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Working with certain groups of the population referring to the categories of marginalized is a relevant and rather difficult task. Medical specialists make many efforts to help people in difficult life circumstances and develop special support programs.
However, patients are often forced to undergo scrutiny from the public. This work is aimed at describing the problems faced by women with HIV, an extremely dangerous disease that affects lifestyle significantly. Also, with the help of relevant scholarly resources, action plans will be reviewed and analyzed, and recommendations will be made regarding potentially effective interventions. Women with HIV are a vulnerable social group, and appropriate support may be a valuable tool in combating the disease and helping this population.
Background and Significance of the Marginalized Group
For the United States as a whole, the problem of HIV is relevant and important since the percentage of the population infected with this disease is quite high, which is particularly true for some individual regions. Lopez-Quintero, Rojas, Dillon, Varga, and De La Rosa (2016) pay attention to Latina women with this diagnosis and argue that, for instance, in Miami (FL), the prevalence rate is “613.0 per 100,000“ females (p. 137).
At the same time, the national average level is “167.5 per 100,000” (Lopez-Quintero et al., 2016, p. 137). Also, the spread of HIV among the female population is fraught with not only increased mortality but also other related problems. During pregnancy, the risk of transmitting the virus to a fetus is high; therefore helping women with this diagnosis is the urgent task of modern medicine and the way of protecting the country’s gene pool.
Also, HIV among women is associated with some other issues. As McMahon et al. (2015) note, patients with the disease in question are often prone to indiscriminate drug use, which is also one of the ways of transmitting the illness. Also, the danger of contracting sexual partners increases health risks. Effective interventions are the essential task of modern medicine since accompanying problems are a serious threat to the well-being of not only the carriers of the virus themselves but also the people around them. Therefore, this health issue should be discussed in the context of the ongoing search for relevant measures to help women with HIV.
Socio-Economic Aspects of the Marginalized Group
The marginalized group under consideration is forced to face some social problems that make life difficult for women with HIV and create additional challenges. Lopez-Quintero et al. (2016) state that older females are under threat due to “poor risk perception and knowledge of HIV transmission” (p. 141). Adult women are less aware of the problems that unprotected sex entails, which, in turn, is fraught with higher risks of infection. McMahon et al. (2015) note “gender-based social inequalities” and focus on the representatives of the African-American and Latina peoples (p. 341). These problems create certain barriers to obtaining qualified medical consultations and increase the danger of spreading the disease among women.
In addition to social difficulties, particular economic challenges arise in the representatives of the marginalized group in question. McMahon et al. (2015) call some women with HIV “socioeconomically disadvantaged” due to the reasons that have caused their infection. The authors mention drug use as one of the factors affecting the increased risk of the virus transmission and argue that such a lifestyle condemns a person to a constant search for livelihoods (McMahon et al., 2015).
Nevertheless, even those women who do not lead an asocial lifestyle may experience significant financial difficulties because of the need for frequent counseling and rehabilitation therapies. Therefore, both social and economic aspects play an essential role in the life of females with HIV and in many respects determine the degree of the significance of medical interventions.
Social Justice about the Marginalized Group
Regarding social justice for women with HIV, some pressing issues are key to anxiety and the reason for intervention aimed at ensuring equality in society. Matheson et al. (2017) mention “the practice of forced and coerced sterilization,” which is an extremely controversial method in the modern realities of the civilized world (p. S90). This principle is difficult to perceive as an objective and legitimate policy since the possibility of access to treatment and the provision of qualified medical care is an inalienable human right. Consequently, the deprivation of an opportunity to have children restricts women and does not allow them to realize their purpose as mothers.
Although according to Matheson et al. (2017), this practice is not generally accepted and is found in African countries, for instance, Kenya, Uganda, or Namibia, appropriate measures should be taken regarding this approach. Moreover, the manifestations of poor treatment of women with HIV undermine the success of interventions aimed at stopping the disease spread. Sponsoring assistance programs are directly dependent on the success of existing methods; therefore, if controversial methods recur, progress in treating HIV will be slowed down significantly.
Ethical Issues of the Marginalized Group
Despite the existing practices of care and support for women with HIV, ethical issues affect the category of the population in question. In particular, bias is felt and, as McMahon et al. (2015) state, many patients feel uncomfortable during couple-based therapies. Blaming women is often not limited to those who have contracted the virus sexually or through drug use. In medical practice, errors occur, and HIV transmission, for instance, through blood transfusion may take place. Nevertheless, even such patients may feel condemned and public censure. Therefore, many women prefer to hide their illness for fear of bias and allegations to partners.
Conviction of women with HIV can also be observed by medical professionals. According to Dehne et al. (2016), “stigma and service-provider bias” is a phenomenon that sometimes happens in the healthcare system (p. e326). Certainly, the professionalism of those employees who allow themselves to treat patients, expressing an explicit condemnation, is in doubt since the task of all the stakeholders is to help women in need urgently. However, precedents happen, which is an unacceptable violation of medical ethics. Combating any manifestations of bias should be a prerequisite for any career guidance work among medical personnel so that females with HIV could count on competent assistance and support.
Plans of Action
To provide effective assistance to women with HIV, it is possible to consider several relevant plans of action presented in scholarly literature and having theoretical justification. One of the techniques is engaging couples where females are the carriers of the virus. McMahon et al. (2015) offer this methodology and argue that monthly meetings with qualified specialists who have undergone special training courses contribute to improving both the physical and moral condition of patients. According to the study, the authors argue that “the couple-based intervention prevented 3.04 more HIV infections per 1000 person,” which indicates a successful aid practice (p. 348). This principle of interaction with patients may be applied in case both partners are ready to participate in group and therapy sessions.
Another action plan is based on the principle of global care for women with HIV and provides for freer access to treatment along with the “prevention of vertical transmission programs” (Matheson et al., 2017, p. S86). The authors considering this strategy remark that the methodology including an educational approach and promoting protection from the most dangerous methods of infection has helped a large number of patients (Matheson et al., 2017).
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According to official data, the outcomes of interventions around the world have shown that the decline in mortality from AIDS, which is the final stage of HIV, has reached 45% among the women of reproductive age, which is significant progress (Matheson et al., 2017, p. S86). Therefore, the principle of ensuring freer access to health care is a potentially effective technique.
Another potentially successful and effective plan of action provides for creating a clear structure of control over all the phases of work regarding care for women with HIV. Dehne et al. (2016) note that an appropriate power vertical that involves monitoring the situation at different levels may help to avoid barriers to specific interventions. The authors consider several separate branches of government – national, subnational, regional, facility, and community (Dehne et al., 2016). The outcomes of such work can be measured in terms of timeliness of registering women with HIV and monitoring compliance with current therapeutic and rehabilitation methods. This approach may contribute to solving the issue of access to healthcare services and preventing violations of patients’ social rights.
For helping women with HIV, special techniques may be considered. Based on the analysis of some scholarly sources, the patients of this marginalized group face several challenges, for instance, ethical and socio-economic difficulties. Also, some manifestations of social injustice about females occur. As a solution to current problems, the considered plans of action may help women with HIV. Couple-based therapy sessions, providing freer access to healthcare services, and the verticalization of a monitoring system can be effective interventions.
Dehne, K. L., Dallabetta, G., Wilson, D., Garnett, G. P., Laga, M., Benomar, E.,… Benedikt, C. (2016). HIV Prevention 2020: A framework for delivery and a call for action. The Lancet HIV, 3(7), e323-e332. Web.
Lopez-Quintero, C., Rojas, P., Dillon, F. R., Varga, L. M., & De La Rosa, M. (2016). HIV testing practices among Latina women at risk of getting infected: a five-year follow-up of a community sample in South Florida. AIDS Care, 28(2), 137-146. Web.
Matheson, R., Brion, S., Sharma, A., Dilmitis, S., Schmitz, K., Kean, S.,… Yuvaraj, A. (2017). Realizing the promise of the global plan: Engaging communities and promoting the health and human rights of women living with HIV. JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 75, S86-S93. Web.
McMahon, J. M., Pouget, E. R., Tortu, S., Volpe, E. M., Torres, L., & Rodriguez, W. (2015). Couple-based HIV counseling and testing: A risk reduction intervention for US drug-involved women and their primary male partners. Prevention Science, 16(2), 341-351. Web.