Hiv/Aids In The Indigenous Community

1380 words - 6 pages

HIV/AIDS is a deadly infectious disease that has killed millions across the globe. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infects and destroys the white blood cells (called CD4+ T-lymphocytes or CD4 T-cells) of the body's immune system. Thus, HIV reduces the ability of the body's immune system to respond to infection, increasing susceptibility to opportunistic infections and some types of cancer. Transmission of HIV in Australia occurs primarily through sexual contact between men. The virus can be transmitted also through sexual contacts between men and women or by sharing needles and/or syringes with someone who is infected. The virus can cause specific diseases of its own and, at later stag ...view middle of the document...

AIDS diagnoses among indigenous persons jumped from 1.5 per 100,000 people in 2000 to 3.6 in 2004, and HIV diagnoses increased from 3.7 per 100,000 to 5.2 in the same period. In comparison, in the broader population, HIV diagnoses rose from 4 per 100,000 people to 4.7 in the period, and AIDS diagnoses actually decreased among the non-indigenous, from 1.2 per 100,000 people to 0.8. In addition, whereas HIV transmission in the non-indigenous population was predominantly between men, for indigenous persons it was just as likely to occur heterosexually.It is essential for HIV/AIDS interventions to be integrated into other health education programs as high risk behaviours can increase vulnerability. Examples of effective HIV prevention strategies require the integration and coordination of clinical and population health (including health education). These activities are likely to be effective if implemented in community groups and not in isolation. There are cultural sensitivities surrounding the discussion of HIV prevention within Indigenous communities, but steps can been taken to address some of these issues.In rural and remote Indigenous communities, the detection, prevention and treatment of HIV is dependent on social and geographical factors. Community infrastructure is often limited and access to general health care, hospitals and specialist care may be restricted. Treatment of a patient within their community may not always be possible. Culturally acceptable dialogue and resources are essential in influencing community action. Resources that are culturally appropriate are also important for achieving improved access to appropriate health care information.Building networks and partnerships in the area of HIV/AIDS is essential for successful outcomes. The approach to the HIV epidemic in Australia has generally been characterised by a partnership between government, medical professionals and the affected community. The extension of this partnership strategy has been incorporated into the National Indigenous Australians' Sexual Health Strategy 1996-97 to 1998-99, which emphasises community involvement at every level of the decision-making and policy formation processes, recognising that a lack of partnerships has in the past, been a major contributing factor to the lack of success of sexual health programs.Australia, Canada and New Zealand have joined together for the first time on a collaborative research project to improve Indigenous health. Under the auspices of a trilateral agreement signed in 2002 between the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) and New Zealand's Health Research Council (HRC) the three countries will support complementary Indigenous health research. Under the program, the University of New South Wales has been awarded $1.7 million to work with scientists in Canada and New Zealand to investigate prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS in Indigen...


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