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Essay on Challenges Affecting Treatment of HIV/AIDS

7 pages
1666 words
Wesleyan University
Type of paper: 
Thesis statement
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Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) presents perhaps the most critical social issues that affect the world in the contemporary society. New infections always occur as a result of ignorance on the part of the individuals who disregard the fundamental precautions or experiencing limitations in structured protective services. Moreover, AIDS patients may lack adequate information on their roles and responsibility in preventing the spread of HIV. In essence, an HIV diagnosis is often perceived as a traumatic experience that significantly alters the life of a person. In most cases, the patient rarely reveals his status or only does so to a restricted number of individuals. A premeditated approach to HIV prevention interventions involves the comprehension of why and how patients conceal their diagnosis and formulate a solution to this problem (Halkitis, Wolitski & Millett, 2013). AIDS is also an ailment that is dreaded because of the myths surrounding its genesis and modes of transmission. To this effect, most studies indicate that the primary reason why patients conceal their diagnosis is due to the fright of being excluded and stigmatized. Additionally, since stigma is associated with HIV, the patient and the next of kin are likely to be subjected to psychosocial struggles during diagnosis, management of care and disease progression. Research indicates that whenever a family member is diagnosed with HIIV/AIDS, other members of the family will be affected in one way or the other.

Perhaps the most affected victims of HIV/AIDS pandemic is the children where it is approximated that 2.2 million children under the age of 15 are living with the virus. Additionally, children constitute 13 percent of new infections and account for 17 percent of annual mortalities. Nearly 1.2 million HIV positive children reside in15 nations which have been categorized in the Emergency Plan global focus countries. In some countries located in southern African nations, between 40-60 percent of deaths of children under the age of 5 years have been accredited to AIDS. In instances where treatment and care are lacking, 35 percent of the children die in their first year of life, 50 percent on their second year and 60 percent on their third birthday (Reda & Biadgilign, 2012). Equally important is the fact that children living in developing are more susceptible to diseases such as pneumonia, malnutrition, and tuberculosis (TB). Consequently, the most significant gap in the management of HIV/AIDS is in the delivery of preventive measures and creation of public awareness with the aim of diminishing the proliferation of stigmatization.

Purpose Statement

The purpose of this study is to offer insight into the challenges that affect HIV/AIDS such as unstable health care systems, weak political leadership and socio-cultural stigma which have served to impede the progress made in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. Moreover, the study endeavors to assess the problems that are related to the experience of HIV/AIDS patients; gathering information on the social and health issues and evaluating the patients knowledge pertinent to HIV/AIDS.

Practice-focused Questions

1. How has stigmatization contributed to the rise in levels of new HIV infections?

2. What is the impact of socio-cultural factors in the HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention strategies?

3. Does public awareness of HIV/AIDS aid in alleviating myths and misconceptions?

Social Change

There has been a noted paradigm shift in the approaches to the preventive interventions that target communities that are burdened with the problem of HIV/AIDS. This change indicates that the focus has shifted from individuals to include a comprehensive strategy where structural and social components are fundamental. Indeed, the new notion involves modifying social conditions through addressing the crucial factors that enhance HIV vulnerability by affecting the ability of people to protect themselves (Kippax & Stephenson, 2014). Nonetheless, the implementation of evidence-based social/structural approaches has been impeded by political and scientific ideologies which have not been fully exploited. In essence, the social theory holds that each is socially polarized which implies that their behavioral changes are influenced by the current social practices and norms.

Context of Doctoral Project

Indeed, the services that portray the optimized positive outcomes for the HIV-positive population of the community comprises of services that are directed towards screening of at-risk individuals and the distribution of educational materials and condoms to persons residing in homeless shelters. This approach may be attributed to the fact that HIV/AIDS affects the community disproportionately in the sense that the burden of disease is more prevalent in persons who are classified as having a low social, economic status. Thus, grant money may be utilized for purposes of establishing more Voluntary Counselling and Testing Centers to provide a platform where individuals may inquire about their HIV status. In addition to this, trauma counseling sessions are frequently conducted to enable people to deal with the outcomes based on the accepted perception that the knowledge of ones serostatus may encourage an individual to avert risky sexual attitudes (Suthar et al., 2013). Other costs that may be incurred include the purchase of contraceptives such as condoms and acquisition of print materials such as pamphlets and brochures upon which information on HIV/AIDS will be published. The availability of comprehensive knowledge on the risks associated with HIV and the subsequent encouragement of practicing safe sex signifies the prospect of reducing the advent of new infections by as much as 80% saving the public health sector in the community approximately $100 million annually. Additionally, provision of factual information on HIV/AIDS creates the prospect of a projected growth of nearly 23% of access to primary care which assists in the reconciliation of controversies that surround mother-to-child transmission.

Sources of Evidence

As at 2015, individuals drawn from minority groups more so Latino communities accounted for the more significant percentage of new infections in the U.S with the men accounting for almost 87% of the identified new infections. This phenomenon may be attributed to the fact that HIV prevalence rates are highest amongst Latinos than any other ethnic community perhaps due to the dominance of factors such as stigma, discrimination, and homophobia which augments the risk of HIV infections (Chen, Gallant & Page, 2012). Additionally, migration patterns poverty, language barriers, and lower educational level are synonymous with the Latino community which compounds the problem of accessing HIV testing and care. Naturally, undocumented Hispanics shun HIV prevention services due to the fear of deportation or arrest if discovered. Hence, a deception of curbing the continued proliferation of HIV in such a communities, the CDC has increased the number of current funding opportunities for health departments that are situated in geographic locations where there is need to prioritize HIV prevention strategies including the objective of identifying undiagnosed HIV infections in minority groups.


One of the validated approaches to be used is the People Living with HIV Stigma Index which represents a questionnaire for people diagnosed with HIV and is administered by people living with AIDS. In essence, this tool is used to assess the discrimination and stigma experiences for people living with HIV/AIDS in various contexts (Zhang et al., 2012). The HIV-KQ-18 is a self-report survey that evaluates the knowledge of individuals on the prevention activities and HIV risk behaviors. Moreover, the Enhanced HIV/AIDS Reporting System (EHARS) refers to a surveillance system that may be utilized by various health departments for purposes of data management and report testing data.

Ethical Considerations

In the U.S, all medical information is perceived as being confidential and is protected by a legal structure. Owing to the sensitive nature of the HIV-related information the underlying laws have been reinforced by providing additional protection to access of such records. For instance, in most states and informed consent which describes the limits of confidentiality as far as releasing HIV-related information is concerned. This implies that the participants in a study or survey have to authorize the release of sensitive information (Idele et al., 2012). Nonetheless, there exist ethical and legal obligations to the limits of confidentiality. For instance, medical practitioners are required to report HIV infections and AIDS to public health authorities. This occurrence is based on the argument that benefits of reporting to the public health outweigh risks to the individual.

Aspects of prospectus alignment

Learning that is HIV-positive is necessary antecedent to obtaining Hiv treatment hence it helps reduce mobility and also mortality among PLWHA, If sufficient safety practices are not put into practice, the risk of contracting HIV from needles and contaminated blood is augmented. However, the risk of occupational exposure, is very low in most countries. It also helps save money for treatments and helps put money into the economic growth

Secondary data types of HIV and sources of information

Online databases such as Pubmed and NIH are some of the most known sources; others include peer-reviewed journals mostly from the Google scholars and books.


Chen, N. E., Gallant, J. E., & Page, K. R. (2012). A systematic review of HIV/AIDS survival and delayed diagnosis among Hispanics in the United States. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 14(1), 65-81.

Halkitis, P. N., Wolitski, R. J., & Millett, G. A. (2013). A holistic approach to addressing HIV infection disparities in gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. American Psychologist, 68(4), 261.

Idele, P., Gillespie, A., Porth, T., Suzuki, C., Mahy, M., Kasedde, S., & Luo, C. (2014). Epidemiology of HIV and AIDS among adolescents: current status, inequities, and data gaps. JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 66, S144-S153.

Kippax, S., & Stephenson, N. (2012). Beyond the distinction between biomedical and social dimensions of HIV prevention through the lens of a social public health. American journal of public health, 102(5), 789-799.

Reda, A. A., & Biadgilign, S. (2012). Determinants of adherence to antiretroviral therapy among HIV-infected patients in Africa. AIDS Research and treatment, 2012.

Suthar, A. B., Ford, N., Bachanas, P. J., Wong, V. J., Rajan, J. S., Saltzman, A. K., ... & Baggaley, R. C. (2013). Towards universal voluntary HIV testing and counselling: a systematic review and meta-analysis of community-based approaches. PLoS medicine, 10(8), e1001496.

Zhang, W., OBrien, N., Forrest, J. I., Salters, K. A., Patterson, T. L., Montaner, J. S., ... & Lima, V. D. (2012). Validating a shortened depression scale (10 item CES-D) among HIV-positive people in British Columbia, Canada. PloS one, 7(7), e40793.

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