Public Health Problem Research Paper Example
Description and Analysis of Specific Public Health Problem
HIV/AIDS used to be a disease that was rendered incurable due to the fact that there was no treatment back then. In fact, it is notable that the diagnosis of HIV/AIDS ultimately served as a “death sentence” (Lopez, 2011), mainly because of the fact that the patient is left without any options to prolong his life. However, the development of HIV/AIDS treatment has now lead to the transition of HIV/AIDS from being an acute cureless disease to a chronic one that can be countered with specific medications. Such, of course, served as a welcome development to HIV/AIDS patients, who have also long suffered the debilitating effects of the disease on their immune system, which left them vulnerable to complications. Nevertheless, a slew of findings have shown that HIV/AIDS treatment has introduced complications among patients never before seen or even foreseen by healthcare practitioners. That, of course, leads to the question on whether it is proper to allow the continuous delegation of HIV/AIDS treatment to patients or initiate developments designed to attack said complications. Lopez (2011) promptly argued that new developments to treating HIV/AIDS must be introduced, given that many of the complications arising from HIV/AIDS treatments arise from specific lifestyle problems arising from society. Complications arising from HIV/AIDS treatments are a social problem, not least because of the impact of lifestyle problems, which affect society at large. Moreover, the continued prevalence of HIV/AIDS worldwide provides the findings of Lopez (2011) on HIV/AIDS patients in the United States (US) with great social significance, given that it casts doubts on the integrity of current healthcare practices with regard to HIV/AIDS treatment.
Initially regarded as an acute disease, HIV/AIDS has had no known treatment, leading patients to regard the diagnosis as a death sentence, with no chance of prolonging their lives. However, the introduction of new treatments for HIV/AIDS has made longer life expectancies for patients possible. HIV/AIDS treatments such as nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), non-NRTIs, and high active antiretroviral viral therapy (HAART) all provided new hope for HIV/AIDS patients, who now enjoy a high chance of possibility towards full recovery. Nevertheless, there is an understanding that complications, mostly in the form of lifestyle effects side effects, have since emerged among patients – a phenomenon never encountered before by healthcare practitioners. Lifestyle patterns among HIV/AIDS patients, including smoking and poor diet leading to diabetes, have aggravated their health conditions to extents incurable by current HIV/AIDS treatments. At the same time, HIV/AIDS treatments have been found to cause side effects on patients as well, such as myocardial infarction (MI) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Since HIV/AIDS treatments are not exactly designed to counter complications, the compelling need to introduce new improvements have now emerged as a means to keep the integrity of healthcare practices on HIV/AIDS intact, to the full benefit of patients, specifically those in the US (Kirton, 2008; Lopez, 2011)
As a public health issue, one could not deny the importance of solving the problem of HIV/AIDS treatments with regard to complications. HIV/AIDS continues to threaten people worldwide and it may cause severe consequences to communities, from mismanagement of treatment delegation to discrimination of patients in certain everyday activities. Therefore, even if current HIV/AIDS treatments can prolong the life expectancies of people, the complications that have since emerged from patients now stand as a compelling issue in public health healthcare practitioners must seek to resolve (Lopez, 2011).
As consistently mentioned, the etiological factors for HIV/AIDS treatment complications include the aggravating effects of lifestyle practices of HIV/AIDS patients and side effects coming from current forms of HIV/AIDS treatments – NRTIs, NNRTIs and HAART. Smoking, a lifestyle problem of HIV/AIDS patients, can cause a slew of diseases that include leukemia, cancer, CVD and many others (Lifson et al., 2010). NRTIs, NNRTIs and HAART could lead to heart-related complications such as MI and CVD, given the inflammatory nature of HIV/AIDS. Also, NRTIs, NNRTIs and HAART could also cause diabetes due to insulin resistance and glucose level anomalies. Lifestyle effects, such as poor diet leading to obesity, are also found to have led to MI, CVD and diabetes among HIV/AIDS patients in the US (Formulary Staff, 2010; Kirton, 2011; Lopez, 2011).
Solving the Public Health Problem
It is also important for healthcare practitioners in the US to become more information towards patients with regard to detailing preventive measures against HIV/AIDS treatment complications. For one, it is crucial to tell patients to undergo specific therapies, such as lipid-lowering therapy, in order to mitigate MI and CVD. Healthcare practitioners must also monitor the state of obesity among HIV/AIDS patients in order to prevent instances of diabetes. The use of HIV/AIDS treatments from different classes not known to cause CVD must also be considered by healthcare professionals in order to enable HIV/AIDS patients to avoid HIV/AIDS treatment complications (Lopez, 2011).
Moreover, it is crucial for healthcare practitioners to prepare HIV/AIDS patients in the US with regard to new kinds of HIV/AIDS treatments. For new HIV/AIDS treatments to become more effective, healthcare practitioners should first make sure that HIV/AIDS patients are willing and knowledgeable to take those. For that, healthcare practitioners must teach HIV/AIDS patients to deal with possible complications both from the treatment and HIV/AIDS itself. It is also crucial to develop new programs designed to address HIV/AIDS treatment complications, which in turn could make sure that HIV/AIDS patients exert full compliance (Kirton, 2008; Lopez, 2011).
Public Health in the Future
As specified in the literature, it is highly important to curtail the negative effects of HIV/AIDS treatment complications, specifically among HIV/AIDS patients in the US. Given the fact that HIV/AIDS treatments have since led to lengthening the life expectancies of HIV/AIDS patients, it is also imperative to protect them against complications in order to prevent making their new lease in life an ordeal for them to endure. As a public health problem, HIV/AIDS treatment complications need to be countered efficiently through delegation of proper remedies, as stated earlier. Yet, as it stands, it is important to emphasize that prevention is, indeed, better than cure when it comes to dealing with HIV/AIDS treatment complications (Kirton, 2008). To prevent HIV/AIDS treatment complications from emerging, it is important for healthcare practitioners to impose strict regimens for HIV/AIDS patients undergoing treatments. The use of NRTIs, NNRTIS and HAART, provided those do not introduce side effects, must come with proper lifestyle practices such as the consumption of suitable dietary regimens and prevention of smoking. Healthcare practitioners must exercise greater authority to prevent activities that may just aggravate the health of HIV/AIDS patients. At the same time, it is also important for healthcare practitioners to monitor HIV/AIDS patients constantly while undergoing treatment until such time that they have recovered to the strongest extent (Lopez, 2011).
My personal experience with HIV/AIDS treatment complications comes from an acquaintance, who is currently an HIV/AIDS patient. While my acquaintance has contracted HIV/AIDS through unsanitary hospital equipment, his habit of smoking and poor diet has led him to suffer from complications. Even prior to contracting HIV/AIDS, my acquaintance has since been a heavy smoker and drinker, which is why it became really difficult for him to become an HIV/AIDS patient, given that he had a really hard time sacrificing what he has been used to doing. Therefore, for people like my acquaintance, I could really see why it is very important for them to get new kinds of treatment and other measures that could enable them to deal with HIV/AIDS treatment complications. Indeed, it is not all the time that contracting HIV/AIDS is due to circumstances that could have been prevented by the patient himself, such as in the case of sexual intercourse. Improper medical practices delegated by healthcare practitioners, which is understandably beyond the control of individuals, could cause HIV/AIDS and patients would, of course, be forced to stop whatever practices they are used to doing. Nevertheless, I am of the belief that with HIV/AIDS or not, avoiding unhealthy practices is something that healthcare practitioners must promote to protect public health.
In the future, I am of the opinion that healthcare practitioners in the US must maximize their capabilities to prevent HIV/AIDS treatment complications. From preventive measures to innovative practices that include the creation of new kinds of HIV/AIDS treatment, protecting the welfare of HIV/AIDS patients must serve as the primary goal. Understanding the causes of HIV/AIDS treatment complications serves as perhaps the first and most important step for healthcare practitioners and HIV/AIDS patients in the US alike. At the same time, keeping healthy at all times must serve as the primary goal of HIV/AIDS patients, given the gravity of their situation. HIV/AIDS patients in the US must also receive adequate assistance from healthcare practitioners, who in turn must exert competence in what they do so that they could ensure their smooth recovery. For healthcare practitioners specializing in producing HIV/AIDS treatments, they must make it a point to take into consideration the different kinds of complications that patients experience. In that way, healthcare practitioners would be able to introduce highly effective HIV/AIDS treatments. All of the foregoing recommendations must find bearing in future studies.
Formulary Staff. (2010). Some antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV associated with an elevated risk of myocardial infarction. Formulary, 45(9), 292
Kirton, C. (2008). Managing long-term complications of HIV infection. Nursing 2008, 38(8), 44-49.
Kirton, C. (2011). HIV: The changing epidemic. Nursing 2011, 41(1), 36-43.
Lifson, A., Neuhaus, J., Arribas, J., van der Berg-Wolf, M., Labriola, A., and Read, T. (2010). Smoking-related health risks among persons with HIV in the strategies for management of antiretroviral therapy clinical trial. American Journal of Public Health, 100(10), 1896-1903.