The issue of HIV/AIDS has been of a great concern. The disease accounts for a significant ratio of total mortality in the countries mostly due to the fact that the disease is incurable. This paper provides information about the disease as a major health epidemic. This paper gives general knowledge about HIV/AIDS such as the reasons why the infection spreads so fast and challenges that HIV/AIDS patients face. Some of the identified challenges include stigmatization and discrimination of the patients. In line with its objective to provide all information about HIV/AIDS and suggest measures that can help in reduction of the infection, this paper has reviewed a number of studies about HIV/AIDS. The studies have helped to formulate recommendations that will help to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS as well as protect people from infection. Finally, this paper has given a brief conclusion about how to ensure the reduction of the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Human Immunodeficiency Syndrome can be referred to as a blood-borne virus that is usually transmitted through sexual intercourse, from mother to child, shared intravenous drug paraphernalia and other contacts of body fluids. It is usually caused by getting infected with HIV-1 or HIV -2 that are both retroviruses in the retroviral family. It has been proven that decreased immunity in the body usually leads to a situation whereby opportunistic infections as well as cancers attack the body, leaving it badly harmed (Picker, Hansen, & Lifson, 2012).
An and Winkler (2010) assert that people have different probabilities of being infected with HIV/AIDS. There is a group of patients, so-called non-progressors, who have high resistance to HIV/AIDS whereby by the disease develops slowly in their bodies, and sometimes they may be completely immune.
According to Aravind, Deepu and Kumar (2014), existence of non-progressors has played a significant role in reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS. The pathological spectrum of the infection of HIV/AIDS is gradually changing due to the formation of new communities that are characterized by different potential opportunistic illnesses. Moreover, medical science has put a lot of effort to study and develop drugs that can be used for protection against the infection of HIV/AIDS. However, HIV/AIDS continues to be a major threat to public health due to its existence in different proteins and a high rate of spread. In this regard, this research paper is aimed at finding out health challenges of HIV/AIDS as a medical epidemic and the plight of the infected patients. The paper will be important in terms of providing field information about the extent to which HIV/AIDS has affected public health and forming a basis for proper medical policies as well as laws that can help in cutting down the spread of the infection.
Biological and Molecular Concepts
Biological and molecular concepts are crucial in the field of medicine while they help in the development of appropriate preventive measures and treatment mechanisms. Moreover, they serve as a basis for public health laws, policies and regulations. According to Scheel and Weinberg (2012), biological and molecular concepts refer to the medical study and understanding of the nature of a gene and the mechanism through which it replicates. Biological and molecular concepts of HIV/AIDS imply that the genes that carry the HIV/AIDS virus exist in different genetic communities which keep changing frequently. Understanding of biological and molecular concepts enlightens health professionals on ways through which they can counter the spread of infectious diseases. The need to develop preventive mechanisms after understanding the nature of the generic composition of the virus enhances the formulation of polices and laws that encourage human actions that inhibit normal functioning of the genes, hence preventing the spread of infectious diseases.
According to Picker et al. (2012), one of the major challenges facing the medical fraternity in their effort to discover treatment for HIV/AIDS or lengthen the lifespan of the infected people is the pathophysiology of HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS occurs in different genetic communities, which make it difficult to predict the behavior and the functioning of the virus. Numerous studies have been conducted on the pathophysiology of HIV/AIDS.
Thus, Lawrence, Miller and Cross (2015) conducted a research on some of the effects of HIV/AIDS on the infected people. The researchers identified their targeted population, which comprised of people infected with HIV/AIDS and randomly picked two samples from the population. The two independent samples were studies separately by using qualitative research methods. Moreover, the researchers conducted interviews in an attempt to detect any unexpected responses from the infected people. The study was carried out in the period between 2010 and 2012. As a result, it was discovered that there are dissociations of memory, emotions and perception in the infected patients. The study concluded that HIV/AIDS affects the normal functioning of a human body.
Similarly, a study by Moore et al. (2013) found out that there are functional changes associated with HIV/AIDS. Moore and his colleagues analyzed the elderly who were infected with HIV/AIDS as the targeted population under study. The objective of the study was to find out whether there is any relationship between the poor body performance of a person living with HIV/AIDS and his or her age. The study mostly relied on the primary data sources in which the researchers recorded the observed behavior of the aged ailing people. The study discovered that the aged who were infected with HIV/AIDS had many cases of stress and had poor cognitive systems. The study concluded that HIV/AIDS indeed affects the functioning of the human body. However, Moore et al. (2013) study recognizes the impact of age on the functioning of an infected body.
Policies, Laws and Regulations related to HIV/AIDS
Medics maintain that HIV/AIDS has detrimental health effects. Some of the health issues related to HIV/AIDS include but are not limited to decreased immunity and other diseases that make a negative psychological impact and cause trauma (Schwartländer et al., 2011). This fact was the basis for adopting laws on HIV/AIDS and other medical issues related to the infection. Some of the laws related to HIV/AIDS include the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which gave HIV/AIDS patients the same legal protection against discrimination as to the disabled (Larson, 2014). The law was enforced through a case that involved an HIV/AIDS victim and a defendant who was medically fit. The case is popularly known as Bragdon vs. Abbot (Picker et al., 2012). In this case, the court ruled that the Congress considered the HIV infection as a disability under the law.
Another similar law related to the protection of people with HIV/AIDS is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2014), which guarantees the privacy of information to the HIV/AIDS patients. This is a legal protection of the right to privacy. The law has been designed in such a way that it protects the privacy of patients’ medical records as well as other health information (Picker et al., 2012). Additionally, it provides patients with direct access to their medical records as well as significant control over the manner in which their personal health records are used and disclosed to any party.
There is yet another basis for public health laws, policies or regulations related to HIV/AIDS, which is the access to medical care for the infected people. The protection of reproductive health as well as sexual health for the infected has been predicated in recognition of the individual rights regarding reproduction and sexuality (Matthews et al., 2013). Women who have been infected with the disease have the right to make a decision about their reproductive health without any outside influence or coercion. They also have the right to receive the necessary prenatal and postnatal healthcare treatment without any discrimination or bias.
Though HIV/AIDS is one of the highly spread diseases in the society, there is evidence that people still need to be educated on the nature of the infection, its spread and the challenges the infected persons can face. Public education will help people to take proper preventive measures and at the same time increase the lifespan of the infected people.
Secondly, stigmatization is a major challenge facing the infected persons. Law enforcers should ensure that those laws that protect the HIV/AIDS patients are always adhered to and the law breakers are charged appropriately. The effectiveness of these laws that protect the infected will play boost the confidence of the sick and help them overcome the trauma that comes with stigmatization.
Lastly, there is still a room for further medical research about HIV/AIDS. Despite protective measures and treatment that reduce the fatality of HIV/AIDS, the medical fraternity is yet to discover a cure for the infection. Medics should, therefore, continue their research with an objective of finding a cure for HIV/AIDS.
It is evident from the facts that have been presented in the paper that any person can get infected with HIV/AIDS regardless of their age, sex or social status. Thus, it was necessary to explain the public the pathophysiology of this disease. This has been an important point that has led to a reduction of discrimination against the infected people, which had been prevailing around the world.
Additionally, it has been important to ensure that stigmatization against the infected persons is countered. There are laws that were adopted in order to protect the rights of the infected; they have been instrumental in ensuring that the infected have equal rights like any healthy person. The basis for these public health laws, policies and regulations has been discrimination, privacy and rights towards health care services.