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HIV/ AIDS in the UK Research Paper


General Country Information

Official Country Name: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Continent and Region: Europe and Western Europe

Neighbouring States: France and Ireland

Governmental System: Constitutional Monarchy

Economic System: Liberal service based economy

Head of State: Prime Minister David Cameron (CIA, 2010)

Member of International Political Organizations (e.g. NATO)? NATO- a founding member and also the Commonwealth. A Security Council member of the UN. It also belongs to the G-8, IMF, Paris Club , Australia Group, IFC and many others such as Interpol.

Member of International Economic Organizations (e.g. ASEAN)? OECD, IEA, G-20, ILO, IMO, EAPC and BIS

Member of Other International Organizations? It is in the European Union. Nonetheless, it has chosen not to implement some of the issues surrounding the Monetary or Economic Issues.

Total population. 61, 284, 806

Average Life Expectancy. 79.16 years

Literacy rate (%). 99

Official Language. English

Major religion(s). Christianity accounting for 71.6%, Islam -2.7% and Hindu-1%

Allies. US, France and Ireland

Major trade partners. US (Biggest trading partner), France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Netherlands and Ireland

Countries with which your Country has friendly/adverse relations. Conflicted with Spain over autonomy, Argentina over Island territories, Iraq, Afghanistan and other Arab Nations over involvement in the US led 2002 invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Former Colonial Powers (if applicable). Not applicable

Former Colonies (if applicable). India, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Egypt (CIA, 2010)

History of United Kingdom

Early history. England was in place from 10TH C, It then joined forces with Wales in 1284 and then included Scotland in 1707. In 1801, Ireland was made part of Great Britain but was later partitioned in 1921 to leave only Northern Ireland as part of the UK.

Recent history. The country has recently been fighting for constitutional reform. It has also been at the forefront of instating devolutions. Its involvement in the EU has made a continental and hence a global force intended on influencing other nations’ foreign policy. The UK enjoyed high economic growth in the last half of the twentieth century and the early twenty first, however, the global economic recession tool a toll on them. It has also been struggling with territorial defences over assemblies by Northern Ireland. (CIA, 2010)

HIV/AIDS

Four major threats affecting my state

The United Kingdom is confronted with a series of challenges. Obesity has become a serious cause for concern. This has permeated across all major age groups, including the youth and members of the older population. Several awareness campaigns have been launched through the media and other concerns in order to reduce obesity and hence the other health complications that arise from it. Secondly, crime is a pressing problem as well.

This is especially common in the major cities like London. Matters have been worsened by high immigration rates which have been linked to this trend in subsequent times. (Weild, 1998) In order to solve the problem, police and prison reforms have been instated. Mental illness as a social challenge has also taken on centre stage. Concerns over providing proper medical care to these groups of individuals has been raised. Teenage pregnancies are also another crucial issue as well. (Pickett & Wilkinson, 2009)

AIDS statistics

In the United Kingdom, there are currently eighty three thousand HIV positive and AIDS infections; it was found that out of this number, three quarter knew of their status while the rest did not.

This represents a percentage of about 0.3 of the entire UK population. Statistics show that the latest infection rates were 7, 928 newly infected persons. Out of the total number of people infected, 593 died in 2005. This compares to a total of 1, 720 deaths in 1995. Therefore, mortality rates for the disease have dramatically reduced in this time frame (HPA, 2009)

Percentage of those infected who are women

The latest statistics on HIV/ AIDS prevalence in the UK demonstrate that approximately, 32, 833 women out of the 105, 625 HIV cases are women. This represents about 31.09% of the infection rates within the population. Part of this disparity could be brought on by the fact that one of the common infection routes i.e. male-male intercourse is accountable for a high percentage of infection rates in the state.

In this regard, 44, 537 of the 105, 625 HIV cases in the country were caused by male-male intercourse. Furthermore, heterosexual relations also involve males; in the end, men happen to fall in the two categories and will eventually report higher prevalence rates than their female counterparts who mostly belong to the heterosexual transmission route. (Dougan, 2007)

Percentage of young people infected and possible explanations

For persons under the age of 15, it was found that they represent 2% of the infection. Those between the ages of 15-19 also represented a fairly small percentage i.e. 2.1% percent. The individuals between 20-24 represent 10% of infection rates while the age group with the highest infection rates is 30-34 years (Avert, 2010).

The latter accounted for 22%. Those between 25-29 years represented 19.9% of the population. It can be said that the lower prevalence rates among those below age 20 occur because few of them engage in heterosexual relations. The latter transmission route is accountable for the highest number of HIV infections. Furthermore, male – to male intercourse and drug use are also highest on the middle age bracket which is 30-34 so younger people are not engaging in these activities and have therefore been spared from transmission.

The country’s principle reasons for transmission

Sex between males is one of the major routes of transmission within the UK. This is perpetuated by practising unsafe behaviour such as having more than one partner and the lack of condom use. The tendency to engage in risky behaviour within this group has been denoted by the fact that sexually transmitted diseases are highly prevalent. The other route (which accounts for the highest infection rates) is heterosexual relations.

Engagement in risky behaviour within this group has also been reported to be a major reason for infection. Some individuals tend to have more than one partner. (Elam, 2006). Furthermore, others actually acquire it from other countries that are known for relatively high infection rates during periods of travel. Lastly, drug use has also been cited as an important factor in transmission. (UK collaborative HIV and STI surveillance group, 2004)

Risky behaviour amongst gays has been targeted by the government and other HIV initiatives during the nineties and this resulted in lower cases. However, it seems as though the campaign momentum was not sustained and it led to a plummeting of infections in subsequent years.

Needle exchange programs for drug users were also introduced and this accounted for a decrease in infections from the latter group. Political will does exist and has contributed to lower rates. (Department of Health, 2001). Nevertheless, more needs to be done in terms of reinforcing safe sex messages as risky behaviour accounts for most of the issues.

Extent of effectiveness of local and national prevention initiatives

Prevention initiatives within the UK seem to be working because HIV diagnoses over the past ten years have risen. (Brown et al, 2006). Consequently, this has ensured that counselling of uninfected partners has occurred. Furthermore, there has been a continual emphasis on recently infected HIV patients who are counselled on preventing further infections.

Also, mother to child infection rates have been reduced to the bare minimum so this is definitely a step in the right direction (Townsend, 2008). However, there are still challenges in the drug taking sector because the state has moved towards needle exchange programs in pharmacies (Hope, 2005), (Hope et al, 2002). This may put the latter group at a higher risk of infection because counselling may not occur in such settings.

Progress made within the country in terms of international agreements

The sixth Millennium development goal is to combat HIV, Malaria and other diseases. (Department for International Development, 2010) The target would be to reverse HIV spread in five years time i.e. by 2015. An analysis of the HIV infection rates in UK demonstrates that there is no consistent rate of infections over the past ten years.

In 2002, new infection rates accounted for 6,322. This increases to 7,373 and 7,849, 7,975 in 2003, 2004 and 2005 respectively. The latter were patterns of increase. On the other hand, the numbers started dwindling after 2005, to 7,608, 7,495, 7,298 in 2006, 2007 and 2008 respectively. Statistics for 2009 are yet to be published (Sullivan, 2005). The country needs to maintain the trend over the last four years and if does then it will be working towards achievement of the millennium goals.

References

CIA (2010). . Web.

Pickett, K. & Wilkinson, R. (2009). Spirit level: why more equal societies almost always do better. London: Allen lane.

Dougan, S. (2007). HIV Diagnosis among men and HIV testing. Sexually transmitted infections journal, 83(2), 56.

Health protection agency (2009). HIV in the UK – 2009 report. Web.

Avert (2010). . Web

Sullivan, K. (2005). Newly diagnosed HIV infections-Ireland and UK review. British medical Journal, 330(5), 1301.

Townsend, C. (2008). Mother to child HIV transmission, AIDS journal, 22(5), 8.

Hope, V. (2005). HIV prevalence amongst drug users in England and Wales from 1990 to 2003. AIDS journal, 3(21), 19.

Department of Health (2001). National sexual health and HIV strategy. London. Department of health.

UK collaborative HIV and STI surveillance group. (2004). Focus on prevention: HIV and sexually transmitted infections in UK. London, Health protection agency centre for infections.

Hope, V., Rogers. P. & Jordan, L. (2002). Increase in needle and syringe sharing in England and Wales. AIDS journal, 16(2), 2494.

Department for International Development. (2010). Millennium Development Goal Six. Web.

Weild, A. (1998). HIV prevalence and associated risks. International AIDS conference.

Brown, A., Logan, L. & Fenton, K. (2006). Monitoring effectiveness of HIV prevention initiatives in Great Britain. Sexually transmitted Infections journal, 82(4), 4-10.

Elam, G. (2006). Barriers to voluntary HIV testing among Africans in England. HIV medicine journal, 7(1), 28.

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IvyPanda. "HIV/ AIDS in the UK." September 2, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/hiv-aids-in-the-uk/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "HIV/ AIDS in the UK." September 2, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/hiv-aids-in-the-uk/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'HIV/ AIDS in the UK'. 2 September.

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