The increasing rate of HIV incidences has been of great concern to health practitioners. HIV education has been sensitized in the school curriculum to reduce incidences among the youth. HIV is transmitted through semen, blood, breast milk, and vaginal fluids. Physicians argue that antiretroviral therapy is the best form of treatment for HIV. However, one should note that the treatment option does not provide a permanent cure for the ailment. HIV health determinants help individuals identify their likelihood of contracting the ailments. These determinants include personal lifestyles and sociodemographic characteristics. Poverty could force a woman to use sex as a payment method. In that position, it might be hard for her to negotiate safe intercourse. UNAIDS has sought to create awareness about HIV by engaging with community health nurses. The nurses act as a bridge between UNAIDS and society, especially for members in rural areas.
The educational curriculum has become more sensitive to HIV and AIDS, especially for teenagers and young adults. Students have benefited from HIV and AIDS education as they develop and maintain safer habits to combat the disease’s rising incidence. The human immunodeficiency virus targets the immune system, making it less effective at protecting individuals from illnesses. Considering there is now no effective treatment for HIV, people must be informed about the disease. Therefore, this paper will provide an overview of HIV, the demographic interest in the illness, the determinants of health, and how those factors contribute to the development of HIV. The paper will also expound on the epidemiologic triangle of HIV, the role of the community health nurse in HIV, and an organization that addresses, resolves, or reduces the impact of HIV.
An Overview of HIV
An individual needs to understand the causes and symptoms of a disease as it helps one prevent acquiring it. Medical professionals have become interested in the global rise in HIV infection, and as a result, they have worked to share the disease’s symptoms and causes to lower recurrence. HIV, which causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome exists in two types, HIV-1 and HIV-2 (Sharp & Hahn, 2011: p.1). Individuals’ knowledge of their HIV status depends on their understanding of the symptoms. Many individuals experience varied HIV symptoms. When some experience flu-like symptoms within two to four weeks after infection, others could live with HIV having no symptoms. However, the most common symptoms of HIV are fever, rapid weight loss, sore throat, chronic diarrhea, swollen lymph nodes, rashes, muscle aches, fatigue, chills, mouth ulcers, and night sweats. Therefore, understanding HIV symptoms prompts an individual to get tested.
Understanding the cause of a disease prompts an individual to seek appropriate treatment options for the ailment. Researchers realized that high-risk behaviors such as early sexual debut, multiple sexual partnerships, limited condom use, and intimate partner violence had influenced the causal factors of HIV (Mabaso et al., 2018: p.1). The main causal factors of HIV are the transmission of blood, semen, breast milk, vaginal and rectal bodily fluids. These fluids are transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse; mother-to-child during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding; sharing unsterilized sharp objects; and unscreened blood transfusion. Physicians have advised that antiretroviral drugs are the best option for HIV treatment: (Simon et al., 2006: p.490). However, it is important to note that antiretroviral drugs do not cure HIV. The drugs repress HIV infection, thus improving the quality of life for the patient. The antiretroviral drug also helps reduce the replication of HIV in the blood, thereby lessening the viral load to an undetectable level. Expectant mothers with HIV are also advised to take antiretroviral drugs to avoid transmitting infections to children during delivery and breastfeeding. Therefore understanding the cause of HIV helps an individual identify the best preventive method.
The Demographic Interest in HIV
HIV is still a serious public health issue with diverse effects on different populations. Current statistics argue that thirty-eight million people live with HIV, nearly 36.2 million adults and 1.8 million children (Worku et al., 2021: p.1). Eighty-one percent of people living with HIV know their status, and about nineteen million remain unaware. Various physicians have gained interest in understanding demographic characteristics such as age, race, gender, education, sexual orientation, or marital status and how they relate to HIV. The year 2020 recorded an increase in HIV incidences. The statistics proved that Black or African American people accounted for twenty-six percent of the new cases, while Hispanics made for twenty-one percent. The transgender community accounted for two percent of the statistics, while heterosexual people comprised twenty-two percent. According to the statistics, people aged thirteen to thirty-four accounted for fifty-seven percent, while those aged twenty-five to thirty-four made up thirty-seven percent. HIV affects various demographic groups differently, so individuals need to be aware of these factors.
Health determinants and how those factors contribute to the development of HIV
Health determinants influence an individual’s likelihood of contracting an infectious illness. Health determinants of HIV are grouped into sociodemographic characteristics and personal lifestyle (Alcocer-Bruno et al., 2020: p.1). Sociodemographic factors include age, sexual orientation, relationship, and economic status. Youth are at a higher risk of acquiring HIV than the older generation. Youth have higher rates of sexual experimentation, more chances of having sex, and less understanding of HIV, increasing their risk of contracting the disease. Sexual orientation has significantly influenced the rising cases of HIV. Gay and Bisexual people are at a higher risk of exposure to HIV than heterosexual partners. The community lays lower importance on the use of condoms and therefore increasing their risk of transmitting HIV. Personal lifestyles play a significant role in the development of risky sexual behaviors. Food insecurity as a way of life, particularly for women, has the potential to contribute to HIV infection. Women living in poverty may use sex as payment for food and other basic needs. In such a position, those women are unable to bargain for safer sex and putting them a risk of acquiring HIV. Therefore, individuals must be conscious of health determinants to reduce their chance of contracting HIV.
HIV’s epidemiologic triangle
For science students, understanding the epidemiologic triangle is crucial because it clarifies how infectious diseases are transmitted. The three vertices of the epidemiologic triangle describe the pathogens, hosts, and environments that influence the spread of disease (Nwabuko, Ogbonna, Thomas, Obiora, 2020: p.35). Concerning HIV, the host of HIV are people susceptible to the virus. People susceptible to HIV repeatedly have sexual intercourse with different partners. The social norms in one’s surroundings impact the likelihood of contracting HIV. The usage of substances that lessen sexual inhibitions, patterns of sexual partnering, and contraceptive choices are all influenced by social norms. A society that believes in open relationships will have more cases of HIV infections than those that advocate for monogamous relationships. Lastly, an agent for HIV is HIV-1. HIV-1 exists in different subtypes. However, an infected person must be aware of their strain. Some patients’ strains reject the antiretroviral drugs, while others possess two strains, especially when infected with more than one person. Therefore, the epidemiologic triangle helps understand HIV’s agent, environment, and host.
The role of the community health nurse
Community health nurses play an integral role in reducing cases of HIV and improving the treatment of infected people. Large health corporations have sought to work with community health nurses due to their familiarity with local issues, rapport with society, and lower human resources costs (Busza et al., 2018: p.328). Community health nurses act as a bridge between society and health government agencies. Community members will be inclined to seek help from these nurses; therefore, the government must engage them when addressing HIV issues. Therefore, the main roles of community health nurses are to refer society members for HIV testing, link infected people to care services, accompany them to clinic appointments, and provide psychosocial support.
An organization that addresses resolves, or reduces the impact of HIV.
UNAIDS is one of the major organizations that seek to address, resolve, and reduce the impact of HIV globally. The UNAIDS bases its efforts on essential pillars when addressing HIV. The three pillars include assured access to comprehensive HIV services, building a supportive environment for patients, and reducing factors influencing HIV. The UNAIDS adopted the 90-90-90 agenda to reduce HIV cases in 2020 (Ssekalembe et al., 2020: p.47). The UNAIDS had targeted to reach ninety percent of people living with HIV to know their status. Ninety percent of people diagnosed with HIV infection receive antiretroviral therapy. Ninety percent of HIV patients receiving antiretroviral drugs will have viral suppression. The organization also freely distributes resources such as condoms and pre-exposure prophylaxis that help reduces cases of HIV. Therefore, UNAIDS is an essential organization that has sought to address, resolve, and reduce the impact of HIV.
Conclusion and Implications for Practice
In conclusion, HIV is a major public health problem that has affected countries globally. Governments are losing their labor market due to the infection. The main infection transmission source is sexual intercourse, where bodily fluids such as semen, blood, and vaginal are exchanged. Physicians have recommended antiretroviral drugs for the treatment of the virus. Physicians have also highlighted the importance of understanding health determinants and their influence on HIV. Larger health organizations like UNAIDS have employed community health nurses in their attempts to reduce cases of HIV. The nurses refer infected patients to necessary services and educate them about the virus. The UNAIDS adopted the 90-90-90 agenda, which targeted infected people. The agenda sought to provide antiretroviral drugs and testing services. HIV negatively impacts society; thus, institutions like UNAIDS and society must work together to prevent it.
Alcocer-Bruno, C., Ferrer-Cascales, R., Ruiz-Robledillo, N., Sánchez-SanSegundo, M., & Zaragoza-Martí, A. (2020). Personal and Lifestyle Determinants of HIV Transmission Risk in Spanish University Students. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(22). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228332
Busza, J., Dauya, E., Bandason, T., Simms, V., Chikwari, C. D., Makamba, M., Mchugh, G., Munyati, S., Chonzi, P., & Ferrand, R. A. (2018). The role of community health workers in improving HIV treatment outcomes in children: Lessons learned from the Zenith trial in Zimbabwe. Health Policy and Planning, 33(3), 328–334. https://doi.org/10.1093/heapol/czx187
Mabaso, M., Sokhela, Z., Mohlabane, N., Chibi, B., Zuma, K., & Simbayi, L. (2018). Determinants of HIV infection among adolescent girls and young women aged 15–24 years in South Africa: A 2012 population-based National Household Survey. BMC Public Health, 18(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-5051-3
Nwabuko, Ogbonna, & Obiora, Thomas. (2020). Epidemiology in the News -the case of COVID-19 pandemic disease. IOSR Journal of Dental and Medical Sciences. 19. 35-38. 10.9790/0853-1905043538.
Sharp, P. M., & Hahn, B. H. (2011). Origins of HIV and the AIDS pandemic. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine, 1(1). https://doi.org/10.1101/cshperspect.a006841
Simon, V., Ho, D. D., & Abdool Karim, Q. (2006). HIV/AIDS epidemiology, pathogenesis, prevention, and treatment. The Lancet, 368(9534), 489–504. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0140-6736(06)69157-5
Ssekalembe, G., Isfandiari, M. A., & Suprianto, H. (2020). Current status towards 90-90-90 unaids target and factors associated with HIV viral load suppression in Kediri city, Indonesia. HIV/AIDS – Research and Palliative Care, Volume 12, 47–57. https://doi.org/10.2147/hiv.s231173
Worku, M. G., Tesema, G. A., & Teshale, A. B. (2021). Prevalence and associated factors of HIV testing among reproductive-age women in Eastern Africa: Multilevel Analysis of demographic and health Surveys. BMC Public Health, 21(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-021-11292-9