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Politics and the AIDS epidemic - Research Paper Example

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Politics and AIDS Acquired Immunodeficiency or AIDS is caused by infection with Human immunodeficiency virus or HIV. The first cases of AIDS were reported in 1981. Since then, severe hundreds of thousands of cases have been reported all over the world, including the US…
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Politics and the AIDS epidemic
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Download file to see previous pages The part of the world that is affected worst by HIV infection is the sub-Saharan Africa. As of now, their is neither a cure nor a vaccine for AIDS. Thus, combating the disease is a major challenge for health care providers and biomedical scientists. AIDS and HIV infection represents one of the most public -pressing public health policy and public health problem in the world. Currently AIDS is pandemic and has significant impact on the health care costs. In the current era, HIV infection is considered to be in the end stage of a chronic disease with rapid spread among Hispanics and Blacks (Fox, 1990). Though the disease was first identified in 1981, the mode of transmission of the disease and causating agent was discovered only in 1984. In 1985, detection of the virus was developed and applied to blood transfusions. In 1987, anti-retroviral agents were manufactured and since then there has been constant upgrading of drugs to combat infection, but with no cure or vaccine for the disease. Currently, it is estimated that 850,000 to 950,000 Americans are living with HIV infection/AIDS (Kates, 2004). The disease is a national epidemic with severe effect on specific groups like injection drug users, gay and bisexual men, young individuals and racial and ethnic minorities. Currently, it is also increasingly affecting communities which are economically backward and also women. Since the time AIDS was diagnosed for the first time in the United States, the relationships among politics, science and health care policy have changed drastically. In the 1980s, the HIV epidemic's politics were dominated mainly by four interacting factors fear and fascination, individuals involved in the contraction and spread of the disease, endemic problems of the social policy of United States and the impact of scientific knowledge advances on policy (Fox, 1990). During the initial years, politics was considered as inimical for prevention, but not it is considered as central. The main challenge is to facilitate prevention of spread of the virus through policies that protect the most vulnerable population. During the first decade of the AIDS epidemic in the US, the policies were hostile to several areas of research like sexuality and meedle exchange. The political climate last decade was more sympathetic and effective health policies were not there because of two important issues. One was the issue as to whether efforts towards prevention was to be targeted for high risk populations and high risk geographic areas alone, or, must be broadly based. The other was issue was uncertainty of involvement of democratic participation including various local health departments, federal government agencies and community-based organizations (Bayer, 1997). As far as international politics with regard to HIV infection/AIDS is concerned, World Bank has a major role to play for international health with regard to AIDS pandemic. The bank is mainly responsible for various efforts to combat factors contributing to the AIDS like poverty, in countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Initially, several structural adjustment programs which were often criticized by the critics were promoted. These developed several negative consequences and the World Bank, along with International Monetary Fund focused on health related issues. AIDS evoked political response and also government action. It was initially ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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