Name Institution Date Epidemiology for the Social Determinants of Health 1. Introduction The paper explores the history, incidence and prevalence of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) within Australia by exploring current statistics and the demographic patterns of people who suffer from the disease…
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It additionally provides a brief literature review addressing the sociologist’s view of the disease and a conclusion describing the current situation of the disease in Australia. AIDS is a viral syndrome caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), affecting a person’s immune system making the body susceptible to opportunistic infections (Ostrow, 2009). The opportunistic infections are generally harmless to people who are in good health but threaten the lives of the people who have been infected with the AIDS virus (Brady, 2004). The disease currently has no cure, although there are drugs that are being used to prolong the life of the victims and improve quality of that life. HIV is transmitted via contact with contaminated body fluids, most commonly through sexual intercourse with infected persons, and blood transfusion (Francouer & Francouer, 2004). 2. Epidemiology The history of, AIDS in Australia is quite unique. This is because Australia’s past ruling regimes became acquainted with the disease early and responded to the disease by utilizing several swift measures in an attempt to control its spread (Spencer, 2006). Australia currently has among the best prevention and education programs concerning the disease in the world (Willis, Reynolds & Helen, 2008). This has enabled the country’s government to maintain among the lowest rates of infection from the disease in the world (Spencer, 2006). The disease as first reported in the country in 1982, though it claimed its first victim in the year 1983 in Melbourne (Brady, 2004). The most instrumental groups of people in the fight against the disease came from the homosexual communities who were fearful of the disease’s prevalence within their networks (Smith, 2008). They helped in establishing the first councils in the country that were responsible for fighting the disease. These councils began as early as 1983 with many of them being formed in regions like the south and western areas of Australia. In the regions of Victoria, Tasmania along with Queensland the councils came up in the year 1983. All the councils currently found in the country are controlled by the Australian federation for AIDS organizations (Miller, Vandome, & McBrewster, 2010). As at December 2010, over 21,390 people had been diagnosed as living with the HIV virus within the country. Since the disease became an epidemic in the country, there have been reportedly over 31,486 people who have been diagnosed with the disease with over 6,700 deaths being recorded (Brady, 2004). The following table shows the number of males and females respectively who have been diagnosed with the HIV and AIDS since it became known over the years (Willis, Reynolds & Helen, 2008). Table 1. Number of people diagnosed with HIV and AIDS since 1987-2010 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2007) HIV AIDS YEAR MALES FEMALES TOTAL MALES FEMALES TOTAL From 1987 and before 6,846 236 7,116 762 35 797 From 1988 to 2010 19,927 2,065 28,633 9,080 533 9,649 TOTALS 26,773 2,301 29,395 9,842 568 10,446 The infection rates within the country have steadily risen since the year 1987 though in between the years the infection rates have been gradually reducing in the recent past (Brady, 2004). This has been facilitated by the efforts being applied by the AIDS councils previously established in preventing and educating the masses concerning controlling the disease. This includes their antiretroviral therapies and their stressing on
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