Core 116- AIDS Perspective
2 August 2007
Part 3: Solution
“What would you do as the Public Health official for your zip code 10472?”
My goal is to get zero transmission of sexually transmitted HIV with in zip code 10472.
I would accomplish this goal through two methods. The first method is to identify the carriers of HIV/ AIDS with in my neighborhood so they can self consciously keep themselves from infecting others. The second and primary method is to make all healthy sexually active people in neighborhood aware of how drastic this epidemic is in 10472. According to data accessed by an authorized professor the ratio of a person living with HIV/ AIDS to healthy individual in zip code 10472 is 1 to 4 [reference 1]. In order to keep track of how efficient my plan is working I would compare the rates of new cases to the previous year through authorized access to American Fact Finder.
I believe it is ignorance that’s killing people in my neighborhood. HIV/ AIDS are not tangible. If there was a marker on every individual who carried the disease, transmission would be extremely minimal. I would identify this disease by making everyone in the neighborhood aware of the 1 to 64 ratio of HIV/ AIDS infected individuals to non infected individuals. My target group would be anyone that is sexually active. I would make them constantly aware of the ratio as they carry with their lives in the neighborhood. Through out various precautionary measures individuals from zip code 10472 will keep themselves safe from the disease.
My goal for solving the HIV/ AIDS epidemic in zip code 10472 is to prevent it from spreading sexually through my program “Project Safe Haven”. I believe if I am able to corner this disease it would eventually die out. My target group in zip code 10472 is the healthy individuals. Unfortunately there is little that can be done for those who have already contracted the disease. There is no known cure for HIV/ AIDS. Scientific research is limited and federal support is sparse hence it is up to individuals to save their own lives as expressed numeral time in the non-fiction “And the Band Played On” by Randy Shilts [reference 2]. In order to do so they must be aware of their surroundings. Again, HIV and AIDS are not tangible, but under the followed precaution will be identifiable for zip code 10472. For those individuals that are infected I wish for them to know that they are infected so they can keep from infecting healthy individuals. I expect these individuals to be aware of their status through their potential participation in scheduled blood drives through Project Safe Haven. Many may think that out of depression HIV/ AIDS infected individuals who figure themselves to be terminally ill may go out and sexually infect healthy individuals. My program would ensure that healthy sexually active individuals are so aware of the neighborhood epidemic that high precaution would be taken in the most generic circumstances. It only takes one time to be infected for life. Some fellow neighbors after reviewing my information may take it upon themselves to not practice sexual relations at all.
I would contact New York Blood Center to visit designated “hot spots” in zip code 10472 [reference 3]. The New York Blood Center automatically checks for HIV/ AIDS after extracting blood [reference 4]. If Project Safe Haven is aware of any HIV/ AIDS individuals we would give them information to contact New York Blood Drive for advice. I expect the New York Blood Center to willingly participate in Project Safe Haven, because there is a blood shortage in the metropolitan area amongst eligible donors in addition to the limited time blood can be preserved once drawn. I would find individuals from my “hot spots” such as an orator from the Bronx River Community Center, members of St. Joan of Arc’s parish along with humble individuals from neighborhood to speak at these conventions. This would encourage people in the neighborhood to attend these conventions by being able to relate to a respected figure in the community. When ever possible I would recruit individuals who have contacted Project Safe Haven to share personal testimonials at the conventions. I would encourage sexually active individuals to attend these conventions and to join our supplemental condom mailing list. Leaving zip code 10472 no excuses for not to practice safe sex. This option will be posted on all pamphlets and brochures with in this convention and through out the neighborhood.
Having lived in this neighborhood, I believe my set of strategies will solve the
HIV/ AIDS epidemic of zip code 10472. My “hotspots” of awareness would be located at Bronx River Community Center (174th street and Bronx River Avenue) [reference 5], the Boys and Girls Club (Hoe Avenue and 173rd street) [reference 6], Monroe High School (Boynton Avenue and 173rd street) [reference 7], St. Joan of Arc parish (Stratford Avenue and 173 street) [reference 8]. Unfortunately, there are no clinics in the immediate zip code of 10472, but if the program is executed accordingly 10472 should have little need a clinic in respect to the epidemic [reference 9]. Within these various hotspots I believe I could engage the head individual into participating and collaborating with me in respect to the drastic number of HIV/ AIDS rates and the possibility of helping to solve it. I believe it is an offer that they would gladly accept. During my awareness sessions and conventions I would attract my audience with food.
From visiting and experiencing the programs at Bronx River Community Center is located in a sub-neighborhood of 10472 named “Bronx River Projects” There are weekly life sessions on Wednesday nights at 6 o’clock in the Bronx River Community center that is made up of a range of teen audience. The center often draw its crowd by laying out pizza and caparisons for its hungry pupils. I know for sure because I was once in that audience. There was an orator who spoke heartedly to reach his audience and they only thing that separated him from his crowd was a mere generation. At one of the sessions I attended he spoke about HIV/ AIDS in the Bronx and how pertinent it was. He warned his audience to stay safe even they had a partner. He told us not to stop using the condom just because “she’s my girl or he’s my man”. At this session I learned that HIV and AIDS are often referred to as “the monster”. The main message I received from that session is that one should always stay on his/ her guard, because all it takes is to screw up once.
From personally experiencing the Boys and Girls Club a lot of room available to hold a discussion. Apart from the pool, gym, and court located on the second floor there is a lounge and two game rooms on the first floor. The main participants at the Boys and Girls Club are teen. who tend to only play sports at the resource center. I would hold awareness discussions in the lounge and game rooms with an audience of teens by first attracting them with food; the method the orator of Bronx River Community Center used.
From temporarily working at the school, one notices that Monroe high school has numerous programs occurring during and outside of school hours. Monroe high school always has a constant audience of teens along with young adults in its building. I would implement my program with in this school by getting acquainted with the schools guidance counselor and take it a step further by extending the hours of awareness and by stretching the perimeters of the office to the schools backyard at given times.
In the parish of St. Joan of Arc there is a basement. There are various types of meetings that are held there such as emigration assistance and bible study along with many other spontaneous events during the holidays. The priest father Paul is very open and is willing to attract more people to attend his church. It is often thought that catholic churches are very conservative when it comes to sex and contraceptives in respect to its biblical beliefs. In respects to past collaborations with Father Paul I believe that he would participate in a cause that would save the neighborhood.
I wish to play the role of the middle man in solving this epidemic. There are great programs out there that are geared to solving the HIV/ AIDS epidemic. I believe the problem is that neither sick nor healthy individuals relate well with these programs. The level of communication between an individual and the programs needs improvement, because the rates are horrible while immediate resource centers co-exists. I don’t think it’s necessary to ask for additional New York City taxes for Project Safe Haven to save peoples lives, but instead I believe the city has all the resources it needs to fight this epidemic. The only obligation the city would have to implement my program would be that of re-evaluating the way it distributes condoms, knowledge, and health products [reference 10]. Project Safe Haven is meant to educate and supply protection for in an optimal manner. It would start by mailing surplus condoms to subscribed recipients then move on to posting HIV/ AIDS knowledge at bus stops, trees, brochures, and laying them out on the tables on various restaurants with in the neighborhood.
To actively prevent sexual transmission of HIV/ AIDS in zip code 10472 in the Bronx I would personally have to reach out to its residents. Although it’s not my goal to work with Intravenous Drug Use (IDU) individuals, I would mention the risks of syringes at my conventions and make a note of getting help services within my brochure. In Zip code 10472 IDU accounts for approximately 50% of all HIV/ AIDS cases in zip code 10472 [reference 11].
I would prevent transmission by constantly handing out condoms just like Ana, a peer AIDS counselor in Brooklyn during the 90’s, did at my designated hotspots [reference 12]. These condoms would be available during all work hours. I would always leave my patients with a notion of abstinence before receiving any condoms, because abstinence is the best way of staying clear of all sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS. Condoms would be distributed with a brochure of statistics of HIV transmission [reference 13]. It would be confidential and free for patients. I would also include safer sex practices in my brochure [reference 13]. This would encourage individuals to practice safe sex no matter what situation they may find themselves in. These conventions will be held every two and half months. The same amount of time any one individual needs to give blood continuously.
I believe instead of asking for superfluous funding and resources we should use the resources that are readily available. The main problem is communication between individuals and the general public of its organizations. I plan to blend the two by acting as the mediator for both parties. The only thing Project Safe Haven needs in terms of cost is for the present Mayor to pay for mere postage, office supplies, and food. I would ask for a grant of no more than $10,000 for the first year just to get started, which may decrease yearly depending on the amount of additional support Project Safe Haven receives. I estimate that it would cost about $5 per person to eat at my conventions (a hotdog/ burger and beverage). I expect to see an audience of 100 to 150 people at my six times a year convention making the cost of food approximately $4,000 a year. In terms of postage I expect to have an arbitrary number of people on my weekly mailing list of two condoms. I estimate the cost of postage to be a dollar a week yielding a cost of approximately 5,000 per year. The remaining balance in the budget would be used for office supplies such as paper, ink, and as a shared stipend among the small staff. Receipts and statements will be issued to the Mayor of New York at the end of each year. I would contact previously established relationships with familiar organizations, such as Publicolor [reference 14] where I volunteered for four years and Bloomberg LP [reference 15] where I interned for a summer, for possible support.