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HIV/AIDS in Human Services Essay

HIV/AIDS is a worldwide pandemic that has ravished the lives of countless millions of people, since its discovery, more than 30 years ago. HIV/AIDS can be addressed through all three models of service delivery. Each of the models (Medical Model, Public Health Model and Human Services Model) may approach this issue differently, but they all have the same central focus; which is to combat this, ever evolving, global phenomenon. The Medical Model is going to address the issue of HIV/AIDS through four elements. First, the Medical Model will indentify symptom that lead to a diagnosis, then treatment of the disease and finally, research for a possible cure (Woodside & McClam, 2011, p. 99). The first element, of symptoms, is a bit tricky in regards to HIV/AIDS. Symptoms of HIV, which is short for human immunodeficiency virus, may not show up in a positive patient for over a decade (“AIDS Healthcare Foundation | Learn About HIV and AIDS”, n.d.).

AIDS, which stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome, develops in the final stages of HIV. Once the patient has reached that point, the immune system is too weak to fight viruses and the body is more susceptible to acquire various cancers (“AIDS Healthcare Foundation | Learn About HIV and AIDS”, n.d.). Therefore, with HIV/AIDS, diagnosis of the disease will most likely come before the symptoms. Following symptoms and diagnosis, is the element of treatment. Treatment of HIV/AIDS comes in the form of Antiretrovirals (ARVs). “Today, there are 31 antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat HIV infection” (“Treatment of HIV Infection, NIAID, NIH”, 2012).

These drug combinations work to give the HIV positive patients a longer, healthier life. ARVs are only a treatment to subdue the virus; they are not a cure (“Treatment of HIV Infection, NIAID, NIH”, 2012). The final element, in the Medical Health Model, is cure. This year, at the International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C, which I personal attended, talk of a cure emerged. As of today, there is no proven cure to the virus, but we are at least on the way to an AIDS Free generation, as promised by Hillary Clinton at this year’s AIDS Conference (Norman, 2012). The Medical Health Model’s strengths lie in treating the disease from the inside. But disease affects the whole person, not just their body. The Medical Health Model does not address the social or interpersonal issues associated with the virus.

The mission of the Public Health Model is focused on promoting physical as well as mental health, prevention and encouraging healthy behaviors (Woodside & McClam, 2011, p.109). In relation to HIV/AIDS, this means prevention in the form of pre/post-exposure prophylaxis treatment and education, as well as social action which includes advocacy.

In July of this year, Truvada was approved as a PrEP or pre-exposure prophylaxis, which is an antiretroviral drug used in the prevention of HIV. “Truvada can be prescribed for high-risk groups, such as the partners of HIV-positive people and gay men” (“Pre-exposure Prophylaxis”, n.d.). Other prevention methods are post-exposure prophylaxis treatment, used after exposure of the HIV virus; and antiretroviral treatment as prevention.

The most important method of prevention is education. Education of the basics of what exactly HIV is and how it is contracted as well as abstinence and sex education is essential. Finally, the Public Health Model concentrates on social action. The Public Health Model combats stigma and discrimination, through social action, as it relates to HIV/AIDS. Individuals that are stigmatized are encouraged to “take action to resist the forces that discriminate against them” (Parker & Aggleton, n.d.).

The Public Health Model addresses the issue of HIV/AIDS in the most comprehensive way. It combines medical knowledge with community action skills (Woodside & McClam, 2011, p.109). The one thing that it is missing is the attribute of problem-solving skills.

Finally, the Human Service Model which “considers the problem of the individual within the context of the environment” (Woodside & McClam, 2011, p.116). The three main focal points of the Human Service Model are to enhance the client’s well-being and quality of life, teach the client problem-solving skills and prevention (Woodside & McClam, 2011, p.118). Problem-solving is implemented through intervention within three areas: emotions, thought or beliefs and behavior (Woodside & McClam, 2011, p.117). It is important for the Human Service Model to break through the stigma of the disease. Because the negative stigma attached to the disease is so huge, it prevents some from getting tested or treated or protecting themselves, not only against the disease but protection from transmission if they themselves are infected.

The Human Service Model looks at the issue of HIV/AIDS from a “whole person” perspective. They must identify barriers of testing, treatment and prevention based on such things as the individual’s culture or religious beliefs. Then find ways to connect with them despite those barriers. Strengths of the Human Service Model are found in their dealing with the whole person. Their weakness lays in the lack of a medical stand point on the issue of HIV/AIDS. Two of the leading organization available to address the issue of HIV/AIDS are the International AIDS Society and UNAIDS. The International AIDS Society is made up of HIV professional from all over the world. It is today’s leader in the world’s independent associations of such professionals (“International AIDS Society – About the IAS”, n.d).

Their mission states that they are “a global movement of people working together to end the HIV epidemic, applying scientific evidence and best practice at every level of the HIV response” (“International AIDS Society – IAS Mission”, n.d). The main goals of the IAS are; to encourage solutions to AIDS response issues “through dialogue and debate” (“International AIDS Society – About the IAS”, n.d), purse to apply “evidence based policies and programmes” (“International AIDS Society – About the IAS”, n.d) to strengthen the response to AIDS worldwide and to advocate significant research.

Some of the ways that IAS is making a difference in the realm of HIV is through; research for a cure, conferences, such as the International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C. and policy advocacy. IAS is very effective in making changes and addressing issues in HIV. Another leading organization that is actively address the issue of HIV/AIDS is UNAIDS. UNAIDS is “the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS” (“Special Session fact sheets: What is UNAIDS?”, n.d.). They are the “leading advocate for global action against HIV/AIDS.

Its mission is to guide, strengthen and support worldwide efforts to turn the tide against the epidemic” (“Special Session fact sheets: What is UNAIDS?”, n.d.). Among their goals are: “reducing sexual transmission; preventing HIV among drug users; eliminating new HIV infections among children, gender inequalities, stigma and discrimination, and travel restrictions” (“UNAIDS”, n.d.). UNAIDS is making changes to the key issues related to HIV/AIDS in implementing care programs, as well as support for individuals not only infected with the disease, but affected by it in other ways (“UNAIDS”, n.d.).

“UNAIDS brings together the resources of the UNAIDS Secretariat and 10 UN system organizations for coordinated and accountable efforts to unite the world against AIDS” (“Our work”, n.d.), in order to effectively make changes and address the issue of HIV/AIDS.

Through the hard work and dedication of all three service models, we have the opportunity to possibly eradicate this globally devastating disease. This generation could just be lucky enough to see the end of HIV/AIDS.

References
AIDS Healthcare Foundation | Learn About HIV and AIDS. (n.d.). AIDS Healthcare Foundation | HIV/AIDS Testing, Treatment, & Advocacy. Retrieved November 2012, from http://www.aidshealth.org/learn-about-it?gclid=CI-hppW917MCFUOK4AodA0YARA IAS Home Page. (n.d.). International AIDS Society. Retrieved from http://www.iasociety.org/ International AIDS Society – About the IAS. (n.d.). International AIDS Society – IAS Home Page. Retrieved from http://www.iasociety.org/AboutIAS.aspx International AIDS Society – IAS Mission. (n.d.). International AIDS Society – IAS Home Page. Retrieved from http://www.iasociety.org/Default.aspx?pageId=68 Norman, B. (2012, July 23). Hillary Clinton vows ‘AIDS-free generation’ at conference – Brett Norman – POLITICO.com. Politics, Political News – POLITICO.com. Retrieved from http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0712/78867.html Our work. (n.d.). UNAIDS. Retrieved from http://www.unaids.org/en/ourwork/ Parker, R., & Aggleton, P. (n.d.). HIV/AIDS-related Stigma and Discrimination: A Conceptual Framework and an Agenda for Action. Population Council | Home.
Retrieved from http://www.popcouncil.org/pdfs/horizons/sdcncptlfrmwrk.pdf Pre-exposure Prophylaxis. (n.d.). HIV & AIDS Information from AVERT.org. Retrieved November 2012, from http://www.avert.org/pre-exposure-prophylaxis.htm Special Session fact sheets: What is UNAIDS? (n.d.). Welcome to the United Nations: It’s Your World. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/ga/aids/ungassfactsheets/html/fsunaids_en.htm Treatment of HIV Infection, NIAID, NIH. (2012, November 14). National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Retrieved November 15, 2012, from http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/hivaids/understanding/treatment/pages/default.aspx UNAIDS. (n.d.). UNAIDS. Retrieved from http://www.unaids.org/en/ What is ENUF? (n.d.). ENUF: social action to resist HIV stigma and promote resilience. Retrieved November 2012, from http://www.enuf.org.au/home Woodside, M., & McClam, T. (2011). An introduction to human services. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning.


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