Essay: Young people and adult level of understanding and awareness of HIV/ AIDS

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  • Young people and adult level of understanding and awareness of HIV/ AIDS
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The purpose of this research report was to investigate the young people and adult level of understanding and awareness of HIV/ AIDS to assist health policy makers, health educators, to provide the right health promotion campaigns.
In this report, discussion was based on the practices, how it is transmitted, the knowledge of effective factors of the virus on groups of people. (Signs and symptoms). Questionnaire with open and close questions was given to 20 participants, both male and female from different educational and religious background with the age ranging from under18 ‘ 45 years.
Opportunity sampling was used to distribute the questionnaire to the participants. It was discovered that about 88% between 18-35 years were aware of HIV/ AIDS, but did not have more knowledge and did not practice it.
Recommendations were made to health policy makers, health education campaign groups to provide effective health education to both young and adult people and emphasise more on practicing safe sex and to create awareness on the effects of HIV/AIDS on the society and the government as a whole. Also to break the myth of practicing safe sex. .
The goal of this report is to assess knowledge, and practices towards HIV/AIDS, exploring its nature, causes, signs and symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention. This report will also attend to research findings carried out on sample groups (primary research) and apply (secondary research) to assess the information raised on the disease.
Human immune virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is a range of conditions caused by infection with the human immune virus (HIV). Following early infection, a person may encounter a brief period of influenza-like illness. This is characteristically followed by a prolonged period minus symptoms. As the infection develops, it delays more with the immune system, making the person much more vulnerable to infections like tuberculosis, as well as opportunistic infections and tumours that do not usually affect people who have working immune systems.(see appendix).
How HIV/AIDS affect your immune system (infections)
Your immune system has many diverse ways of fighting foreign attackers. When opposed with a virus, your body reacts by stimulating specific processes of the immune system. First your body identifies a foreign antigen and transports it to the lymph system and yields millions of antibodies to fight against any virus caught in the body.HIV disturbs this process by directly infecting the helper T-cells. Your first immune response does get rid of a great deal of HIV, but various of it manages to survive and infect these important cells. Once the infected helper T-cells are activated, they work to create new viruses instead of doing the job they are supposed to do with your immune system. In addition, many helper T-cells are destroyed in the HIV replication process. (See appendix)
The later symptoms of the infection are referred to as AIDS. This stage is often complicated by an infection of the lung known as pneumocystis pneumonia, severe weight loss, a type of cancer known as Kaposi’s sarcoma, or other AIDS-defining conditions.
HIV is transmitted primarily via unprotected sexual intercourse (including anal and oral sex), contaminated blood transfusions, hypodermic needles, and from mother to child during pregnancy, semen and vaginal fluids. Some bodily fluids, such as saliva do not transmit HIV. Common methods of prevention HIV/AIDS include encouraging safe sex, needle-exchange programs, and treating those who are infected. There is no cure or vaccine; however, antiretroviral treatment can slow the course of the disease and may lead to a near-normal life expectancy. While antiretroviral treatment reduces the risk of death and complications from the disease, these medications are expensive and have side effects. The aim of antiretroviral treatment is to keep the amount of HIV in the body at a low level. This stops any weakening of the immune system and permits to recover from any damages HIV might have caused in the body these drugs are referred as antiretroviral therapy. Without treatment, the average survival time after infection with HIV is estimated to be 9 to 11 years, depending on the HIV subtype. (Kallings. LO. 2008).
HIV/AIDS has had a great impact on society, both as an illness and as a source of discrimination. The disease also has significant economic impacts. There are many misconceptions about HIV/AIDS such as the belief that it can be transmitted by casual non-sexual contact. The disease has become subject to many controversies involving religion. It has attracted international medical and political attention as well as large-scale funding since it was identified in the 1980s. (Sepkowitz KA June 2001). In England, the national health services reported that the number of people being for HIV in the country has trebled over the past decade and almost100, 000 people are thought to suffer from the disease. The Health Protection Agency has estimated that it costs more than ?? 300,000 to treat each person who has transmitted the virus including those who have developed AIDS. Although NHS budget is due to rise in real terms over the next few years, raising the cost of treatment and the ageing British population, which means most of the hospitals are having to make important cutbacks. (BBC.2012). This epidemic has an extraordinary burden on the health care sector and those living with HIV/AIDS. Often poorest sectors of society are most vulnerable to the epidemic. Care-related expenses, loss of employment, Lack of income, the reduced ability of caregivers to work, put affected households into deeper poverty.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there were approximately 35 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS in 2013. Of these, 3.2 million were children (15 years old).
According to WHO, an estimated 2.1 million individuals worldwide became newly infected with HIV in 2013.This includes over 240,000 children (15 years). Most of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa and were infected by their HIV-positive mothers during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.
A UNAIDS report shows that 19 million of the 35 million people living with HIV today do not know that they have the virus.The vast majority of people living with HIV are in low- and middle-income countries. According to WHO, sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected region, with 24.7 million people living with HIV in 2013. Seventy-one percent of all people who are living with HIV in the world live in this region.
HIV is the world’s leading infectious killer. Even today, despite advances in our scientific understanding of HIV and its prevention and treatment as well as years of significant effort by the global health community and leading government and civil society organizations, most people living with HIV or at risk for HIV do not have access to prevention, care, and treatment, and there is still no cure. However, effective treatment with antiretroviral drugs can control the virus so that people with HIV can enjoy healthy lives and reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to others.
According to WHO, at the end of 2013, 12.9 million people living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) globally, of which 11.7 million were receiving ART in low- and middle-income countries. Progress has been made in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV and keeping mothers alive. According to WHO, in 2013, 67% of pregnant women living with HIV in low- and middle-income countries (970,000 women) received ART to avoid transmission of HIV to their children. This is up from 47% in 2010.
The stages of HIV infection
Within 2-4 weeks after HIV infection, many, but not all, people develop flu-like symptoms, often described as ‘the worst flu ever.’ Symptoms can include fever, swollen glands, sore throat, rash, muscle and joint aches and pains, fatigue, and headache. This is called ‘acute retroviral syndrome’ (ARS) or ‘primary HIV infection. After the acute stage of HIV infection, the disease moves into a stage called the ‘clinical latency’ stage. ‘Latency’ means a period where a virus is living or developing in a person without producing symptoms. During the clinical latency stage, people who are infected with HIV experience no HIV-related symptoms, or only mild ones. (See appendix)
During the clinical latency stage, the HIV virus continues to reproduce at very low levels, although it is still active. If you take ART, you may live with clinical latency for several decades because treatment helps keep the virus in check.
This is the stage of HIV infection that occurs when your immune system is badly damaged and you become vulnerable to infections and infection-related cancers called opportunistic infections. When the number of your CD4 cells falls below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood (200 cells/mm3), you are considered to have progressed to AIDS. Without treatment, people who progress to AIDS typically survive about 3 years. Once you have a dangerous opportunistic illness, life-expectancy without treatment falls to about 1 year. However, if you are taking ART and maintain a low viral load, then you may enjoy a near normal life span.
A parent who has HIV affected may show less interest in their child due to the dramatic association with the pressure of being infected. The child is likely to react with fear and anxiety and sometimes blame themselves. Psychological impacts of stress, avoidance and teasing by other children, social isolation and people living with HIV/AIDS face stigma and discrimination can lead to behavioural disturbances. Researchers have observed symptoms associated with trauma, depression and lack of bonding and attachment in very young children.
This may lead to children feeling deprived of their childhood, causing misery and sometimes thought of suicide. People living with HIV/AIDS are at risk of developing mental conditions such as acute emotional distress, depression and anxiety and adverse life events. People living with HIV may progress through these stages at different rates, depending on a variety of factors, including their genetic makeup, how healthy they were before they were infected, after diagnosed you are liked to care and treatemt and different health-related choices they make, such as decisions to eat a healthful diet, exercise, and not smoke.
To investigate both young and adult level of understanding and awareness of HIV/ AIDS
Do people have the knowledge and awareness of HIV/AIDS
The method which has been used in this research was a survey to gather information by asking the targeted group to answer written questionnaires (primary research). Using questionnaires is much more convenient and time efficient in that you can email surveys to a mass amount of people creating a large sample size that can help you support your hypothesis.Generally it is relatively quick to collect information using a questionnaire. Potentially information can be collected from a large portion of a group and do not require as much effort from the questioner as verbal or telephone surveys, and often have standardized answers that make it simple to compile data. (John.M 1995).
The common mistake of asking too many questions should be avoided participants may not be willing to answer the questions. Participants should be asked to reply honestly and told that if their response is negative this is just as useful as a more positive opinion. If possible the questionnaire should be anonymous. There are two options, closed questions which are a fixed choice of answers to generate data and open questions which give space to write any answer for more detailed answers.
However, there are some disadvantages of questionnaires for instance
Questionnaires are regular so it is not possible to explain any points in the questions that participants might misinterpret or lie and respondents may answer quickly, especially if the questionnaire takes a long time to complete so they might not be honest in their answers and there a possibility that people will fail to return their questionnaires. (Woods 1990). I chose questionnaires instead of interview which is more time-consuming. Disadvantage: participant be convince may answer in a way that will support what the researcher is looking for but it makes it easier for the respondent to either clarify answers for some of the items on the questionnaires. Secondary research was used by gathering information from different sources (books, journal and interview) which were very useful in providing information needed. When carrying out a research, it must be treated with respect and concern for their well-being and should be guided by ethics behaviour that we use towards others. In this research participant were asked to complete the questionnaire on the subject while will assure them that all their answers provided will be kept anonymous and in confidence which will not be published but will be used to promote awareness. (John. M 1995).
The aim of this research was to test the knowledge of young people and adult about HIV/AIDS hypothesis was to find out whether under 18-35 years are aware of the knowledge and practices towards HIV/AIDS. The questionnaire provides 13 questions based on the causes, symptoms and treatment of this particular disease. The sampling method was targeted sampling which means to ask anyone who fits the requirements. The questionnaires contained open and close questions. Closed questions were used to gain quick and succinct information. This produces one clear-cut answer which is easy to interpret and quantify, but most people would want to answer, the majority of the questions were designed to investigate the awareness of HIV.
In this research, it has been tried to use opportunity sampling as accurate as possible. In the questionnaire the age range divided age groups to find out about the awareness and knowledge of HIV/AIDS. The questions targeted the awareness and half of that targeted knowledge of people were less aware of the symptoms, prevention and affection of this particular virus.
There are varieties of research methods to gather information like observation. Observation study is a way to finding out how people behave in everyday life. It is clear, then, that the term ‘observation’ can be misleading. Bandura (1965) Observation enable researchers to see people’s natural behaviour and provides a lot of information and comparison to other method is moral ethical. However, reliability may be difficult to record all behaviours Observers can’t observe everything, so they have to decide exactly what kind of behaviour they observed They may conduct ‘time sampling’, i.e. observe for certain periods, ‘point sampling’, i.e. observes each individual’s current category of behavior before moving on to the next individual, or event sampling’, and i.e. observe a specific event every time it occurs. The observation method in this research could not be used the main focus was to gain information about the awareness and knowledge of HIV/AIDS and not behaviour of them. Considering the type of information required and the questions available, observation method was not suitable for this research.

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