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HIV/AIDS, A Global Health Problem

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Description of Global Health

Global Health refers to prevalent health problems that go beyond the national borders of any given country such as infectious diseases and some of the insect borne diseases that can easily spread from one country to another. Global Health includes other health problems that have major magnitudes so as to have a global political and economic impact.

Description of Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) as a Global Health Problem.

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the most advanced stage characterized by occurrence of any of the opportunistic infections or related cancers that occurs when one is infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) that infects and destroys the body’s immune system. This virus attacks vital body immunity cells hence leading to decreased level of the immunity making it prone to other opportunistic infections. HIV is a retrovirus that infects and destroys cells and some of the body neurons hence depleting its immunity (Ltd, 2010).

As earlier noted, AIDS is a result of HIV infection. This virus is usually transmitted via sexual intercourse (vaginal, oral or anal) with an infected person; sharing of contaminated needles, syringes, or other similar sharp instruments or transfusions of contaminated blood. It is also transmitted between during pregnancy between a mother and her baby, childbirth or even breastfeeding. But what are the contributing factors that lead to these infections (Ltd, 2010)?

There are many social, biological and economic factors that arguably contribute to the infection and spread of AIDS. Amongst the factors that have continuously led to HIV Spread are Gender Orientation, Social Status, and Lack of Information amongst most population. The feeling of Invincibility, Infection with Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and Alcohol and drug abuse are also some of the factors as articulated by Patria Rojas (Patria Rojas, 2011)


From the above it is clear that HIV/AIDS is a crosscutting issue whose effects are entrenched to all people and both poor and the rich regardless of their gender. This syndrome therefore has a great impact on the global economic arena and political sphere. But how is HIV/AIDS related with Nursing?

On the onset of other opportunistic infections such as TB amongst others, usually at the prevalent final stage, the patient requires a lot of attention and nursing so as to offer them physical, social and emotional attention. Similarly, Aids led to an increasing number of Orphans who after the death of their parents need to be loved and provided with a well balanced stake of life. In such instances, Nurses are very fundamental since they have the professional capacity to offer care to the orphans. Relatives and friends of the infected person are equally prone to emotional and social dysfunctions. Michelle Burden Leslie, Judith A. Stein, Mary Jane Rotheram. (2002), in their journal noted that medications meant to counter opportunistic infections can cause emotional reactions hence affecting the emotional and social development.

This may affect the person’s emotional life that further spreads to the workplace and other social places. Once diagnosed with the syndrome, initial feeling of shock and denial will most often turn to guilt, fear, sadness and sense of hopelessness. This may lead to withdrawal from the society hence shielding one off the social life. It is at these times that a person will need professional support as well as support from friends and family members. This forms a vicious cycle that touches on the individuals infected and those affected often with negative impacts. (Rotheram-Borus, February 2002).More so, Nursing school are taking the lead in HIV/AIDS researches thus any meaningful development and breakthrough in HIV/AIDS almost goes hand in hand with the nursing and nurses.

Contrast: How Aids is viewed America and in South Africa.

HIV/AIDS in America is viewed as a gay and urban problem and disproportionately affects black Americans and Hispanic Americans who exist in both major metropolitan areas and rural areas. (AVERT, 2011)America has acknowledged HIV/AIDS as an endemic and in its fight back have established the National Hiv/Aids Strategy for the United States whose vision is:

“The United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare and when they do occur, every person, regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination”

It is therefore evident from the above vision statement that the America not only views HIV as a national Health problem but has also put structures such as policies in place to mitigate this problem.

In South Africa, a study carried out by Harvard indicated that there were poor policies to mitigate the effects of HIV/AIDS. It further notes that South African government would have prevented the premature deaths estimated at 365,000 people earlier this decade if it had provided antiretroviral drugs (Pride Chigwedere, 2008). Such poor policy managements therefore reflects how the South African Government viewed HIV/AIDS in light weight with one the top government officials, the health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang ridiculing the remedy to HIV/AIDS by suggesting the use of lemon and garlic to cure it (DUGGER, CELIA W., 2008).

It is to be noted that the number of people living with Aids was 5.6 Million this being the highest number anywhere else in the world thus South Africa had the Highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate during this time (UNAIDS, 2010).

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