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HIV Infections and African-American Women - Essay Example

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The present paper is focused on the issue of AIDS and its sufferers. Notably, Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and its causative agent, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), have challenged scientists and society as a whole for more than two decades. …
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HIV Infections and African-American Women
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Download file to see previous pages Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) have challenged scientists, researchers, health professionals, and general society for more than twenty years. The greatest challenge for scientists and researchers has been to develop a vaccine for the virus, while for health professionals and society as a whole, the challenge has been in the prevention of new HIV infections. Thus far, development of a successful vaccine has been prevented due to the ability of the virus to effectively evade any immune-mediated strategies that are directed against it. With nine known genetic subtypes, HIV is already genetically diverse, and new strains continue to emerge, making vaccine development even more difficult. In essence, the high mutation rate of HIV means that scientists are attempting to hit a target that is constantly moving (Tonks, 2007). On the other hand, as knowledge of the virus and its associated syndrome increases, those who are infected are living longer and experiencing a better quality of life than was possible even ten years ago. With improved medication and more advanced approaches to treatment, HIV has become more a chronic condition than an immediate death sentence.
Prior to acting on a decision to advance my education and pursue a Master’s degree in Community/Public Health Nursing, I developed an aspiration to involve myself actively in the mission to find a vaccination, cure, or even a more effective preventative strategy for HIV.
As a member of the United States Public Health Service and an employee of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, I was quickly introduced to HIV on a massive scale. In the United States, eight million individuals pass through correctional systems every year (Boutwell & Rich, 2004). Due to the increasing imprisonment of drug users and the disproportionate incarceration of minorities, the number of people with HIV or AIDS behind bars in the U.S. is more than three times higher than in the general population (Ammon & McLemore, 2007).
As inmates in the prison system are predominantly African-American and account for the majority of HIV diagnoses, I began to wonder about how many of the girlfriends and wives who visited daily knew about the HIV status of their partners. On their release, would those inmates eventually infect their loved ones It was during this time that I realized that the belief that HIV largely affected homosexual Caucasian males was a serious ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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