Homosexuals are vulnerable to certain diseases. Our research that focuses on their health will help us understand their situation better and allow us to work out a strategy for their journey toward recovery and wellness.
Gay, HIV Positive African American Men
HIV or human immunodeficiency virus attacks the immune system of the person affected with it until the body becomes susceptible to infections and other diseases. This virus can lead to AIDS or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. Unfortunately, there is no cure yet for HIV that is why once a person acquires it, he or she is infected for the rest of his or her life. There are approximately 1.1 million people living with HIV in the United States as of 2014 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last year, there were 37, 600 new cases of HIV infections. Reports also show that HIV was prevalent among young African American gay men. This research aims to identify the barriers to health services that could help those infected with HIV and plan strategies for intervention.
Awareness campaign regarding the facts behind HIV is still the main strategy to bring down barriers to accessing treatment and prevent HIV. A study by the Los Angeles county found out that HIV patients were not aware of the services and treatments that they could avail of, did not know where to access these services, or did not know whom to approach for assistance. Awareness campaigns can be done throughout the county and also have pockets of discussions in local communities to create a more approachable atmosphere for HIV patients or clients. This can also be done through information dissemination in different formats such as social media, posters, brochures, and leaflets. Bringing the discussions closer to their homes would also be a good opportunity to involve their family and friends in educating them about HIV so that they would know the risk factors, treatment, and most importantly, they can offer much needed support for people living with HIV. Knowing more about HIV can hopefully ease their worries and reduce social stigma. Through discussions and health education, human services professionals can slowly establish rapport with the community and gain their trust. This is useful information so that we can adjust and tailor fit the intervention strategy according to their needs. We can also connect them to the proper agencies to address their concerns and involve humanitarian organizations, church groups, and community health workers in providing holistic care for these people and their families. It takes a whole community to help prevent HIV and treat HIV patients towards an improved quality of life.