Term Paper: African-American Woman Living With AIDS

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African-American Women Living With AIDS

The year 1981 marked many historic events in the world but none as tragic as the discovery of 'Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). AIDS was first recognized as a disease when clinics in the larger cities in the United States such as New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco first saw young men who were homosexuals with Pnemocystis carinii pneumonia and Kaposi's sarcoma which was quite unusual for young adults who were not know to be immunosuppressed. The first report appeared in June 1981. This disease was first believed to be a homosexually transmitted disease but soon it was recognized that this disease was being transmitted among drug users as well. It wasn't long however, until it was understood that this disease was spreading among heterosexuals as well.

Prior to the identification of HIV as the virus that caused AIDS, those who tracked the epidemics course were dependent upon AIDS being reported when diagnosed to the public health departments, which became a requirements by all fifty U.S. states from the beginning of the epidemic however many states failed to report until the 1990s when the new multidrug regime of antiretroviral therapy became available. It is related that by the fall of 1982 100 cases had been reported which increased to 1,000 in February 1983, with another 1.000 reported 6 months later, and another 1,000 before the end of 1983 being reported. In 1988, 100,000 cases reported with another 100,00 being reported in 1990 and by October 1995 more than 500,000 cases of AIDS were reported in the United States.

The work of Lorraine Cole entitled: "From Cries and Whispers to Answers: Curbing the Spread of HIV / AIDS among Black Women" states that in the United States that "Black women between the ages of 25 and 44 are 13 times more likely to die of the disease than their counterparts." (2005) in fact, according to Cole, HIV / AIDS is "among the top 4 causes of death for African-American women aged 20-54. In addition, more than half of the new cases of HIV infection in women over 50 are African-American. Black women are the fastest growing population of new cases, accounting for two-third (67%) of new AIDS cases among women." (Cole, 2005)

The work entitled: "AIDS Pandemic: African-American Women Can't Sleep on This" published in the Black Women's Health Imperative states that "Black women comprise nearly two-thirds of all women who are HIV positive according to the Centers for Disease Control." (Morris, 2004) While the African-American population comprises only 12% of the population in the United States: "more than half of the 40,000 new HIV infections diagnosed each year are African-Americans..." (Morris, 2004) in a 2007 article entitled: "HIV / AIDS and the Young African-American Woman" published by Advocates for Youth it is stated that African-Americans "now represent 36% of all reported AIDS cases and 43% of new AIDS cases..." (Advocate for Youth, 2007)

Of all AIDS cases reported among women, sixty percent of these cases are African-American women. Geraldine Brown reports in the work entitled: "HIV / AIDS among African-Americans and U.S. Women: Minority and Young Women" that a recent study by CDC of Job Corp entrants: "...ages 16 to 21, showed that, compared to their white counterparts, African-American women were seven times more likely to be infected with HIV." (Brown, 2004) Brown reports further that "in addition to experiencing historically higher rates of HIV infection, African-Americans continue to face challenges in accessing health care, prevention services and treatment." (2003) Health care providers generally focus on the physical manifestations related to AIDS and fail to address the emotional and psychological needs of the African-American woman with aids. It is critical that these needs be addressed as well as the physical problems of living with AIDS.

AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN LIVING WITH AIDS

PART TWO

INFORMATION

Poverty and homelessness are often experienced by those who test HIV-positive. "For many women who are living on the street or in transient residences, are feeling overwhelmed by the needs of their children, or are battered within their relationships, illicit drugs may seem to be the best antidote." (a Clinical Guide to Care of Women with HIV / AIDS, 2005) the work of Gore-Felton and Dimarco entitled: "Brief Summary of Behavioral and Social Science Research Related to Women, Violence, Trauma and HIV / AIDS" states that many times "violence perpetrated against women is linked to risks for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV infection. Studies conducted in the U.S.A. shown that women in violent and abusive relationships are less likely to use condoms, more likely to incur abuse as a result of requesting condoms and more likely to contract sexually transmitted infections (STIs) than who have not been in violent relationships." (Gore-Felton and DiMarco, 2007)

Gore-Felton and DiMarco state that there is a growing body of evidence "that adults and adolescents who were sexually abused as children are more likely to engage in high risk activities that could increase their exposure to HIV." (2007) Furthermore, "mood disorders that result from abuse such as chronic depression and behaviors that include self-destructive tendencies, revictimization, and drug/alcohol abuse can increase one's vulnerability to HIV infections." (2007) Being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness "has been categorized as a traumatic stressor in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual 4th Edition (APA, 1994) Moreover, a growing body of research suggests that traumatic stress responses and even full-blown PTSD syndromes can ensue from the traumatic experience of being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness." (Gore-Felton and DiMarco, 2007) the problem with stress in those with HIV is connected to the response of stress upon the immune systems because "cumulative stress can disrupt this complex interactive system."(Gore-Felton and DiMarco, 2007) This may contribute to progression of the HIV disease. "Clinical evidence suggests that stressful live events predict more rapid HIV disease progression." (Gore-Felton and DiMarco, 2007)

In the course of the study is has been comprehended that "women experience HIV infection within the context of their various relationships." (a Guide to Clinical Care of Women with HIV / AIDS, 2005) Over 25% of HIV infected women have children, are three times as likely to have children as men, and are more than three times likely to live with their children. (Ibid; 2005 paraphrased) it is related that it has been characterized by clinical psychologists as to the "fundamental differences in the way women and men think about themselves with significant implications for practice. (Ibid, 2005; paraphrased) Women who have children in their household are more likely to delay medical care for themselves than are women without children or men. The following chart lists a demographic comparison of HIV-positive women and men.

HIV-Positive Women and Men

Women

Men

Level of Significance

African-American

Unemployed

Incomes <$5,000/yr

Without medical insurance

35-year-old

Source: A Guide to Clinical Care of Women with HIV / AIDS, 2005

The work entitled: " a Guide to Clinical Care of Women with HIV / AIDS" states that the emotional adjustment after finding out that one is HIV-positive "...including coping as an individual on a daily basis with the demands of having HIV and becoming an HIV patient, commonly follows by a natural course of progression through stages. For every 'shock' - a new diagnosis, a new symptom, the need to take more pills, more intrusions on daily routines - there is often the 'aftershock' of anger and avoidance, fear and denial." (2005) Furthermore this emotional adjustment "may vary by culture, race, and ethnicity, by level of social support and caretaking responsibilities, and by age and severity of physical and psychiatric symptoms..." (a Guide to Clinical Care of Women with HIV / AIDS, 2005) Appendix a provides the table showing the various milestones which are discussed in the Clinical Guide. The first stage is that of HIV Prevention in which the health care provider must be able to discuss high-risk behaviors with ease with the patient as well as discuss prevention measures. At this point the patient should be educated about HIV including the disease, transmission and negotiating safe behaviors. Empathy must be shown for the patient's denial, lack of interest, and high-risk behaviors. (Ibid)

The work of Archie-Booker, Cervero, and Langone entitled: "The Politics of Planning Culturally Relevant AIDS Prevention Education for African-American Women" reports a study conducted for the purposes of determining: (1) the extent to which the programs of a community-based AIDS education provider were culturally relevant for African-American women; and (2) What organizational and social factors in the program planning process influence whether these programs are culturally relevant. The study was of a qualitative nature, which studies an AIDS community services agency through conduction of interviews with staff and board members. Further participants-observations of three programs were utilized in order to analyze the programs and finally an analysis of the agency's documents was conducted. Findings of the study state that: "...except for a one-hour segment of one program, the overall AIDS education efforts were not culturally relevant for African-American women." (Archie-Booker, Cervero, and Langone, 1999)

There were three stated factors… [END OF PREVIEW]

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