Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), a new syndrome then, was in 1981 discovered among gay men in the US. Three years later in 1983, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), its etiological agent was identified. Scientists and health professionals my mid 80s were to learn that the virus had spread throughout the world largely unnoticed. Shortly after or before 1980, the HIV infections started spreading extensively in the western industrialized countries chief among them being the US. During this period, the chief population groups characterized by the disease were the homosexuals and drug users who were injecting drugs. Here in the US, in early 1990s among the adult population with the virus, 52% of them had been infected by involving in male-to-male sex. However, the trend has changed in the 21st century in that HIV levels have reduced among the homosexuals while significantly increasing among the heterosexuals.
By 2008, approximately, 490,696 individuals were infected and living with AIDS in the US. The States of New York, Texas, Florida and California have the highest number of people living with HIV/AIDS. While Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming and North Dakota have the lowest statistics in the US.
Los Angeles County
Taking the case study of the Los Angeles County in the state of California, the cumulative cases of AIDS by September 2008 were 54,003, with the cumulative deaths amounting to 30,908(Aids Project Los Angeles (APLA), 2008).
The cumulative cases of AIDS in the State amounted to 179,954, while those of cumulative deaths were 86,120. The total number of people living with AIDS in the state was 93,834.
The cumulated AIDS cases are estimated to be 1,014,797 in the US, while the estimated cumulative deaths stand at 565,927. The estimated number of people living with the disease is 509,681. Globally, the estimated population living with the disease by 2010 was amounting to 34 million people.
Current Prevention Efforts
The world leaders have agreed on development of effective prevention models both nationally and globally to minimize the spread of the virus. This strategy calls for adequate and sustainable resources as well as political leadership. This has entailed equipping health institutions with the technology, equipments and human capital needed. Also the focus has been shifted to local interventions that target the appropriate population groups and are evidence-based. By the use of the mass media, authorities are addressing the stigma, increasing awareness and building life skills and self-esteem(Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development, 2008).
Future Goals for Prevention
Together with the prevention methods already analyzed, governments are aiming at implementing laws and sentencing aimed at preventing intentional spread of the disease. In essence those people who know their serostatus and intentionally transmit it to uninfected individual will be dealt at by the law strictly(Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development, 2008). Together will a well documented medical record system, the authorities are hoping to spread the disease because so far, the research into the cure of the disease have failed. Also, governments are aiming at keeping adequate up to date medical records regarding their populations so as to be proactive and not just reacting to the situations that they find themselves when the damage is already done. By observing the statistics and dynamics of the disease, responsible authorities can implement strategic timely prevention methods that will go a long way in reducing the spread of the epidemic.
Nurses Role in Education and Prevention
The disease has so far been elusive in tackling by any one given strategy and therefore responsible agencies have advocated for a holistic approach in tackling the epidemic. The role of nurses has hence been widened in prevention and treatment of the disease by especially engaging in education of societies to make the first wall of defense against the disease(Mayer & Pizer, 2009). Nurses have therefore been called on to counsel patients, advocate patients, and educate both the infected and uninfected about how the disease is transmitted. Education has been singled out as a very decisive strategy that can be applicable at tertiary, secondary and primary levels of prevention of the disease. For a healthy relationship is to be established during the education across all the three levels, nurses are encouraged to be non-judgmental and open in the process of educating the public.
Community Programs/Organizations/Support Groups
Earlier, when AIDS patients were discharged from the hospital, they were only cared of by friends, volunteers or family who often had limited nursing skills, knowledge, no professional nursing background and understanding of the virus(Mayer & Pizer, 2009). Therefore, majority of these people died due to lack of care and or information relating to their lifestyles. However, with the introduction of support groups, community programs and organizations that are well organized and well funded, professionalism , knowledge and skills have been incorporated into the care that individuals who are affected and also those who are not affected can receive information relating to their status and act accordingly. Quality of life is restored to those already affected while knowledge on how to stay negative is given to those who are not infected due to the scope of these community organizations in the grass-root levels.
Aids Project Los Angeles (APLA).(2008, September). Retrieved on March 26, 2012, from Los Angeles County State of California The United States of America Global Trends: http://www.apla.org/facts/HIV_statistics_current.pdf
Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development. (2008, September). Current Issues in HIV Prevention. Retrieved on March 26, 2012, from http://www.icad-cisd.com/pdf/Current_Issues_in_HIV_Prevention_Final_EN.pdf
Mayer, K. H., & Pizer, H. (2009). HIV prevention: a comprehensive approach. Waltham: Academic Press.