Social Support Among African American Women With HIV
African Americans introduce the most severe and crucial HIV burden between any other race and ethnicity represented in the USA. The problem worsens by the fact that the number of newly infected females is growing rapidly as well as the number of people ever-diagnosed AIDS-related diseases. “The origin of HIV is a subject of great controversy” (Aulette-Root et al., 2014). This study investigates the level of treatment compliance and social support among African women with HIV. “HIV infection is highest among black” (Myles, 2009). Despite available medical regiments aimed to lower the rates of deaths among the population. Because the virus is quickly spreading among African women in comparison with other segments of the population, South Africa appears to be the main source and gateway of HIV-positive representatives of African American females. Most of them are under 20. This fact results in various other challenges including social and economic aspects of their life in the United States.
“African women have several vulnerabilities” (Fuller, 2008). Though they can now take the advantage of available medical regiments that let HIV-positive people live a longer life rather than considering HIV as an immediate death penalty considering 200 000 deaths. However, the availability of advanced medication and social support does not always mean patients can achieve demanded suppression of the virus. The key problem is the fact that the number of African females with HIV is increasing quicker in comparison with all other segments of the population, which means that treatment compliance and social support are not on a necessary level. The study is to depict practical examples of African-American women to maintain and achieve HIV suppression and virus therapies. The main mission is to have a clear vision of how social and medical support can affect medication adherence.
Why there are so many blacks with HIV in the United States? What is the main cause of the problem? Is there a permanent solution? Various factors influence the level of HIV-positive African American women. Poverty, drug addiction, lack of information, and sexual diseases are among the key reasons for the problem Americans have faced. Blacks are less insured than white people. It results in the fact they are not able to obtain proper medical information as well as necessary treatment to stop the progression of the virus. All people sometimes face financial problems. However, it is harder for blacks to handle them considering drug addiction, which makes the increase of financial challenges more intensive and tough. A high percentage of African-American women
are financially dependent. They are weak when it comes to protecting themselves from the unfair sexual treatment of men. All these problems must be solved using proper social support and sexual education programs.
Background of the Study
The main problem is that blacks do not receive a proper solution or sometimes do not have the slightest opportunity to use the help provided. It is hard to overcome difficulties in case a person does not recognize them. A lack of information is probably one of
the key points that are necessary to consider. The latest statistic shows that a vast number of HIV-positive women do not realize they are infected. In other words, they keep on spreading the virus instead of treating it. The consequences can be rather crucial. Blacks do remember a historical example described in Tuskegee Syphilis Study when a disease burst out, and people did not even know about the explosion. Surveys show that the majority of black
The latest statistic shows that over 44% of HIV-infected Americans are African women. They include individuals among not only adults but also adolescents under 13. The situation results in the fact they face a huge number of tough challenges that contribute to a higher rate of infection. Considering their tendency to live in communities and have sexual relations with the same race and ethnicity, African women have a higher risk of AIDS-related diseases. This is why “diagnosing HIV infection is a critical tool in both prevention and treatment” (Cannon, 2010).
“Vulnerability to HIV infection is now recognized internationally” (Turshen, 2000). South Africa represents the highest-profile of HIV epidemic “becoming the gateway for the HIV-virus to ignite” and “leading the way in HIV prevalence and spread” (Waithera, 2011; Myles, 2009). “There are currently 13.3 million women living with HIV and AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa” (Shu-Acquaye et al., 2008). South Africa implements one of the most efficient global treatment programs largely financed from its resources. It seems like some of those models can certainly come in handy when used in the United States.
Purpose of the Study
This study evaluates the efficiency rate of implemented treatment and social support programs aimed to help African women with HIV. The study is based on the latest research and statistics provided by leading HIV clinical program coordinators. The study is based on a particular informational background collected from the interviews and official statistics highlighting results of new educational and medical programs implemented in the United States. Social support and sexual education in African communities are still the key components to handle the situation and spreading the virus.
Research question, hypotheses, and variables
This study is to investigate and answer key questions that arise when analyzing the latest statistical data. The main mission is to indicate what steps should be taken to improve the situation. Various social and treatment programs have already been launched. However, they are not as efficient as they seem. On the other hand, there is an example of South Africa with even more HIV-positive women. The situation there is improving. Research questions are the following:
- Why does the virus spread so fast? Why are African American women under the HIV attack?
- What steps have been taken? Are new steps necessary?
- Is there an efficient treatment or social support program? Does it call for updating?
- Does the problem threaten the rest of the population in the nearest future? How can people protect themselves from the virus?
The main problem is that “20 percent of those infected with HIV in the United States (and not just the black community) do not know they are carrying the infection” (Patel & Rushefsky, 2014). In addition, “poverty is a major underlying factor in HIV infection among African Americans” (Gilbert & Wright, 2003). On the other hand, there is an opinion that “HIV holds a special place in the hierarchy of social stigma” (Kronenfeld, 2015). It means that convicted offenders can benefit from common beliefs regarding the black community. This fact can eventually make it clear, why there is a difference between HIV testing support and regular delays in the testing of those who call for care and treatment.
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Cannon, C. (2010). Handbook of HIV and Social Work: Principles, Practice, and Populations. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc.
Gilbert, D., & Wright, E. (2003). African American Women and HIV/AIDS: Critical Responses. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc.
Fuller, L. (2008). African Women’s Unique Vulnerabilities to HIV/AIDS: Communication And Promises. New York, NY: PALGRAVE MCMILLAN.
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