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The introduction of antiretroviral therapy (ART) to patients with HIV/AIDS significantly changed the morbidity rates of the affected groups. Nevertheless, while the status of the epidemic was overcome with this treatment, the infection itself and the following syndrome remain incurable. People with HIV/AIDS can access drug therapy which prolongs their life and allows them to control the disease. Nevertheless, the statistics indicate that the rate of affected individuals continues to grow (Arcangelo, Peterson, Wilbur, & Reinhold, 2017).
This fact suggests that people are becoming less concerned with the danger of becoming infected, and their awareness about HIV and AIDS is highly limited. To lower the complacency of people to HIV/AIDS and change the perceptions about the condition for individuals with and without HIV/AIDS, health care professionals should focus on such aspects as safety, responsibility, and stigma.
Advanced Drug Treatment Options and Complacency
The existence of effective treatments for HIV/AIDS allows people to live longer than they would without ART. However, the idea that HIV/AIDS is manageable in the modern world affects the perception of this condition and reduces people’s awareness of this problem.
For example, Peate (2017) notes that older people do not possess the necessary knowledge to practice safe sex which leads to the spread of the virus. As a result, the prevalence of cases with older adults contracting HIV occurs in societies with developed therapy strategies. Multiple factors contribute to the increased complacency with ART being one of them. As it is mentioned above, the lack of knowledge can significantly increase the rates of infection. Therefore, while the existence of effective drug treatments has an impact on people’s perception of the condition, people’s level of awareness remains a serious problem as well.
The Role of Health Care Professionals
The consequences of contracting HIV should be discussed with people to make them aware of the severity of this disease. While not as deadly as before, HIV/AIDS is still a serious issue that affects a person’s life from the moment of infection till their death. Moreover, infected individuals also have to become more cautious about personal contacts and relations in order not to infect other people. The outcomes of people with HIV/AIDS can and their daily struggles to adhere to the complex, and demanding treatment plan should become an argument towards prevention (Scourfield, Waters, & Nelson, 2011). Community awareness strategies should focus on preventive health and safety. It is vital to point out that stigma regarding frequent testing should be overcome to make people conscientious of their sexual health.
It is known that ART is a challenging procedure that requires a person to adhere to the developed plan fully. Many people have difficulties following their treatment due to personal and societal concerns. Therefore, clinicians should focus on addressing the emotional challenges that these individuals encounter during treatment. Krummenacher, Cavassini, Bugnon, and Schneider (2011) propose a multilevel program that acknowledges people’s social and behavioral issues and uses mental health support as well as drug monitoring to increase compliance. Helms et al. (2017) also note that social stigma plays a significant role in increasing noncompliance.
Such feelings as shame and fear of abandonment should be recognized as limiting people’s ability to be transparent about their health status. HIV infection can be prevented with the practice of safe sex, and negative stigma contributes to people concealing their diagnosis or failing to realize it.
HIV/AIDS is a preventable disease that cannot be cured after contraction. To control it, individuals have to engage in a demanding and aggressive treatment therapy that prolongs their life, but it needs to be followed rigorously. Health care professionals should ensure that people are aware that HIV/AIDS is still a serious condition that affects one’s health and lifestyle substantially. An initiative that targets people’s social and personal stigma related to shame and fear can help clinicians to address the growing complacency and the lack of therapy adherence.
Arcangelo, V. P., Peterson, A. M., Wilbur, V., & Reinhold, J. A. (Eds.). (2017). Pharmacotherapeutics for advanced practice: A practical approach (4th ed.). Ambler, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Helms, C. B., Turan, J. M., Atkins, G., Kempf, M. C., Clay, O. J., Raper, J. L.,… Turan, B. (2017). Interpersonal mechanisms contributing to the association between HIV-related internalized stigma and medication adherence. AIDS and Behavior, 21(1), 238-247.
Krummenacher, I., Cavassini, M., Bugnon, O., & Schneider, M. (2011). An interdisciplinary HIV-adherence program combining motivational interviewing and electronic antiretroviral drug monitoring. AIDS Care, 23(5), 550–561.
Peate, I. (2017). HIV: Don’t be complacent. British Journal of Nursing, 26(21), 1149.
Scourfield, A., Waters, L., & Nelson, M. (2011). Drug combinations for HIV: What’s new? Expert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy, 9(11), 1001–1011.