Research Proposal: Communicable Disease

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Communicable Disease

Epidemiology has been defined as the study of the allocation and determinants of disease and injury in human populations. Epidemiologist study the differences of disease in relation to age, sex, race, occupational and social characteristics, place of residence, susceptibility, exposure to specific agents or other pertinent characteristics. Also of concern are the chronological distribution of disease, the examination of trends, cyclical patterns and intervals between exposure to causal factors and onset of disease (Welcome to the Department of Epidemiology, 2009)

The scope of this field ranges from the study of the causes of disease to the control and prevention of disease and distribution of health resources. It should be emphasized that epidemiology focuses on health problems in regards to population groups rather than on individuals. Epidemiology is a relatively new field with constantly growing boundaries (Welcome to the Department of Epidemiology, 2009). "The range of activities which may be at least partly epidemiologic includes investigation and control of disease outbreaks, study of environmental and industrial hazards, evaluation of new, preventive or curative clinical treatment, determination of the health needs of the populations, and evaluation of effectiveness of health services"(Welcome to the Department of Epidemiology, 2009)

Many of the tools used in epidemiology are borrowed from other fields such as microbiology, immunology, medicine, statistics, demography and medical geography. There is a growing center of purely epidemiologic methodology. This methodological core includes not only statistical methodology and principles of study design but a unique way of thinking which is beyond the rote memorization of rules (Welcome to the Department of Epidemiology, 2009)

The input of epidemiology to any study involving groups of people is increasingly being recognized and demanded. An epidemiologist often works in a wide variety of settings, including international health agencies, state and local health departments, federal government agencies and health programs, health maintenance organizations, colleges and universities, and numerous research institutions, both privately and publicly sponsored (Welcome to the Department of Epidemiology, 2009)

The Epidemiologic Triangle is a model that scientists have developed in order to study health problems. It can help your students understand infectious diseases and how they spread. It also gives students a chance to apply a scientific model to a variety of circumstances and facts. The Triangle has three corners which are called vertices:

Agent or microbe that causes the disease. This is the what of the Triangle.

Host or organism that harbors the disease. This the who of the Triangle.

Environment or those external factors that cause or allow for the transmission of the disease. This is the where of the Triangle (Understanding the Epidemiologic Triangle through Infectious Disease, n.d).

An outbreak or an epidemic occurs when there are more cases of a particular disease than are expected in a given area, or among a specific group of people, over a particular period of time. Another term that is often associated with epidemic is that of endemic. This is when a population has a high level of the disease all the time (Understanding the Epidemiologic Triangle through Infectious Disease, n.d).

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) was first documented as a new disease in the United States when clinicians in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco began to see young, homosexual men with Pneumocystis carinii (now P. jiroveci) pneumonia (PCP) and Kaposi's sarcoma (KS). These are unusual diseases for young adults and are not known to be immunosuppressed. The first report to show up in the medical literature that alerted the world to this new immunodeficiency syndrome emerged in June of 1981. It described five young, homosexual men in Los Angeles with PCP. The observation that followed a few weeks later was a report of 26 homosexual men, from both New York and San Francisco, with KS (four of whom also had PCP). Other reports soon followed of a similar syndrome in injecting drug users. All of these individuals shared a profound immunodeficiency, which is a depletion of CD4-positive, or T-helper, lymphocytes. In 1982, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a report of 34 cases of KS and opportunistic infections (OIs) in Haitians living in several different states in the United States, none of whom reported homosexual behavior. Not long after the CDC reported a PCP among persons with hemophilia. The first case in a transfusion recipient was reported in San Francisco in late 1982. "For a short time, the new disease was called gay-related immunodeficiency syndrome (GRIDS), but by September of 1982, the CDC had published a case definition, using the current designation of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) in print, and it was rapidly adopted by researchers" (Osmond, 2003).

AIDS is a chronic, life-threatening condition that is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). By damaging the immune system, HIV interferes with a person's ability to fight off viruses, bacteria and fungi that cause disease. HIV makes a person more susceptible to certain types of cancers and infections that they normally resist, such as pneumonia and meningitis. The virus along with the infection is known as HIV. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS is the name of the later stages of an HIV infection. An estimated 39.5 million people have HIV around the world. Although the spread of the virus has slowed in some countries, it has escalated or remained unchanged in others. The best hope for curtailing the spread of HIV lies in prevention, treatment and education (HIV / AIDS, 2009).

Traditionally prevention is depicted being at three levels: primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary HIV prevention refers to activity that is focused on preventing uninfected people from becoming infected. Secondary HIV prevention is aimed at enabling people with HIV to stay well. Tertiary HIV prevention is aimed at minimizing the effects of the ill health that is experienced by someone who is symptomatic with HIV disease (ABCs of Aids Prevention - Presentation Transcript, 2009).

As a part of its overall public health mission, the CDC provides leadership in helping control the HIV / AIDS epidemic by working with community, state, national, and international associates in surveillance, research, and prevention and evaluation activities. These activities are vitally important, because the CDC estimates that over one million Americans are living with HIV, and 24 to 27% of these people are unaware of the fact that they are infected (CDC Responds to HIV / AIDS, 2009).

The number of people living with AIDS is ever increasing, as effective new drug therapies help to keep HIV-infected persons healthy longer thus dramatically reducing the death rate. The programs of CDC work to improve treatment, care, and support for persons living with HIV / AIDS. They also work to build capacity and infrastructure in order to address the HIV / AIDS epidemic in the United States and around the world (CDC Responds to HIV / AIDS, 2009).

The Division of HIV / AIDS Prevention (Surveillance and Epidemiology) provides national leadership for HIV prevention research. They are also instrumental in surveillance, development and testing of effective biomedical interventions to reduce HIV transmission and HIV disease progression in the United States and around the world. The purpose of these activities is to guide the development, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based HIV prevention programs that serve people affected by, or at risk for, HIV infection. The Epidemiology Branch designs and conducts epidemiologic, behavioral, and biomedical intervention studies in the United States and internationally to determine risk factors and manner of transmission of HIV infection and to reduce HIV infection and disease progression (CDC Responds to HIV / AIDS, 2009).

For many years in the United States, HIV testing and counseling was thought of as the main prevention intervention for people who thought they may be at risk for infection or for those who tested HIV-negative. Today, complete HIV prevention involves primary and secondary prevention activities. Primary HIV prevention includes those activities directed at keeping an HIV negative person negative. While secondary HIV prevention refers to activities for the person who is HIV positive or has AIDS. The goal of secondary HIV prevention is to make sure the infected people:

do not transmit the virus to others remain healthy over time do not become re-infected with the Primary and secondary HIV prevention activities in health care settings tend to enhance the health of those that they serve. Primary and secondary HIV prevention activities often include:

HIV risk assessment and risk-reduction counseling

HIV testing and counseling partner notification and referral services education on sexual behavior changes and safer sex methods support of medication adherence for those with HIV / AIDS

screening for sexually transmitted diseases education on high-risk substance-use behaviors and harm reduction practices

screening for drug and alcohol abuse and when appropriate, referring for substance abuse treatment support groups that discuss healthy lifestyle choices (Primary and Secondary HIV Prevention, 2008).

Screening for STDs is a very important step in HIV prevention as the presence of other STDs indicates that the patient has not been practicing safe sex and may be at risk for HIV. An individual with an… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Communicable Disease.  (2009, September 4).  Retrieved June 17, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/communicable-disease/654965

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"Communicable Disease."  4 September 2009.  Web.  17 June 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/communicable-disease/654965>.

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"Communicable Disease."  Essaytown.com.  September 4, 2009.  Accessed June 17, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/communicable-disease/654965.