
There are thousands of such accounts based in Jeddah only, and those accounts have tens of thousands of followers.
@biscotti_ksa, who makes all the varieties of cookies and brownies, makes her own creations and has a following of 93,400, whereas Dareen Shakir, a 29-year-old Saudi with an American mother, who runs the account @dees_cakesnbakes, started five years ago in 2013. She fuses Middle Eastern-style sweets with Western ones and has 23,000 followers.

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“I like doing this because I have freedom, I don’t have to stick to work hours, I can take off whenever I want, and I can travel whenever I want,” Dareen said.
“The competition is high, so I can’t linger on just one type of product for too long. I have to keep renewing my products.”
Walaa Al-Sharif, 23, the Saudi girl behind the account @passionbakety.sa, has 10,200 followers. She has also collaborated with Manuel supermarkets and has a permanent spot on the supermarket’s shelves.
“I started in 2014. At that time there weren’t so many bakers, specializing in cookies,” she said.
“When I started it took me five to eight months to have clients. Also I was a student, so I took many days off, but now I am focusing on this and I hope to have a shop soon.”
The hardest part of starting the business is surely the beginning, to convince people about your product. This was properly defined by Jeddah-based Pakistani Hamna Khan, who specializes in cinnamon rolls. She is just starting out on Instagram with the name @thesugarloop.
She said: “The most difficult part is conveying the quality of my products to the people, especially because it is food. It’s not something I can write features about.
“I strongly believe that baking for people should be done with love and commitment, and I am looking forward to whatever the future holds.”


Nearly four in 10 US HIV infections from people unaware of infection

This electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health shows a human T cell, in blue, under attack by HIV, in yellow, the virus that causes AIDS. (AP)
Updated 19 March 2019
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Nearly four in 10 US HIV infections from people unaware of infection

  • The Trump administration has said it will invest $291 million in the next financial year to fight HIV/AIDS, which has plateaued since 2013 to around 39,000 annual transmissions

WASHINGTON: Almost 40 percent of new HIV cases in the US occur because people do not know they are infected, while a similar proportion know but are not in treatment, according to a study released Monday.
The report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is based on 2016 data and aims to bolster a strategy outlined by President Donald Trump to end the epidemic within 10 years.
The strategy has two main strands: far more widespread screening, and enabling the infected better access to treatment from the moment they test positive.
The study found that 38 percent of infections came from HIV-positive people who were unaware of their status, and 43 percent from people who knew they were infected but took no anti-retroviral drugs.
The remaining infections came from people who were receiving HIV treatment but were not yet “virally suppressed.”
The CDC blamed financial, social and other reasons for people not using medication, which these days typically comes in the form of a daily pill with minimal side effects.
The study said that the infection rate from the half million people in the United States who take medication and are virally suppressed — meaning they cannot pass on the disease to others — was zero.

The most at-risk group remains homosexual men, with almost three-quarters of new infections coming from men having sex with men, the report said.
Five percent of infections came from intravenous drug abuse among homosexual men, while 10 percent came from injecting drugs among the rest of the population.
Twelve percent of infections were among heterosexuals. Overall, the highest rate of transmission was among 13 to 24-year-olds.
The Trump administration has said it will invest $291 million in the next financial year to fight HIV/AIDS, which has plateaued since 2013 to around 39,000 annual transmissions.
The goal is to reduce that number by 75 percent within five years and by 90 percent in 10 years.
Questioned about the relatively small amount of money earmarked for the multi-billion dollar task of treating HIV carriers, CDC head Robert Redfield said he was “confident that the resources that are required to accomplish this mission are in the long term plan.”
The CDC, based in Atlanta, Georgia, wants doctors to make HIV screening a routine procedure.
“Everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 should get tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime,” said Eugene McCray, the head of the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention.
“Those at higher risk should get tested at least annually,” he said.
“The key to controlling is helping those with HIV to control the virus,” said the CDC’s Jonathan Mermin, who focuses on preventing the spread of the HIV as well as other sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis and hepatitis.
“Time spent working closely with patients who are having trouble paying for, picking up or taking their daily medications is time well spent“