The rate at which young people around the globe are contracting HIV and AIDS is alarming. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2017), youths in America alone accounted for almost 25% of HIV cases in 2015. The situation is expected to be worse in Mississippi where poverty and consequently, the lack of access to education are the talk of the day. Working in a humanitarian agency in Mississippi, I propose a program that can provide youths with the appropriate awareness as a means to address the risk factors to HIV and AIDS.
The Purpose of the Program
The project aims at providing the necessary HIV and AIDS awareness among Mississippi’s youthful population, which consists of almost 500,000 individuals aged 13 to 24 years. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017). Mississippi is ranked among the poorest regions in America, where approximately 700,000 citizens are below the poverty limit (Bertrand, 2014). Here, financial constraints leave parents with no or limited access to basic services, including food, health, and education (Reif, Wilson, & Berger, 2015).
Hence, the rising cases of HIV and AIDS in this state may be attributable to the lack of awareness concerning the disease, for instance, how it is transmitted, how it can be avoided, and how infected youths can cope with the virus without posing any health risk to HIV-free people. The implementation of a program in Mississippi focusing on these key deliverables will not only enhance the region’s health status but will also boost its productivity since a huge share of finances that have all along been allocated to fighting the HIV menace among youths will be channeled to other productive projects such as education and food security initiatives.
The Target Population
According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2016), 13-24-year-olds in the U.S. make up more than 43 million people. Mississippi alone accounts for almost 15% of the entire American youthful population. This program targets Mississippi youths whose age lies within the 13-24-year range. This class of people is expected to be in school. However, those within this age category and out of school because of inevitable reasons such as disability will also be attended to by a group of trained individuals who will be doing house-to-house education. This target population will be exposed to information concerning HIV and AIDS, including its mode of transmission, prevention, and coping mechanisms.
Benefits of the Program
The number of deaths is expected to be more in a region such as Mississippi, where HIV-positive youths are not capable of accessing the required medication at least to reduce the rate of multiplication of the virus. Furthermore, parents of infected young people here cannot provide the recommended diet, owing to their level of poverty and hence the lack of funds to purchase the right food. Those who have access to funds, too are not equipped with the appropriate information concerning the management of HIV and AIDS or even the mode of transmission of the virus. Hence, a health program that can enlighten the people of Mississippi on these issues will be fruitful towards reducing the number of deaths associated with HIV and AIDS.
In addition, the U.S. government has been allocating a significant amount of funds to manage its HIV-positive citizens, for instance, through purchasing ARVs among other drugs that suppress the multiplication of the virus (Reif et al., 2015). In some cases, the government releases inadequate financial resources in areas such as Mississippi to the extent that many HIV-positive people in this region cannot access such drugs (Reif et al., 2015). Since this program is expected to equip Mississippi’s youthful population with the appropriate information concerning HIV and AIDS, it will substantially cut the amount spent by the U.S. government in addressing this specific health issue. HIV-negative youths will be equipped with strategies of avoiding contradicting the virus while the already infected ones will be aware of how to avoid transmitting it to others, including how to manage the situation without threatening their lives.
The Cost of the Program and Justification
The program is expected to run for 3 years. A baseline survey costing 100,000 USD will be done within the first 3 months of year one, where approximately all youths in Mississippi will be voluntarily tested for HIV to know the number of those infected and those who are negative before rolling out the awareness program. A control group of at most 30,000 youths from a region outside Mississippi will also be screened at a cost of 30,000 USD. Another 150,000 USD will be allocated to the awareness campaign that will run for 2 years where all schools within Mississippi will be involved, including those out of school but within the targeted age gap. This cost will include airing adverts on TVs to raise the awareness. An additional 100,000 USD will be allocated to an endline survey where another HIV screening will be done to determine whether the program had any impact when gauged against the controlled group. A further 20,000 USD will be spent on publishing a report that will be shared among the respective government officials, including the Ministry of Education in Mississippi, for review and input. Hence, the program will require approximately 400,000 USD.
Conclusion: Program Assessment
As earlier mentioned, an endline survey will be done to determine whether cases of new HIV infections have reduced, increased, or remained unchanged. A positive change will imply that the program has been effective in reducing instances of new infections among youths in Mississippi. Conclusively, it will be possible for the initiative to be rolled out across other regions in the U.S., owing to its capacity to not only enhance health among youths but also cut the government’s spending on HIV-related matters.
Bertrand, N. (2014). The 10 poorest states in America. Business Insider. Web.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). HIV among youth. Web.
Reif, S., Wilson, E., & Berger, M. (2015). HIV infrastructure study. Web.
U.S. Census Bureau. (2016). Annual estimates of the resident population for selected age groups by sex for the united states, states, counties, and Puerto Rico Commonwealth and Municipios. Web.