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Monday, July 1, 2013

Essay on AIDS as an International Public Health Threat

INSTRUCTIONS:  Post an essay about what you consider to be one of the most urgent
international public health threats we face. Include why you believe the threat is significant and propose methods to improve our readiness

AIDS Major Health Threat
            Over the last two decades, AIDS has become a serious public health threat. In United States alone, more than one million Americans are reportedly living with HIV and AIDS. Around the globe there are over 40 million individuals are suffering from this illness; and about 30 million have already died since its discovery in 1981. More than these, reports suggest that number of people infected with HIV and AIDS will continue to increase in many countries. The result will particularly be catastrophic in sub-Saharan African, a region already infested by the virus (Avert, 2013, p.1).
            The very nature of HIV and AIDS is one of the primary reasons behind its spread. Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or more popularly referred to as AIDS is an illness related to the human immune system. It is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus in which the person experiences symptoms similar to influenza. This includes fever, headache, throat inflammation and tender lymph nodes. After which, the patient will undergo a prolonged symptomless period. As the disease develops, the person will experience various conditions and infections. More often than not, the infected is initially unaware of his or her condition as it does not show any distinct symptoms. This then makes allows the patient to unknowingly spread the virus to another person, thus turning it into an epidemic (Avert, 2013, p.1).
            Additionally, HIV and AIDS are regarded as opportunistic infections. This means that the virus is easily spread through sexual intercourse or exposure to infected blood and other bodily liquids and tissues. According to reports, majority of the cases happens through heterosexual contacts. This is most evident in countries in which contraceptives such as condoms are unpopular as well as in low-income regions where prostitution is rampant. In some countries however, the pattern of transmission occurs most among homosexuals, particularly sexual contact between men. With such patterns, it apparent that HIV and AIDS is a condition in which socio-economic conditions as well as culture plays a crucial part. This then makes the disease a major threat among developing countries and even marginalized sectors of the society (Parker, 2002, p.343).
            Although HIV and AIDS have been discovered for more than the three decades, this condition continues to have no cure or vaccine. Consequently, the unavailability of a vaccine or cure gives the virus opportunity to infect more people. More so, necessary services and information on how to prevent HIV and AIDS are still inaccessible to poor countries, thus making it easily acquired and transmittable (Parker, 2002, p.343).
            Despite of these however, it is still possible to control and ultimately stop HIV and AIDS from becoming a full-blown health threat. There are a number of methods that can be used to prevent the virus from spreading and infecting more people. One of which is information. The access to education and information regarding the disease itself as well as how it can be prevented can save many lives. It is however important to emphasize that there must be a universal access to these information particularly to poor countries and areas. This can be done by placing educational brochures and pamphlets in community clinics as well as by incorporating HIV and AIDS education in school curriculum. Similarly, the government and organizations must make it a point to have a widespread success for HIV and AIDS testing and treatment. Access to such services will hinder the continuous spread of the virus.
            It is evident that AIDS and HIV is one of the deadliest health threats of the modern world. However, through proper education and access to testing and other treatment services, the spread of this disease can effectively and efficiently managed and ultimately stopped.

“Global HIV/AIDS. (2013) Avert. Retrieved 1 July 2013, from
Parker, R. (2002). “The Global HIV/AIDS Pandemic. Public Health, 92. 343-347

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