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Epidemiology Overview and Analysis

Introduction

Health professionals need to engage in case finding, collect data, and report various diseases that could be affecting the wellbeing of different citizens. Communicable illnesses are dangerous since they spread fast and can affect more people if left unmonitored. Epidemiologists should apply their competencies effectively, liaise with different experts, and launch projects that can eventually support the health demands of all the identified beneficiaries. Since HIV/AIDS remains a problematic disease today, health care professionals, community health nurses, and government-sponsored agencies should collaborate and use the epidemiologic triangle to support the collection of high-quality data and formulate evidence-based strategies to manage it, reduce infections, and encourage more patients to get the relevant treatment.

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Disease Description

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a communicable life-threatening disease that develops after a person is infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This microorganism has the potential to interfere with the human immune system, thereby making it incapable of fighting opportunistic illnesses (GBD 2017 HIV Collaborators, 2019). The primary modes of transmission for the disease-causing virus among individuals include unprotected sexual intercourse, blood donation, and sharing of syringes and needles (Kharsany & Karim, 2016). Babies can also get the virus from their mothers during birth or through breastfeeding. The unique symptoms associated with HIV/AIDS infection are fever, rash, diarrhea, weight loss, cough, sore throat, night sweats, headaches, and muscle aches (Rouleau, Richard, Côté, Gagnon, & Pelletier, 2019). However, such signs will disappear until the development of AIDS after around 8-10 years. The patient will become more exposed to opportunistic diseases, such as cancers, tuberculosis, and meningitis. Additional symptoms will appear after the onset of AIDS, including chronic diarrhea, unexplained tiredness, weight loss, bumps and skin rashes, and chills.

HIV/AIDS has some unique complications that patients and practitioners need to take into consideration. The leading ones include toxoplasmosis, candidiasis, pneumonia, and neuropathy. Although this disease does not have a known treatment, medical experts and researchers have succeeded in producing drugs that can help patients lead better, longer, and healthier lives (Rouleau et al., 2019). These medications are given the name antiretroviral therapy (ART). Such a treatment regimen is essential and needs to be taken every single day to prolong the possibility of developing AIDS. Physicians and clinicians advise patients to take these drugs and eat healthy foods.

In terms of mortality, HIV/AIDS claims around 0.7 million people across the globe annually (Ghys, Williams, Over, Hallett, & Godfrey-Faussett, 2018). Fortunately, this rate has been reducing within the past decade. The morbidity for HIV/AIDS morbidity at a global scale is around 37.9 million individuals (Rouleau et al., 2019). Around 1.7 million such people are young children while the incidence of HIV is around 0.9-1.1 million cases annually (Ghys et al., 2018). The prevalence of this disease is around 0.8 percentage of the global population (Rouleau et al., 2019). HIV is a reportable disease whereby healthcare professionals in different states and across the globe need to provide relevant information about every new case. In the United States, medical experts should report such cases to their respective state health departments.

Social Determinants of Health

The nature of this communicable disease explains why it has a wide range of social determinants. Kharsany and Karim (2016) indicate that societies have numerous factors that explain why HIV/AIDS remains a challenge at the global level today. For example, individuals living in poverty and those who are homeless or lack basic education will have increased chances of contracting the disease. Some individuals will be lured by their colleagues and relatives to engage in sexual intercourse. Ghys et al. (2018) believe that people who have mental illnesses are usually at risk of experiencing physical and sexual abuse and eventually contracting the disease. The common malpractices of wife inheritance and sharing in underdeveloped countries contribute to this disease. Cases of addiction and domestic violence are associated with increased HIV/AIDS infections. This knowledge should guide human services professionals and medical experts, and community organizers to collaborate and consider some of the best strategies to mitigate them and protect more people from becoming infected.

Epidemiologic Triangle

Healthcare professionals and epidemiologists should be aware of how diseases spread from one person to another. An epidemiologic triangle is a powerful tool that can guide people to get the required information about a certain illness and how it would spread in a given population. The three parts of this tool include the environment, the host, and the agent (Kharsany & Karim, 2016). For HIV/AIDS, the causal microorganism is the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The host is the organism that is capable of carrying the disease-causing virus and transmitting it to another one (Ghys et al., 2018). In the case of this disease, human beings and apes are the primary hosts that have the potential to develop AIDS and infect others with the virus.

The environment would refer to the socioeconomic attributes that have the potential to impact the rate at which HIV spreads in a human population. For instance, increased cases of poverty and homelessness tend to be associated with new infections. Regions associated with inappropriate moral values and principles will record higher cases of infection (GBD 2017 HIV Collaborators, 2019). Additionally, poor and inadequate testing for HIV/AIDS, increased sexual activity, and the absence of proper ART treatment will encourage more individuals to misbehave and eventually report additional cases of HIV/AIDS.

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This analysis reveals that there are specific aspects and considerations for schools, community members, and the general population to consider. First, health professionals can consider the importance of educational campaigns to teach more people about this disease and how the existing environmental factors could result in increased incidence rates (Ghys et al., 2018). Second, such experts can introduce HIV education in schools to inform more students about this condition and how human beings transmit it amongst themselves.

Third, the general public can benefit from pamphlets, posters, and community-based resources aimed at educating them about the dangers of unprotected sex and how they can be involved to minimize cases of transmission. Finally, all individuals should have access to the relevant information regarding the effectiveness of ART therapy and how it works to protect and prolong the lives of those who might have contracted the virus (GBD 2017 HIV Collaborators, 2019). The use of this tool will ensure that more people in the community are aware of the issues associated with HIV/AIDS and appreciate the fact that there is no known remedy for it.

Community Health Nurse

Community health nurses (CHNs) are medical experts who collaborate with other professionals in the field of medical care to improve the wellbeing of their respective communities. They engage in educational activities that sensitize more people about some of the common diseases, how they can protect themselves, and the most appropriate nutritional and health practices that can improve their health outcomes (Rouleau et al., 2019). They will usually target community members who do not have medical insurance cover.

For the case of HIV/AIDS, these professionals will engage in case finding by testing individuals who might be at risk of contracting the virus. They will report the acquired information to the relevant health departments in their jurisdictions. Such CHNs will engage in data collection exercises to identify some of the diseases affecting the population, incidence rate, and offer guidelines for supporting the delivery of personalized services (Kharsany & Karim, 2016). After gathering the required data, such professionals would rely on various analytical systems to present additional insights that can guide policymaking processes. Follow-up is a common exercise associated with this field since they need to provide additional support and medication to improve the wellbeing of those who might have HIV/AIDS.

Similarly, demographic data is essential to the health of a specific community since it becomes the point of reference for learning more about new infections, the percentage of the population that is at risk, and the number of people who already have the targeted condition. This knowledge will guide all key stakeholders to collaborate, provide relevant support, introduce health promotion campaigns, and consider personalized services to improve the overall outcomes of more citizens (Rouleau et al., 2019). These aspects explain why all CHNs should engage in such roles to collect demographic data and present it to support the formulation of evidence-based clinical decisions. Such measures eventually ensure that more people record positive health experiences.

National Agency

The social and economic impact of HIV/AIDS explains why the American government supports different agencies and organizations to complete various activities that can eventually tackle it and make it possible for more citizens to protect themselves against it. The selected one for this discussion is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This national institute is funded by the American government to conduct studies and present timely findings that can guide more citizens to overcome most of the diseases affecting them (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d.). This agency has been operating in accordance with the National HIV/AIDS (NHAS) roadmap outlined by the government in 2010 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d.). CDC has been keen to outline unique targets and priorities that are essential for preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The 2010 model was intended to deliver various goals and ensure that the rate of infections remained extremely low. For instance, the roadmap was aimed at guiding different stakeholders to reduce the incidence rate by around 25 percent. The plan was also intended to ensure that more people were aware of their HIV statuses and encourage them to take the relevant medication (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d.). The other goal was to increase the percentage of diagnoses focusing on African Americans and Latinos. The realization of such aims would support the country’s fight against HIV/AIDS.

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Being the primary agency tasked with the objective of preventing HIV/AIDS in the United States, this organization has been implementing evidence-based initiatives that can ensure that the NHAS vision is achieved. It has supported the established programs intended to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS. It provides the relevant funding, instructions, and technical assistance to ensure that positive results are recorded (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d.). The experts working for CDC will track the data different researchers and scholars present after completing their surveillance activities. With this information, the agency partners with other institutions to formulate ad support the implementation of new interventions that have the potential to deliver positive results.

The agency has considered the importance of campaigns that can empower and take more people closer to their goals. For example, the Let’s Stop HIV Together has become popular in the country. This initiative is intended to train and encourage more people to overcome all complacencies and malpractices that can result in new infections. Those who consider this program acquire new ideas for engaging in self-protection (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d.). Through these initiatives, CDC has succeeded in supporting the reduction of the overall infections recorded in the country. The roles of this agency are critical to ensure that more Americans do not get infected with HIV/AIDS.

Global Implication

HIV/AIDS could be studied as a disease that has global implications. The above analysis has indicated that it affects people in different parts of the world. However, most of the individuals in underdeveloped countries are affected the most since they report the increased incidence and morbidity rates in comparison with the global averages. The disease affects people in every corner of the globe, thereby becoming a priority for almost all governments and healthcare institutions (Kharsany & Karim, 2016). Researchers in the fields of drug development and disease management has been involved at the international level to study HIV/AIDS and consider emerging ideas that could meet the demands of more patients.

In European countries, there are health departments and organizations that work together to maximize testing, promote the implementation of training programs, and encourage more patients to get the relevant medications. For example, the United Kingdom has expanded testing to estimate the percentage of citizens who could be having the disease. Patients are compelled to remain on treatment to suppress their viral loads and be unable to transmit the microorganism to other people (National Aids Trust, 2020). Consequently, most of the nations in this continent have succeeded in managing the condition and making it possible for more people to have better and longer lives.

In the developing world, additional efforts and initiatives are needed to overcome this communicable disease since it continues to claim more lives. For instance, many African countries lack proper testing mechanisms and strategies to ensure that more citizens infected with HIV/AIDS receive the required drugs. The majority of the people are uninformed about the major practices that can result in maximum protection against HIV/AIDS (GBD 2017 HIV Collaborators, 2019). These gaps explain why governments in such countries should maximize their resources and implement additional programs to educate and guide more people to learn more about the disease. They should also consider the importance of acquiring adequate drugs that will support those who have the disease and live longer and healthier lives. From this analysis, it is noticeable that HIV is not endemic to any particular area. This description means that it is a health challenge affecting the global community.

Conclusion

The above discussion has identified HIV/AIDS as one of the communicable diseases affecting human beings today. Health care professionals, epidemiologists, community health nurses, and government-sponsored agencies should collaborate and apply the epidemiologic triangle to support the collection of high-quality data that guide the formulation of strategies to control it. Additionally, the international community needs to formulate evidence-based strategies to manage this disease by reducing infections and encouraging more patients to get the relevant ART treatment.

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). The national HIV/AIDS strategy. Web.

GBD 2017 HIV Collaborators. (2019). Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and mortality of HIV, 1980–2017, and forecasts to 2030, for 195 countries and territories: A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2017. The Lancet, 6(12), E831-E859.

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Ghys, P. D., Williams, B. G., Over, M., Hallett, T. B., & Godfrey-Faussett, P. (2018). Epidemiological metrics and benchmarks for a transition in the HIV epidemic. PLoS Medicine, 15(10), e1002678.

Kharsany, A. B. M., & Karim, Q. A. (2016). HIV infection and aids in Sub-Saharan Africa: Current status, challenges and opportunities. The Open AIDS Journal, 10, 34-48.

National Aids Trust. (2020). HIV in the UK statistics – 2018. Web.

Rouleau, G., Richard, L., Côté, J., Gagnon, M., & Pelletier, J. (2019). Nursing practice to support people living with HIV with antiretroviral therapy adherence: A qualitative study. Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, 30(4), e20-e37.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 15). Epidemiology Overview and Analysis. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/epidemiology-overview-and-analysis/

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