8 Ways to Fight Poverty to End HIV
April 8, 2016
If we are serious about ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic, then it is time that we look at the whole picture. Each of us are the sum of everything that makes us who we are. HIV is merely one tiny piece of the lives that consumers have to deal with. For some it is a tiny piece, while for others it is a gigantic piece that is all-consuming. While we are focusing on prevention strategies, we must also turn our eyes towards the whole person -- and this should include more education and robust strategies to end poverty, not only for those of us living with HIV/AIDS, but also for those at risk of acquiring HIV.
The consumers that I see every day come to me not with one problem or even just two, but countless problems that have contributed to their HIV status and other sexual health issues. The answer I propose starts with working to solve the very tenets of poverty.
In many communities, HIV is a collateral cost rooted in poverty. In order to be effective and to bring about real multigenerational change, each of us need to examine the role that we can play in ending poverty and the collateral damage it causes.
Support for this can be seen with Ryan White Care, which helps to provide full wrap-around services for those who are living with HIV. I propose that we employ this same strategy as HIV prevention, much earlier. We as a society must ask ourselves: Why do we see higher HIV rates in low-income communities? From that question it can be concluded that poverty is a contributing factor to HIV transmission.
Here's what this would include:
We have been fighting HIV and AIDS for the last thirty-plus years. As with all strategies, we much stop from time to time and take stock of where we are and where we are going. Through it all, we have groups that have seen little to no change in their rates of infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest report, diagnoses among Latino and white women have declined steadily over the decade (35% and 30%, respectively). Despite these recent gains, African-American women continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV, accounting for 6 in 10 diagnoses among women in 2014. Latino men and women accounted for nearly a quarter (23%) of all new HIV diagnoses, while representing only 17% of the population.
Improvements in one group can not be viewed as a success when other groups continue to see large numbers of infections. Either we can continue to treat people only when they walk into an HIV clinic or we can explore what we can do years prior. What I propose has the power not only to reduce HIV infection rates, but also to bring about improvements in community health and education initiatives and the general quality of life in our communities.
This article was provided by TheBody.
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