Summer OUS 2007
Core 116: AIDS
In my previous papers we came to the conclusion that the AIDS epidemic was a problem in my neighborhood, zip code 10472. In relation to all the other zip codes in the Bronx my zip code, 10472, has the 8th highest AIDS rate. The median family income in 10472 is a low $25,000, which as weíve seen in my last paper is associated with higher percentages of unemployed and individuals on public assistance. The low median family income was also associated with the lack of post-secondary education and the inability to afford private transportation. Together, these were proven aspects that influenced my zip codes AIDS rate.
The search for a Solution
ďThereís only one way [to help prevent the spread of AIDS] and itís through
education I mean education will sum it up. We have to educate on drugs, we
have to educate on protective sex. I mean, education is it. Ē
ďI donít have enough money to go out and buy condoms that everybody wants.
I need to spend money on condoms or Iím a spend it on getting the next hit. Ē
I have resided in the zip code 10472 for about 8 months now. To this day I can not recall a single instance where Iíve seen any kind of advocacy for safe sex practices and HIV/AIDS prevention. Conversely, I am reminded everyday of its absence. Due to the high drug activity, I only walk down certain streets. Also there is a strong police presence in my area demonstrating the great need for protection. Over time I have learned that the block right next to me is one of the most active drug- transaction zones in the Bronx. High drug activity, I assumed would surely lead to large numbers of local drug users. Through this course I have learned that HIV/AIDS can be transmitted through contaminated needles. My previous research had led me to discover that Injected Drug users (IDUs) contribute to almost half the cumulative AIDS cases in my zip code. Therefore I believed that in order to solve the AIDS issue within my neighborhood I need to concentrate on IDUs and implement a Needle Exchange Program (NEP). In this program drug users would be able to exchange dirty/used needles for clean ones, at no cost to them. In effect this would less the possibility of the user contracting HIV through a contaminated shared needle. Surprisingly, as I was researching this program I came across a article in the Journal of acquired immune deficiency, which found that intravenous drug use is introduced to youths primarily through older generations. This placed increased numbers of individuals at greater risk to HIV contraction. Therefore this Journal called for increased prevention education towards youths . Therefore no longer was the solution as simple as aiding IDUs; I now had to educate youths. As my research continued I learned that based on a number of factors certain types of education methods were ineffective. These factors included appropriateness for the patientís present level of education, culture, socio-economic status, gender and lifestyle. In class we watched a movie, which followed the Tuskegee experiment. In this movie it was mentioned that scientist first believed that syphilis was a black disease. However they came to the realization that any illness which affects one population eventually affects another. There was a similar belief with AIDS, which stated that AIDS was a gay/white disease. Now it is spread across all races, ages and sexual orientations. When I applied this notion to my research, I realized that I would need a solution whose contained methods targeted the entire community.
The solution I found, that was capable of targeting an entire community was a mobile clinic. As we have discussed in class overall awareness of ones HIV status is sometimes questionable. Since about 14% of cumulative AIDS cases in 10472 are classified as unknown, our class discussion was proved to be some what true. Therefore I plan to offer visitors with free HIV/AIDS testing using Oraquick, as well as pre/post- test counseling. Coupled with the testing and counseling I will provide referrals to near by clinics that suite their individual needs best. In order to combat the zip codes low income and ability to afford contraceptives, I will distribute free condoms/lubricants. The mobile clinic will have two shifts. The first, targeting youths and their families will be during from 3- 8p.m, Monday through Saturday. The second shift accommodates to the late night lifestyle of the MSM and IDU populations. This shift will be from 12-5a.m, Monday through Sunday. This zip code also has a high Hispanic and African American population. Through my research I learned that in order for my methods to be effective I needed my methods to be culturally appropriate to each group. Thus I will use culturally appropriate video tapes which have been proven as a very useful tool in education individuals of diverse backgrounds. This is because these videos can easily be created or modified to conform to each group or individual. As well all my distributed education material such as pamphlets will have both Spanish and English translations.