The public health problem I select is HIV/AIDS WITHIN THE African American population. The HIV epidemic in United States in alarming, however it is becoming particularly alarming more so within the African American community. It is not long ago since the first case of HIV/AIDS among the African American community was identified. The first case was identified in the 1980’s. HIV/AIDS was thought to be a disease that doesn’t exist in the African American community it was initially thought to be mainly affected by gay men and intravenous drug users.
However, in 1983, that misconception quickly changed as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) documented the first cases of HIV/AIDS in an African American women. Who acquired HIV thought sex with an intravenous drug user. From that point forward, the HIV/ AIDS epidemic among African American began spreading rapidly. This epidemic within the African American Community is an extremely important public health problem; to date African Americans communities have been grossly impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Moreover, studies continues to show that the rates of HIV transmission within the African Americans are continuously getting higher and are not declining in response to effective interventions as they are among whites. Thus, there is an urgent need to understand the reasons surrounding the continuous incline of this deadly epidemic in the African American community, so we can reduce the numbers of HIV/AIDS. There are many risk factors that contribute to the higher rates of HIV/AIDS in the African American Community.
Risk factors such as; Sexual risk behaviors, such as unprotected sex with multiple partners, with a partner who also has other sex partners, or with persons at high risk for HIV infection can be common in some communities. Moreover, African Americans continue to experience higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) than any other race/ethnicity in the US. Also socioeconomic issues associated with poverty, including limited access to quality health care, housing, and HIV prevention education, directly and indirectly increase the risk for HIV infection and affect the health of people living with HIV.
Another risk factor is lack of awareness of HIV status. As per the CDC in a recent study of men who have sex with men (MSM) in five cities, 67% of the HIV infected black MSM were unaware of their infection. Lastly, Stigma where by many at risk for HIV infection fear stigma more than knowing their status, choosing instead to hide their high-risk behavior rather than seek counseling and testing.