Health Promotion: American HIV Prevention

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

That is the scope of the problem with which we are dealing: How to use well-proven tools of health promotion to regain the ground we've recently lost against AIDS.

Purpose Of The Study

The purpose of our study is simple: To collect and analyze information from various sectors dealing with health promotion and lifestyle change manners Americans must implement in order to combat AIDS.

As we discussed above, science alone will not stem the growth of this virus. A shift in Americans' thinking and actions, with regard to the spiritual, emotional, intellectual, physical and social aspects of their health and their health education is the only way to stop HIV's spread.

From an intellectual perspective, not nearly enough work has been done linking HIV prevention to health promotion techniques and beliefs. This paper will attempt to link the two in a productive and accurate manner.

The Importance Of The Study

The importance of the study is best encapsulated in this recent finding published by the Cable News Network: "After years of steady rates, some health experts said they are concerned the number of HIV infections are on the rise in the United States. The 25 states that track HIV cases are reporting an increase in new diagnoses, a striking change from the 1990s when the number of new infections remained stable at about 40,000 a year. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. "We're very concerned about the possibility of a resurgence in HIV in the United States," said Dr. Ronald Valdiserri of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

In fact, in addition to the 8% increase, the number of new AIDS cases has risen by 1%. The reason? As we indicated above, "Several factors seem to contribute to this high-risk behavior," said Dr. Harold Jaffe, also with the CDC, "including fading memories of the early epidemic, illicit drug use and treatment optimism." Sabina Hirshfield, director of the Medical and Health Research Association of New York City, said another factor might be tied to the use of the Internet to meet potential sex partners. Her clinic's survey of almost 3,000 gay men who said they frequent chat rooms found that 84% claimed they meet sex partners online and almost two-thirds admitted to unprotected sex."

Noticeably, these are not scientific factors, they are factors of understanding and society. That is where the real danger lies.

And concurrently, that is the importance of our study: to determine what is being done, and through that, what more can be done, to prevent the further spread of the HIV virus.

Scope Of The Study

The scope of the study will not reach behind HIV in America. HIV is a larger problem, as discussed above, in many African countries and in India than it is here in America, but unfortunately, only America has the resources to make a concerted lifestyle switch work from a health promotion perspective. Small steps may be made in foreign countries stricken by AIDS, but it is in America where these steps can truly be tested and borne out.

That is why this paper will concern itself only with the lifestyle changes being pressed for HIV prevention in America.

Rationale Of The Study

The rationale of the study is quite simply historical trends and current programs and future plans. This paper will examine data showing trends in HIV prevention in America in light of the various prevention and education programs, with a goal to evincing that health promotion styles of prevention are the most effective, and more funding is needed for such lifestyle change programs if America is to make serious inroads against AIDS.

The paper will take, as its rationale, the idea that what has worked in the past, if improved and modified for the times and current circumstances, will work again today. For instance, if certain lifestyle switch health promotion tactics worked to reduce the occurrences of AIDS in America in the 1990s, a version of the same tactics, changed to reflect Americans' current views and understanding of AIDS, will work today.

Definition Of Terms

All data exhibited in this paper, and all analysis, will reflect the HIV and AIDS situation in America unless specifically noted.

Health promotion will refer to the definition cited in this paper's introduction: "Health promotion is the science and art of helping people change their lifestyle to move toward a state of optimal health. Optimal health is defined as a balance of physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual health. Lifestyle change can be facilitated through a combination of efforts to enhance awareness, change behavior and create environments that support good health practices. Of the three, supportive environments will probably have the greatest impact in producing lasting change."

This paper will concentrate on examining HIV and AIDS prevention from a lifestyle change perspective only. Vaccines will not be dealt with. Obviously, the most ideal way to prevent AIDS is to develop a vaccine. But, as this paper discussed earlier, the vaccine is still years away, if not decades, and in the mean time, Americans will continue to contract HIV, and HIV patients will continue to develop AIDS, and AIDS patients will continue to die. Unless, as this paper will attempt to prove, America introduces effective health promotion yet again.

Overview Of The Study

In general, through discussing the various methods of health promotion with regards to HIV in America, this paper will suggest a number of paths our federal and state governments and charity organizations should take in order to reduce HIV and AIDS.

The paper will present policy and funding suggestions based on what has worked in the past and also on health promotion experts' views and analyses of what will work in the future.

But in order to get to policy suggestions, a thorough overview of the programs in existence is necessary. Therefore, the bulk of the paper will discuss data from various resources cataloging attempts to stop the growth of the HIV / AIDS virus in America.

Chapter 3,

Review Of Related Literature

The literature reviewed (and contained in the bibliography) deal with current events and data with regards to health promotion and the HIV virus.

Much information was taken from Web sites that chronicle the emergence of AIDS as a deathly scourge in America to the 1990s when the United States made great inroads against AIDS, to today, when certain populations, such as women and minorities, are taking steps backwards in infection.

The literature reviewed takes a strong stance against simple symptomatic care. Rather, it stresses a more holistic approach, which approaches very closely the theme for this paper: health promotion.

This paper extrapolates from the data contained in the literature reviewed in order to paint a clear picture of what needs to be done by America and Americans to engender a lifestyle switch that health promotion experts feel is the only way HIV can be slowed before a vaccine is developed.

As discussed elsewhere in the paper, the data used is from secondary sources cited in the bibliography and in the footnotes in every chapter. This reliance on secondary sources stems from the fact that HIV / AIDS is a disease that is very difficult to do independent research on.

Chapter 3: Methodology

Describe The Approach

The approach for this paper is, quite simply, to sift through as much information as is available regarding HIV / AIDS and health promotion. Much of this information is located on the Web, by virtue of the nature of HIV / AIDS.

Information is only as valuable as it is accessible, which is why most groups on the cutting edge of health promotion with regard to HIV / AIDS store, display and disseminate their information on the Internet.

Also, the paper will focus on data and research done not on AIDS symptoms and the difficulty of living with HIV, but on the prevalence of the virus in Americans. The focus here is not on symptomatic care, per se, although the paper will refer to such programs and methods as well.

The focus of this paper is primarily on health promotion as a means of reducing the prevalence of the disease. Experts agree that modern drugs can make an HIV patient's life much more livable and tenable, but those drugs are toxic, and AIDS is always fatal: It is only a matter of time: "The powerful and expensive medicines that today prolong life for many people with HIV have changed people's attitudes toward the disease, some officials said. "HIV is a serious disease," said Cornelius Baker, director of the Whitman-Walker Clinic in Washington. "It's not as simple as just taking a pill and you're OK."

Of equal concern to this paper's research will be the fact that so many Americans have HIV but do not know it. These Americans are arguably the most dangerous for the spread of the disease, as they may continue to pursue certain lifestyles that…