The study has demonstrated that as the target population infected with the disease has changed over the last few decades, so has the means by which the people are infected. During HIV/AIDS’ early years, it was usually transmitted through homosexual copulation and IV drug usage. But nowadays, the disease usually spread through heterosexual coition. African-American men are usually infected through homosexual congress, whereas African-American women are infected through heterosexual copulation.
The study also demonstrated that the chances of death from other illnesses were higher in the African-American and other minority communities compared to the whites. This may be due to several factors, including poor medical care, socio-economic issues and behavioral factors. The African-American population in the US has very poor access to healthcare facilities. They also demonstrate unique but risky cultural beliefs, practices and behavior, which includes injected drug abuse and homosexual coition.
Hence, HIV/AIDS should also be taken into consideration for this population. Indeed, as the African-American population have been more often affected with chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, stroke, heart attack and cancer in the past, HIV/AIDS can be seen frequently complicating the course of these diseases. These complications suggest the urgency of the problem and the need to solve the problem immediately. (Robles & Stringer Jr. , 2006, & Cargill & Stone, 2005) Nature of the Study
It is important that behavioral research and community programs are conducted to ensure that a method to prevent and reduce the incidences of HIV/AIDS is identified. For example it has also been realized that drug abuse may increase the risk of the individual indulging in risky sexual behavior, thus increasing the risk for HIV infection. Social research and behavior modification play a very important role in this regard, especially in the African-American community. (Zenilman, 2005) Definition of Terms 1. HIV – HIV stands for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and is a sexually transmitted disease.
It is mainly transmitted through unprotected anal and vaginal intercourse, blood and blood products, the sharing of intravenous drug equipment, and during childbirth. AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Immune deficiency means that a person’s immune system is prevented from operating properly and he or she is more prone to opportunistic infections. A syndrome is a group of symptoms or illnesses originating from one cause; in this case, HIV. 2. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) – An STD is a bacteria, virus or infection that may be passed from one individual to another by sexual contact.
It is also referred to as VD (venereal disease). These diseases include herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital warts and HIV. 3. AIDS Wasting Syndrome – The involuntary weight loss of 10% of baseline body weight, accompanied with either chronic diarrhea (2 loose stools per day for 30 days or more) or chronic weakness and fever (lasting 30 days or more, internittent or constant) in the absence of a concurrent illness or condition other than HIV infection that would explain the findings. 4.
AIDS-Related Cancer – Certain cancer types that are more likely to occur in people who are infected with HIV. The most common types are Kaposi’s sarcoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Other AIDS-related cancers include Hodgkin’s disease and cancers of the lung, mouth, cervix, and digestive system. 5. CD4 – Also known as the t-cell. It indicates the number of antibodies present in a human body. HIV-positive persons have a t-cell count of less than 200. 6. HIV Disease – The broad spectrum of diseases associated with HIV transmission.
If untreated, HIV disease typically progress slowly from asymptomatic infection to worsening immunocompromise to full-blown AIDS. In general, this process takes about ten years, though this can vary widely from person to person. 7. ARV – Also known as antiretroviral drugs, these are medications used for the treatment of infections caused by HIV. ARVs do not cure HIV or full-blown AIDS. 8. Marginalization – A process by which an individual or a group is denied access to important positions and symbols of economic, religious or political power within any society.
9. Homophobia – Homophobia refers to the fear by heterosexuals of being in close quarters with homosexuals. It can also pertain to the denial that closeted homosexuals use in suppressing their real sexual orientation. 10. Cultural Oppression – Cultural oppression is derived from the loss of cultural identity, either imposed or denied. Assumptions and Limitations The impact of HIV/AIDS on the African-American population has been severe and needs to be sorted out immediately.
Initially, HIV/AIDS seemed to be a condition affecting homosexual men, but several factors such as poor socio-economic conditions, drug abuse and poor access to healthcare facilities have resulted in the African-Americans developing the disease more frequently than other segments of the US population. The outcome of the disease is also poor due to the abject quality of healthcare provided, lack of medical insurance, lack of adherence to treatment measures, inequality and discrimination.
Besides, neither government nor private organizations have been interested in including the African-American populations in clinical trials. This may be due to several factors such as racial bias, attitudes and beliefs towards drug trials, and lack of exposure to the healthcare system. It is important that the African-American populations be included in clinical trials to ensure that the factors responsible for higher incidences and poor outcomes of the disease be recognized and managed appropriately.
During the drug therapy, it is important that the patients adheres to the treatment guidelines and retains treatment as suggested by the physician. The physician should also be available to ensure that any problem the patient faces with respect to the drug therapy is handled appropriately. ARV therapy for HIV/AIDS is providing better outcomes for the disease with fewer risks and side effects involved. However, the condition of the patient needs to be monitored during drug therapy to ensure that any problems are adequately addressed. (Robles & Stringer Jr., 2006, Karim, 2007, Berg, Michelson & Safren, 2007 & Cargill & Stone, 2005)
AIDS-Related Caner.Retrieved on January 8, 2008 from http://www. cancer. gov/Templates/db_alpha. aspx? CdrID=444964 Appendices A. Definition of Terms. PDF File. Retrieved on January 8, 2008 from www. bridgesandfoundations. usask. ca/reports/Romanow_Append_1. pdf – Definition of AIDS Wasting Syndrome. Retrieved on January 8, 2008 from http://www. medterms. com/script/main/art. asp? articlekey=40740 Berg, C. J. , S. E. Michelson & S. A. Safren. (2007).
Behavioral Aspects of HIV Care: Adherence, Depression, Substance Use and HIV Transmission Behaviors. Infectious Disease Clinics of North America, 21, 1. Cargill, V. A. & V. E. Stone. (2005). HIV/AIDS: A Minority Health Issue. Medical Clinics of North America, 89, 4. Karim, S. S. (2007). Global Epidemiology of HIV-AIDS. Global Epidemiology of HIV- AIDS, 21, 1. Robles, A. M. & H. G. Stringer, Jr. (2006). HIV-AIDS in Minorities. Clinics in Chest Medicine, 27, 3. Zenilman, J. M. (2005). Behavioral Interventions – Rationale, Measurement and Effectiveness. Infectious Disease Clinics of North America, 19, 2.