- Early HIV treatment
- Early pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)
- Focus on heavily affected groups including: young gay men, transgender women, African-Americans, Immigrants, young couples.
- increased percent of people with HIV who know their serostatus to at least 90%
- reducing number of new infections by 25%
- increasing the percentage of newly diagnosed people linked to HIV medical care within one month to 85%
- increasing the proportion of HIV-positive people with viral suppression to at least 80%
- reducing the death rate among people with HIV by at least 33%
Monday, 5 October 2015
Knowledge of strategies and outcomes of National Health Programs is a crucial point if a health care provider is to remain relevant and effective.
Tracy (not real names) is a 22 years Transgender Male to Female identifying person living with HIV (undetectable). HIV diagnosis was made at 17 years.
Jones Cornelius 55 years (not real names) has an SRO in Chinatown San Francisco. HIV diagnosis was done at 30 years when he started getting unexplained and unresolving illnesses.
John (36 years) and Jane Doe (27 years) are an African-American couple living with HIV diagnosed 5 years back.
"One (1) in eight (8) people with HIV still go undiagnosed. Only three (3) in ten (10) people with HIV have suppressed the virus in their system, lowering it to an undetectable level," (President Obama, July 30th 2015).
All four people have five things in common as far as HIV/AIDS goes:
1. They started HIV treatment very early. This ensured that opportunistic infections were avoided.
2. They are active members to their support groups. This means they are beneficiaries of such initiatives that look forward to an HIV free world.
3. They have never missed their doctors' appointments. They are able to have plan with their provider in a mutually friendly way.
4. They feed regularly. Feeding as a source of energy foods, nutritious feeds and necessary elements that body requires.
5. They are committed to activities suppressing viral load. They are taking the highly effective medicines regularly
All this was possible, thanks to a robust and friendly National HIV/AIDS Strategy that emphasizes:
Knowledge of strategies and outcomes informs one on how to best design messages, interventions and key areas of support. This helps a Public Health Practitioner to remain relevant and effective.
Do you think religion plays a role in the way individuals lead their lives? Should we assume that religion is a direct indication of civilization which in turn means a universal hygiene standard? Do you think Public Health Practitioners should link hands with the faith-based organizations, clergy or indigenous Traditional religious leaders to promote health? Do you see government and religion playing roles in promoting public health?
I started this short write up with the above questions because it was what I was asking myself as I thought up this topic for the series of Public Health Perspective.
"Cleanliness is next to Godliness." This is an oft repeated saying. A clean or tidy person is said to be godly. At the individual level, right from childhood we are brought up knowing we have a responsibility to look after ourselves as far as hygiene is concerned.
Religion is a powerful tool for social mobilization and organization. Through religion people can be mobilized to get behind a given activity such as hand-washing, wearing masks in case of flu or attending such services that promote quality livelihoods.
Religious organizations are linked to a social development agenda and many are behind the construction and maintenance of facilities such as: hospitals, clinics, counseling units as well as providing a relief for many who may seek solace in prayer when they are downcast. Religious organizations are major employers the world over. This means that they are contributing to numbers of people who can afford a better living standard, have access to health coverage and services.
Unfortunately, religion can be a stumbling block to public health or in other circumstances public health can clash with morals and values of religions ( e.g., pro-choice, planned parenthood, family planning, use of organs..). Some catastrophic strifes around the world are as a result of religion, e.g., Boko Haram, Militia groups in Central African Republic and ISIL. There are many examples where religion has been used to justify violence, radicalization, anti-muslim sentiment, anti-semitism, abuse of women and racial segregation.
Secretary of State John Kerry states that "one of the most interesting challenges we face in global diplomacy today is th need to fully understand and engage the great impact that a wide range of religious traditions have on foreign affairs." He continues to assert that "religious beliefs shape the views of public and change-makers near and far."
"Religious advocacy groups have long raised awareness about famine and human rights violations abroad.; Buddhist nuns in Nepal play a crucial role in natural disaster recovery efforts; and religious organizations have been essential to providing humanitarian support to Syrian refugees," Secretary John Kerry continues.
Religion can lay the grounds for:
1. driving the economy
2. addressing corruption
3. combating terrorism
4. mitigating conflict, encouraging pluralism, valuing tolerance and democracy
5. advance women and children rights
6.pacifying warring sides
7. address poverty
8. build structures of responsibility towards one another
9. create greater understanding among peoples and countries
10. addressing the global impact of religion, relations and cooperation among people
In understanding the role of religion, a public health practitioner is able to plan how well to involve religious leaders or understand how religion can help in promoting public health.
1. America (National Catholic Review) September 14, 2015
2. Office of International Religious Freedom, US
3. U.S Strategy on Religious Leaders and Faith Community Engagement