Although it is a common perception that HIV management in America has achieved significant success due to various interventions by the health sector, there are some segments of the American population whose HIV infection statistics are approaching the ones in Sub-Saharan Africa. Looking at the social economic similarities and disparities among the high risk groups in America and Africa, it is possible to draw conclusions on major aspects in relation to the spread of HIV. The conclusions might offer some insight towards dealing with one of the world’s most prevalent pandemic.
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Statistics from Sub-Saharan Africa indicate that almost 70% of the population has been infected with HIV. (El-Sadr, 2010). However, when specific populations are viewed separately the same situation can be observed within the populations. For instance, statistics indicate that HIV prevalence in U.S cities among gay men is close to 30%. These numbers are more than HIV prevalence in some countries like Kenya where it is estimated at 7.8% (El-Sadr, 2010). The same findings are also evident when looking at African-American men and drug users. In Africa, the situation is quickly changing where high prevalence is now being observed in married couples. Statistics from Southern-African countries where HIV is prevalent than any part in Africa indicate that more than 60% of new cases are observed in married couples or couples who have lived together for more than five years. (World Health Organization, 2009). Initially, high HIV prevalence in Africa was always observed in young adults who had multiple partners. However, since the introduction of condoms and the campaigns conducted prevalence has now shifted to married couples and this shift is already worrying policy makers. Despite the fact that the reduction in the number of new cases has been greatly applauded, the trends may spell doom to some segments of the population when the approach is not reviewed. (Jobrin, 2008). The ABC (Abstinence Be faithful and Condoms) in Africa mostly high risk groups such as young adults and commercial sex workers. In America the increase in prevalence of HIV infections among the gay men has been largely attributed to sexual networks that they belong to.
The same conclusion has also been drawn concerning persons who inject themselves with drugs. Therefore, there is some aspect of social concern that the current HIV prevention approaches have not been able to penetrate among these groups. (El-Sadr, 2010) Despite the high liberal approach with regard to gay communities in America, a significant percentage of the population has not been able to come into terms with the existence of these groups. The implication is that most gay persons are still reluctant of disclosing their sexual orientation and this presents difficulty to health care workers. The same situation is observed in persons who inject themselves with drugs. Due to the fear their harbor of being stigmatized by the society, they confine themselves into groups that are not usually reachable by the conventional HIV prevention strategies. From the African point of view, most couples feign faithfulness while in real sense they have other partners outside their current relationships. (World Health Organization, 2009). Furthermore, cultural beliefs limit the use of condoms among married persons.
Current approaches in dealing with HIV should start targeting these emerging high risk groups if at all the fight against the pandemic is going to be won. Although there is a decrease in the number of new cases of being recorded worldwide, the emergence of the new high risk groups and the fact that little is being done may threaten the success. This holistic approach has the capacity to promise a sustainable success in future.