Categories for AIDS

HIV AIDS In The South Essay

HIV AIDS In The South Essay

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a killer disease caused by the human immune deficiency virus (HIV) which affects one’s immune system making them susceptible to opportunistic diseases that they succumb to. A person is said to be suffering from AIDS when the HIV has compromised their immune system triggering chronic fevers, constant diarrhea, significant unexplained weight losses, night sweats as well as swollen glands and thrush. (Weiss G and Lonnquist L, 2008). HIV is thought to have started spreading as early as the late 70’s though official statistics have it that it was first recognized in 1981 in the US.

The origin of the virus remain unclear with some arguing that it originated from the outer space, was artificially created, escaped from a laboratory or it is a natural virus that initially affected apelike creatures before it found its way to humans. (Johnson P, 2007). HIV spread widely to other regions and today it is deemed as a world pandemic with over 40 million people infected globally.

Sadly, about 4 to 5 million people are infected with the virus annually while over 25 million people have so far succumbed to it.

To date there is no known cure for HIV AIDS though scientific development have led to the usage of antiretroviral which work to prolong the life span of those infected. A unique factor about HIV is the fact that one can stay for as long as a decade without exhibiting any symptom that they are sick, a period in which they can infect others. As a matter of fact some research findings have it that the spread of HIV is more intense in the latent period. (Irwin A, Millen J and Fallows D, 2003). It is difficult to give the exact figures of those infected as many people have not been tested but one approach used by epidemiologists is estimation.

Specific groups such as pregnant women, prisoners, people joining the military service and patients in the varied states are tested and CDC uses these estimates to approximate the number of people infected with the virus while putting into account people’s behavioral changes. (Weiss G and Lonnquist L, 2008). Although no biological links have been found to explain why some races are more susceptible to acquiring the virus in the US, blacks and the Hispanics are more affected than the whites. Gay people or homosexuals as well as those abusing drugs through injection are also at a higher risk of acquiring the virus.

A research established that roughly, half the infected persons were gay men while over 20% were drug abusers who used infected needles. People engaging in unsafe sexual intercourse with many partners are also at a higher risk of contracting the virus. (Weiss G and Lonnquist L, 2008). A unique factor about HIV AIDS is the fact that unlike other fatal diseases which are airborne and hence contagious it cannot be transmitted through a handshake or sneezing. Again, though some traces of the virus can be found on saliva, tears and sweat it cannot be transferred through these modes.

It can also not be passed on through insect bites as the virus only survives in humans. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2008). HIV is passed on through contact with contaminated body fluids through anal, oral or coital sex, interjectory drug abuse, mother to child during birth as well as through breastfeeding. Precautionary measures during and after birth have been adopted to prevent the mother to child transmission and much progress have been made. This makes the containment of the HIV manageable as people’s behaviors play a vital role in curbing its spread. Weiss G and Lonnquist L, 2008).

Susan, Kristin and Kathryn in ‘HIV infection and Aids in the Deep south’ noted that there are many discrepancies in the manner at which HIV AIDS trends are registered in the US. The southern region of the US which comprises of 16 states namely; Virginia, North and South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky, Washington, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana and Oklahoma registers higher rates when compared to other states. (Reif S, Geonnotti, Whetten K. 2006).

Variances are also evident among the varying states with some recording higher rates than others. Some states record similar trends in as far as HIV and AIDS infections are concerned for instance; North and South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana register similar trends. The term ‘Deep South’ was coined to describe those states that had a history in agriculture especially in cotton as well as slave trade. These states have disproportionately been affected by the HIVAIDS pandemic in the USA. 2000-2003 statistics have it that in this region HIVAIDS infection raised by up to 35. % while the rate in other states in the south were as low as 4% and the national rate with an exception of the southern states stood at 5. 2%. (Reif S, Geonnotti S, Whetten K, 2006). The prevailing conditions in the South can be blamed on various factors such as poor health conditions as can be bore witness by the poor health indicators in the region. Three states in this region recorded the highest death rates, highest rates for diabetes, stroke, sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea and Chlamydia as well as infant mortality rates.

The Deep South region which has the highest prevalence rate for HIV infections is largely predominated by African Americans. (Reif S, Geonnotti S, Whetten K. 2006). Other characteristics of the Deep South region include high rates of illiteracy as many do not graduate from colleges. Most people in the Deep South region also have no health insurance which can be explained by the higher rates of poor health indicators. The levels of poverty and unemployment are higher in the Deep South region when compared with the other regions in the US.

Higher rates of unemployment mean that the rates of poverty are higher and this is true both at an individual as well as at the family level. Higher rates of HIV infections in the Deep South region were recorded among women as well as African Americans. (Reif S, Geonnotti S, Whetten K. 2006). The higher rates of sexual transmitted diseases in the Deep South are thought to have a relationship or link with the high rates of HIV infections in the region. This is attributed to the fact that medical experts argue that sexually transmitted diseases have a role to play in as far as the facilitating of the virus spread is concerned.

Lack of accessibility to quality health care services among these people is also thought to play a significant role in spreading the virus. (Ellerbrock V et al, 2004). Sociological theories argue that man is a social being and does not exist in a vacuum. One’s surrounding predisposes a person to behaving in a certain manner. Values, norms and expectations of the society are passed on from one generation to the next through the various socializing agents such as schools, families, peers and mass media as well as through religion. (Andersen M and Taylor H, 2001).

People’s surroundings also play a vital role in determining their behaviors. In poverty stricken areas the effectiveness of schools in passing on values will be compromised triggering bad behavior such as drug abuse and carefree lifestyles. Poverty also leads to ‘innovation’ where people adopt illegal means to attaining the societal values. Prostitution for instance is a clear illustration of a failing society which states is material success objective commonly know as the ‘American Dream’ but fails to offer clear cut means to attaining it especially to the disadvantaged groups. Andersen M and Taylor H, 2001).

Poverty triggers higher rates of HIV infection as it denies the poor a chance to access vital health information that would ensure that certain diseases were prevented. Public health education is in most cases done in the health care facilitates and those who cannot access them are cut off. Some may also not understand the mode of communication used due to illiteracy triggered by poverty. Poverty is also associated with desperation and hopelessness which sees people engage in drug and other substance abuse which predisposes them to contracting the virus.

People who abuse drugs risk contracting HIV especially when contaminated needles are used. Another risk that makes drugs increase the tendency of one contracting the virus is the fact that they compromise one’s reasoning ability and consequently may see them engage in risky behaviors such as unsafe sexual intercourse with many partners whose status is unknown. (Ellerbrock V et al, 2004). In terms of racial background one can argue that the region is disadvantaged in the sense that it is comprised of more African Americans, a race known for lack of health insurance as well as higher poverty rates.

Many African Americans are poor and this places them at a higher risk in as far as contracting HIV is concerned. Discrimination especially in incarceration of African Americans in the Deep South precipitates concurrent sexual practices which in turn paves way for HIV AIDS. (Adimora A and Schoenbach J, 2002). Young African American women as well as others from the disadvantaged communities are at a higher risk of contracting the virus. Poverty could drive them into prostitution where they may not have the chance to negotiate for safer sex.

In most cases women have been identified as the weaker sex and consequently they have no say in the male dominated society. Biologically women are at a higher chance of contracting HIV than men as the vagina is more receptive to substances than the male penis. Poverty leads to lack of proper education which is essential if educational programs on health are to be successful Illiterate people also tend to be ignorant and this predisposes them to HIV. Provision of preventive programs is impossible in the poverty stricken regions thus precipitating the high rates of HIV AIDS in the Deep South region.

People from the Deep South who have been infected with the virus will develop AIDS quickly due to the inaccessibility of health care services. (Ellerbrock V et al, 2004). HIV AIDS prevalence also varies with geographical regions in terms rural versus urban regions with the former recording higher rates than the later. People in the rural areas encounter more difficulties when trying to access quality health care services as opposed to those in the urban areas.

This hinders them accessibility to preventive programs such as the educative or informative programs that would have seen them reduce their chances or acquiring the HIV virus. The rural areas record lower chances of attaining or rather accessing health care professionals and they also have problems accessing treatment making their conditions worse. People in the rural areas are consequently forced to travel to the urban areas to seek medical services and some are too poor that the transportation costs are a burden to them. (Adimora A et al, 2004).

The Deep South region is also known to have higher rates of stigmatization with the HIV AIDS, a factor that sees the rates of HIV escalate. The belief that people belong to a specified social status which cannot be changed also plays a role in cementing the spread of HIV, given the fact that poverty has a strong association with HIV prevalence rates. Some people in the Deep South have a strong distrust with their health care systems a factor that also contributes to higher prevalence rates of HIV AIDS as they will not respect the advices offered by their health care providers. Reif S, Geonnotti S, Whetten K, 2006). HIV AIDS in the South has remained higher than in the other states in the US due to many factors. Since the disease is not airborne but is spread through various intimate body contacts, mother to child or through the use of contaminated needles it can be effectively managed if people adopted positive behaviors. Reducing the number of sex partners that one has, war on drugs, and proper accessibility to health care facilities would be of significance in as far as the fight against HIV AIDS is concerned.

Soap operas Essay

Soap operas Essay

Although this is true, it is still an issue that teenagers, especially, must be aware of. For this reason alone, I think that there should be more discussion about how to avoid date rape, and how to protect oneself from even getting into a situation where one could be raped. In the soap operas All My Children, and Sunset Beach, there are sexual issues that revolve around teenage relationships. There were discussions about whether or not to wait before having sexual intercourse.

In All My Children, the storyline was about a teen-aged birth mother suing the adoptive parents for custody of her child.

This storyline allowed for several discussions about the consequences of unplanned and unprotected sexual activity, and about the importance of waiting until one is ready before engaging in sexual intercourse. Although soaps sometime discuss the consequences of sexual acts, there are too many episodes that let sex just happen without any real discussion of its consequences. For instance on the soap Sunset Beach, there is a character, Annie, who is about twenty five years old, who sleeps with everyone on the show who has something that she wants.

She is very rich and extremely manipulative. Through her conversations with friends, the audience learns that, deep down, all she wants is to find true love. Obviously she will not achieve what she really wants by being so sexually promiscuous and amoral, but some audiences may think that you can get what you want by sleeping around. If there are all of these negative images and ideas portrayed throughout soap operas, then why is it so popular to women? In a recent study done by Woods, he asked 100 high school girls about 23 possible reasons for watching soap operas.

The top ten reasons were, “(a) I just enjoy watching them, (b) it gives me something to do, (c) soaps are fun, (d) they fill up time, (e) it’s a pleasant way to rest, (f) they relax me, (g) soaps are a habit, (h) I can forget about school, (i) I can get away from my family, (j) and soaps cheer me up. ” It is apparent that these responses are what people might say for any television show. What attracts people to soap operas and the reasons behind them being fun and relaxing is because they deal with issues that happen in real life.

Not everyone is going to get raped, or accidentally pregnant, but everyone should know that it can happen to them and they should be careful. It is interesting to think that maybe women are so attracted to soaps because it makes their lives seem more normal. Greenberg and Woods used a survey by the author Compesi to compare adult and adolescent results to similar questions on the reasons for watching soap operas. He mailed 52 surveys consisting of gratification items for the viewers of, All My Children. “… the findings for soaps and adolescent gratifications are a close match to those for soaps and adult gratifications.

” Although people do change, I feel that the foundation of what draws people in and interests continues in one way or another throughout a person’s life. It is not an unrealistic assumption that sexuality is exciting to watch and learn about, especially for curious young individuals. Recently the issue of homosexuality has been incorporated within soap operas. In All My Children, the teenaged character Bianca came out as a lesbian. Along with this came her struggles of being accepted and the ability to find a happy relationship.

There were a few episodes dealing with Bianca’s romantic happiness and with the fact that she had a crush on a straight woman. There was one episode where Bianca asked Frankie, a homosexual female that she was friends with, if she was afraid that Bianca would make a move on her. Frankie insisted that she didn’t feel uncomfortable with her and also assured Bianca that she didn’t want her to give her more space and that she valued their budding friendship. When another character, Vanessa, arrived, she ordered Frankie to leave Pine Valley because she lied to her about her sexuality.

She asked Frankie to move out, saying that Frankie should have been honest from the beginning. Alone, Bianca offered to help Frankie find another place, but Frankie rejected her. Bianca told Frankie that, as usual, someone she liked was pulling away from her. In this example it is apparent that it is rough on a person’s self-esteem to not be able to find love or a true friend because of ones sexuality or sexual preference. I would imagine that these episodes are not unrealistic in the life of a teenage lesbian, but I noticed that they did not portray a fulfilled life for one.

The steamy love scenes are the norm for heterosexual couples, yet when it comes to homosexuals, they are rarely even allowed to touch. Every few scenes within an episode show two heterosexuals kissing, or being sexual with each other. When it comes to homosexuals, there is usually just discussion about the hardships that the person is enduring, and there are rarely any visual depictions of sexuality. Starting a few years ago was the first time that a lesbian kiss was even shown on daytime television.

This issue of homosexuality is more open and talked about then it used to be, but they still do not seem to be portrayed the same as heterosexuals. Although gays are not represented accurately, watching them interact can desensitize some people that are uncomfortable dealing with those people who choose that lifestyle. Soaps deal with the issue of pregnancy as well. Having a baby could be a happy and exciting thing for some people, but it seems like most of the pregnancies on soaps deal with the negatives of pregnancy, like teenage pregnancies, pregnancies due to rape and pregnancies with twisted stories to them.

An example of this is from the soap Sunset Beach, where the character Vanessa, an engaged woman, was impregnated in vitro. Due to an accident she was unconscious and the woman who was jealous of her boyfriend gave her the injection. It was not the sperm of her fianci?? , Michael, but a different male. Michael, who is now sterile, thinks that she is pregnant from him, but knows that he could not be the father. He thinks that she must have slept with another guy, and the saga continues. The is an exaggerated scenario, of course, but this type of situation allows for the audiences thoughts and discussion of safe sex and trust in ones partner.

These are issues that every individual must deal with at one point or another, which may be another reason for the popularity of soap operas. If I were to speculate on the potential effects of viewing such content, I would say that viewers are getting ample information about sexual activity that promotes the idea that sexual activity is appropriate and beneficial for heterosexual couples in established relationships. The issues of rape, teenage sex and pregnancy, single parenting, drug addiction, abortion, infidelity, and death are all issues in which characters have dealt with.

This allows the audience to discuss these issues without talking about themselves, which can be uncomfortable. An individual’s morals and values about sex should stem from the home. It is the parents’ job to try and teach their children what sex and being a sexual person is all about. If these values are implemented, the young viewer should be able to decipher between what is right, what is wrong, and what is exaggerated. There are a variety of reasons for women to be attracted to soap operas, and sexuality is definitely one of them. Being a woman is a very powerful thing, and many people do not understand that.

Some women and teenagers may feel that power when watching a sexual encounter, knowing that they have the power to do the same thing (less dramatically of course). Sex and being sexual are intriguing concepts that are very mysterious to some. By watching soap operas, we see the dramatic portrayal of how relationships should and should not be. There is the right and wrong way to go about becoming sexually active. Soap operas are an excellent way to see and learn about all of the right and wrong ways of dealing with issues, especially ones that deal with sexual relationships.

People are always looking for a way to improve their relationships or spice them up, and soap operas are an excellent way to either learn something new, or fanaticize about the perfect relationship. The fact that soap operas are so exaggerated, I feel, is the major draw to them because they make reality and everyday life seem more normal.

References: Greenberg, S. B, &Woods, M. G. (1999). The soaps: their sex, gratifications, and outcomes.The Journal Of Sex Research, 36(3), 250. Committee on Communications, American Academy of Pediatrics. (1995). Sexuality, contraception, and the media. Pediatrics, 95(2), 298.