Fried Eye says- In our previous issue Anupam Dabral had given us a detailed picture of the history and the magnitude of the problem of AIDS. Here he writes about the policies to tackle AIDS. So can we hope for an AIDS society for our children? Read the first part of this article here
Looking at the earlier lacunas the Obama aids policy concentrates on three main objectives reduction on the number of HIV infected people, increased access to proper health care and reducing the HIV related health disparities.
The vision for the National HIV/AIDS Strategy is simple:
“The United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare and when they do occur, every person, regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination”
The American health agencies who prepared the NATIONAL HIV/AIDS HEALTH STRATEGY have made it very clear that there are certain minorities which are vulnerable to the HIV virus this includes gay and bisexual men of all races and ethnicities, Black men and women, Latinos and Latinas, people struggling with addiction, including injection drug users, and people in geographic hot spots, including the United States South and Northeast, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The efforts are to be concentrated on such communities, as these are the one’s which lack education, awareness and proper representation in the politics.
Education, strategic use of medicine, expansion of medical research and proper disclosure of facts related to the actual situation of AIDS is very important.
One of the biggest requirements is to help and bring private and public sectors together to fight this demon, they need to go into the depth of the problem, solve it at community level, and increase diversification of the health services providers, to reduce stigma and other social biases pertaining to it. Increase the coordination of HIV programs across the Federal government and between federal agencies and state, territorial, tribal, and local governments.
There are three critical steps that we must take to reduce HIV infections:
1. Intensify HIV prevention efforts in communities where HIV is most heavily concentrated.
2. Expand targeted efforts to prevent HIV infection using a combination of effective, evidence-based approaches.
3. Educate all Americans about the threat of HIV and how to prevent it.
CONCENTRATION ON GAY AND BISEXUAL MEN:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gay men comprise approximately 2 percent of the U.S. population, but 53 percent of new infections. White gay men constitute the greatest number of new infections, but Black and Latino gay men are at disproportionate risk for infection. Even though gay and bisexual men comprise only two percent of the U.S. population (4 percent of men).Gay and bisexual men of all races are the only group in the United States where the estimated number of new HIV infections is rising annually.
They are 44 to 86 times more likely to become infected with HIV than other men, and 40 to 77 times more likely to become infected than women. Approximately one-half of the 1.1 million persons living with HIV in the United States are gay and bisexual men, and they account for the majority (53 percent) of new HIV infections each year. High rates of HIV among gay men are found not only in large urban areas. More than half of all AIDS cases diagnosed in the United States are among gay and bisexual men irrespective of town or city size.
CONCENTRATION ON OTHER MINORITIES:
Black men and women represent only 13 percent of the population, but account for 46% of people living with HIV. Among Blacks, gay and bisexual men are at greatest risk for HIV infection followed by women, and heterosexual men. One study of five major cities found that nearly percent of all Black gay and bisexual men were HIV-positive. Sixty-four percent of all women living with HIV/AIDS are Black.
According to the CDC, the rate of new AIDS diagnoses among Latino men is three times that of White men, and the rate among Latinas is five times that of White women. Gay and bisexual men represent the greatest proportion of HIV cases among Latinos followed by heterosexual Latinas. People who inject drugs are a relatively small share of the U.S. population, but they are disproportionately represented in the HIV epidemic. It is estimated that there are about 1 million injection drug users (IDUs), but injection drug use accounts for approximately 16 percent of new HIV infections in the United States .
IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION PERATINING TO AIDS:
The lack of proper information about AIDS and ambiguous factual details about AIDS are some reason for the reckless spread of AIDS in America today. There are communities which are still not aware of the consequences , once they are infected. They are to made aware of AIDS, its ways of prevention and to remove paranoias attached to it. HIV awareness and education needs to be universally integrated into all educational environments and health and wellness initiatives.
Information about HIV is important to include in any wellness context promoting healthy behaviors, including sexual health.
The bodies must also ensure that all health and wellness practitioners (peer counselors, intake specialists, doctors, nurses, and other health professionals) are also educated about HIV, especially in programs for undeserved communities.
ADOPTING COMMUNITY LEVEL APPROACHES :
In some heavily impacted communities, preventing HIV in one individual at a time will not meaningfully impact the overall epidemic. Individuals in some communities are at higher risk for HIV infection even if they personally engage in comparable or lower risk behavior than individuals in other communities. To address this greater vulnerability to HIV infection, it is necessary to reduce the high proportion of individuals in these communities who are living with HIV.
The viral load of a person living with HIV is associated with transmissibility. Moreover, the scientific evidence shows that the average viral load among all diagnosed HIV-positive individuals in a given community who are in care is strongly associated with the number of new infections that occur in that community. Thus, places with a high community viral load are also places where uninfected individuals are at greater risk for acquiring HIV than neighborhoods or other localities with a comparatively lower viral load. Innovative solutions such as reducing community viral load may help reduce the number of new HIV infections in specific communities that may, in turn, reduce disparities in HIV infection.
Morality, Self restraint and acceptance are three inevitable components of a strong and a secure society, but the irony is , how does one define morality in today’s times or rather how do we define immorality in today’s times . Which is a bigger sin, sexual promiscuity or treating a particular group of individuals as a social pariah .The entire politics of AIDS has been a potpourri of opinions , self loath and hypocrisy where morality has been a curtain to hide a lot of things that go in the corridors of international politics , public health has been something that has been neglected. There a people dying because of AIDS, judging them will not help but medicines will.
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