"HIV and AIDS Prevention" is a remarkable example of a paper on the virus. HIV/AIDS or Human Immunodeficiency Virus / Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome is a global concern due to its outbreak that is present over a large area and its continued spread. Pandemic as it is, there is still no cure for the disease; ARVs (antiretroviral drugs) are made available to slow down the spread of the virus, giving high chances of making the infected person live a close to normal, if not a normal life. This paper is a reflection on the interviews conducted with four individuals: a student, an ordinary employee who used to be a sex worker, a medical professional, and an HIV counselor.
The selected individuals are from different walks of life to gather diverse opinions on the preventive measures in combating the spread of the disease and whether these measures are apposite to its cause. Interviewee Profiles Interviewee 1 (VoIP): Male, 34, Caucasian, HIV Counsellor and a former Supervisor of a Telco’ s Customer Service Department – diagnosed at 25 Interviewee 2 (chat): Male, 25, Latino, registered nurse (RN) Interviewee 3 (email): Male, 20, Asian, college student Interviewee 4 (email): Female, 31, African American, service crew and former sex worker – diagnosed at 27 Among the four kind HIV+ individuals who agreed to be interviewed, none of them agreed that schools’ administration should be notified when a student or an employee acquires the virus. They all expressed the same reasons – privacy.
Two of which elaborated their answers that both had the same concern. If the reason behind the notification has no inch of intention to discriminate and would lead to better solutions, they will agree; but they did not think it was probable.
Therefore, whether it is the school, the government, or the parents, condoms should be made available to students and we should accept the fact that people have sex, even students unless we can make sure that they will not patronize premarital sex. In terms of the reduction of the spread of the virus, in common sense, routine HIV testing will reduce the spread of the pandemic virus but in reality, studies differ from one another, thus, routine testing challenges this cause.
Neither rapid HIV tests such as ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) alternatively, EIA (enzyme immunoassay) nor the confirmatory test Western blot can tell how long the virus has been in the patient’ s system. There is no accurate test to check the time the individual contracted the virus and not all patients undergo such tests. Nevertheless, routine tests still do its main purpose, to check if the individual is HIV+ or not. (Wagner, Chapter 3, p. 187) According to the WHO (World Health Organization), Needle-Exchange Programs or SEPs (Syringe-Exchange Programs) substantially reduce the spread of HIV, as well as Hepatitis C among injecting drug users (IDUs).
(Wagner, Chapter 4, p. 211) However, only two of the four interviewees gave an insight into the issue. The HIV counselor interviewed via VoIP agreed that there is a high chance of reducing the transmission of different viruses through SEPs. The RN agreed on it however, he added that this might indirectly nurture the increase of IDUs, especially those who use illegal drugs. Teaching students about HIV, the risks, and its preventive measures is an essential part of reducing the spread of the virus.
Two out of the four interviewees clearly stated that students should know about HIV/AIDS as early as grade school, which should come after sex education before their secondary level. Since high school students are in the stage where they explore things beyond their reach, they must be aware of the risks these things may bring to their lives and the necessary measures to avoid them. Condom use is already prevalent almost anywhere in the world. However, making it available to students by their schools is a different thing.
The four interviewees do not share the same answers but agree on one thing – not anyone of any age should be prohibited to use them. Regarding the issue, whether it should be made available by the student’ s school, the student and the former sex worker agreed on it while the RN and the HIV counselor mentioned that it should depend on the state laws with full consideration of the culture and the ways of the people living in it. Based on the profiles of the interviewees, the top behavior that has the highest risk of HIV infection is promiscuity.
Four out of four interviewees practiced multi sex partners at a time. It will be tough to say the second and third behaviors to complete the top three list. Based on research, 86% of the people diagnosed with HIV acquired the virus through sexual contact, 7% through sharing of syringes among IDUs and the remaining percentage is shared by different cases like sharing sex toys, mother to the baby; before and after giving birth and or by breastfeeding, and accidental pricking by healthcare professionals. Many factors are involved in the increase of HIV cases among African Americans and Latinos in the U. S.
According to the college student interviewed, it could be because of racial discrimination. Since people still have sex, African Americans and Latinos normally get sex partners who are not White. The former sex worker mentioned that Whites are more sophisticated than Blacks are so more Whites undergo routine tests than Blacks. Apart from that, more Whites get better jobs than Blacks. The RN mentioned that a bigger percentage of African Americans and Latinos diagnosed with HIV falls under the underemployed class if employed, which is almost the same as the opinion of the HIV counselor.
He also said that apart from the risky behavior of HIV+ individuals, a bigger percentage of which got their first test at 25 due to unenhanced HIV campaigns that put the unemployed class in danger. The Government should be firm in terms of combating the spread of the HIV pandemic. Since they allocate funds for the medication of HIV/AIDS, allotting funds to combat the spread of it by developing better campaigns will not do any harm if this will decrease the spread of the virus.
To quote the RN, “ An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. ” According to research, (Wagner, Chapter 3, p. 162), 87% of HIV individuals in the US acquired the virus through sexual contact followed by contaminated syringes and others. Thus, practicing safe sex and making sure needles are not contaminated are keys to prevent HIV transmission. All four interviewees based their answers on the study. Different resources are already made available for public consumption to prevent the spread of the HIV pandemic.
The Scientific and Medical community should focus on the cure of the disease or at least vaccines to prevent a person from transmitting or acquiring it. All of the interviewees, in different manners, expressed the need for the much-awaited cure of the pandemic. The RN and HIV counselor added that if there is no cure yet, at least vaccines should be made available to the public to prevent a person from acquiring and/or transmitting the virus.
The vaccine mentioned is a very effective way to avoid coinfection/superinfection. (Wagner, Chapter 3, p. 163) Funds may be an issue on the interviewees’ answers but let the government do the worrying. With everything that has been said, apart from the unknown cure that the world has been waiting for, vaccines for HIV+ and non-HIV individuals would be a great way to soothe the worrying public regarding the spread of the pandemic. Apart from this, coinfection/superinfection is another issue HIV+ individuals worry about coz this will cause more money due to a different set of ARVs (antiretroviral drugs) HIV+ individuals should take to combat the stronger virus in their bodies.
However, we as citizens, whether HIV+ or not, should take necessary precautions to prevent the disease from spreading. This is a global problem and it is not just the Government’ s or the Medical community’ s, we should also take part in this issue and not rely on institutions alone.
ReferencesWagner, Viqi. Aids. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2008. Print.