Statistics

A public/community health problem analysis

In the face of this ever increasing problem, several strategies have been developed and enacted worldwide for the effective screening, timely diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of HIV/AIDS and the sixth Millennium Development Goal (MDG) aims to control and counter the spread of this ailment by the year 2015 (Global Health Council, 2010). This paper overviews the scope and magnitude of the burden of HIV/AIDS in the Seattle, Washington population, identifies and discusses the existing issues related to the provision of optimal care for individuals affected by HIV/AIDS and proposes some recommendations to overcome this issue. Epidemiology: Ever since the first case of AIDS was diagnosed in America in the year 1981, the incidence of HIV/ AIDS has been on a continual rise (AVERT, 2010). In the last several decades, an exponential rise in the incidence and prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the United States has been witnessed and this can be gauged from the fact that currently, approximately over a million people with HIV and AIDS are residing in the United States (UNAIDS, 2010) and each year almost 50,000 individuals are newly infected by HIV in the United States only, one-fifth of whom are unaware of their disease status (Moore, 2010). Moreover, it has also been observed that even in developed nations such as the U.S, a significant fraction of individuals who are aware of their disease status are not involved in accessing the health care facilities for this disease (Moore, 2010). In order to devise effective screening, diagnostic, treatment and monitoring strategies for HIV/AIDS, a clear understanding of the various risk factors and modes of transmission is required. It has been elucidated that there are several groups of individuals which are particularly at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS. These high risk groups include injection drug abusers, men who have sex with men (MSM), i.e. homosexual individuals, and from an infected mother to her infant (Beyrer, 2007). Moreover, it has been found that there are three main modes of transmission of HIV/AIDS, viz. via contact with infected body fluids, such as blood, semen, etc. via sexual contact with infected individuals and vertical transmission from the mother to the fetus during the antenatal period or during birth via passage through the birth canal (Leblebicioglu, 2007). Most preventive strategies for HIV/AIDS are focused on the reduction of transmission of HIV/AIDS via these routes and creating awareness amongst the general population, and in particular amongst those who are at high risk for contracting and transmitting HIV/AIDS regarding this debilitating disease. Scope of the Problem in Seattle, Washington: The magnitude of this problem in the state of Washington is reflected by the statistics reported by the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which reveal that in the year 2007, the Seattle metropolitan statistical area ranked 24th in the number of Aids cases reported annually with a case rate of 10.9 per 100,000 population (Public Health – Seattle King County, 2011). Moreover, a study conducted by the Department of Public Health – Seattle King County elucidated that King County was the top amongst all Washington counties having the highest AIDS rates and

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