The cumulative HIV/AIDS infections in Spain is about 120,000 to 150,000 cases with the number of death toll reported to be 75 000 (Castilla, et.al,17). HIV infection lowers the immunity system of the body by fighting the antibodies that protects the body from the opportunistic diseases; this makes the person venerable to other opportunity infections like TB, cholera, syphilis and many others.
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HIV infection has led to several deaths and increase in number orphans especially within the immigrant community. It has also led to reduction of manpower due to deaths and serious illness that is experienced at a cute stage. HIV/AIDS infection has serious negative impact on the economy on the government of Spain as the government has invests lots of money for HIV control and management.
Though the government has placed various mechanisms in place, the new infections are still high. In autonomous communities the rate of infections still stands at 60 new infections in one million people and this poses a great threat to the government as more infections is something to be predicted.
Nature and Magnitude of the Problem
Spain has the leading rate of infection in Europe, currently, it’s estimated that 35000 people have newly contracted the disease without knowing with 75% being Spaniards while 35% being the immigrants. This is because some of the Spaniards are still involving in dangerous behaviors exposing them to HIV infections and the immigrants being low income earners with some cultural differences that creates barrier to medical acquisition, has also led to high infections (Del Romero, et.al, 34).
It has been reported that 50% of the infections are transmitted through heterosexual relationship with 25% being gay relationship and 12% being through injection leading to high rate of the death associated with HIV /AIDS.
Who Is Affected
Injecting drug users
It occurs whenever uninfected persons shares injections equipments with an infected persons. Though the government initiated the program of methadone maintenance and vigorous campaign advising the IDU’s to go for needle exchange, the rate of infection through this process is still high as most drug user shy away from this program.
Homosexual especially commercial sex workers
Considering the fact that Spain has the leading number of the homosexual in Europe, the rate of the infections in this group stands at 10% (Del Romero, et.al, 33). According to the recent studies, it has been noticed that there is an increase of the homosexual relationship especially male sexual workers who at times have unprotected sex making them susceptible to HIV.
The transmission through this means is still an endemic phenomenon since there has been no substantial reduction despite the measures put by the government.Actually, since there has been high reductions through other means, has made heterosexual relationship be the highest means by which HIV infections occurs. This is seen by the rate in which the new infections are noticed in the people in the stable relationship.
Though mothers who are HIV infected in Spain have been introduced to the antiretroviral therapy, the rate of babies infected through their mothers is still high. The current statistics shows that about 500 to 1000 babies born are infected.
The highest risk factors are the poor immigrants who are not able to access the medical services as it’s estimated that 35% of the new infections are immigrant (Castilla, et.al, 19). Some of the Immigrants have cultural barriers that hinder them from going for medical services leading to difficulties in HIV testing and diagnose. The fact that they don’t know their HIV status is of high negative effect on disease control since their possibility of passing the infection to the other party is relatively high.
The other risk factor is in the commercial sex workers in the 19 cities of Spain where most of the male sex worker are from foreign origin and 96% of whom are homo sexual with 18% practicing both homo and heterosexual (Castilla, et.al,19). It has been reported that some sex worker practice unprotected sex leading to high chances of HIV transmission from an infected party to another.
Poor living standards and highly cultural beliefs especially among the immigrant poses as risks factor to HIV sexual transmission in that they get involved in risky sexual activities without using protection that might lead to more infections.
Mother to child mode of transmission is also a major risk factor as this increases the child mortality rate. According to the statistics, despite the government of Spain putting infected mothers on antiretroviral therapy, the number of infants born infected still ranges between 500 to1000.
How This Hurts Spain Social and Economic Status
The effect of HIV/AIDS can directly be felt on the economy of Spain government and nobody can dispute the fact that in Spain every person is either infected or affected (Castilla, et.al, 19). The government of Spain looses lots of work force every year through deaths or HIV related illness, this is so because most of the infections are observed on the young energetic age group between15 to 30 who play major roles in the GDP contribution. Family members of the infected persons spend a lot of time and money while caring for the infected party, this has a negative impact on the economy of the government as the time spent there could have been used in generating income and contributes on the GDP of the country (Del Romero, et.al, 37).
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The fact that HIV lowers the immunity system making the person susceptible to other diseases like tuberculosis which is an infectious airborne disease,it increases the spread to other community members hence creating difficulty in controlling these diseases.
The government of Spain spends a lot of money by initiating programs that are used to create awareness. Lately, it initiated campaign informing people the importance of HIV testing on realization that majority of newly infected persons who did not known their HIV status. The government also spends a lot of money in the production of the ARVs and this has enabled the government to place 78 % of the infected persons on the ARVs.
How to Reduce HIV/AIDS in SPAIN
Since most infections are observed on the immigrants, the government should initiate a strong awareness campaign targeting majorly on the immigrants. The information about the HIV testing, importance of testing, prevention method and HIV/AID management should be made available to immigrant, commercial sex workers, drug addicts and the public at large.
The health services should be made available to the immigrants making it easier for them to get the medical services they might need in terms of HIV testing, prevention and management and creating the awareness against the cultural negative impact on the HIV prevalence.
The government should also target at the commercial sex workers, she should create awareness on the negative effect of unprotected sex both in homo sexual and hetero –sexual relationships and if possible, the government should provide free condoms to all commercial sex workers.
HIV testing during the prenatal care should be highly advised to the pregnant mothers to prevent mother to child infection (Castilla, et.al, 28).The drug addicts should be encouraged to go for testing and make use of the initiated program of free needle exchange and methadone maintenance. Lastly, the antiretroviral therapy should be stretched up to 100% in order to save the lives of the already infected people.
Castilla,James, et al. HIV and AIDS: a world view of west port, CT: Greenwood press, 2002, 12-39.Print.
Del Romero, Jasmine, et al. Evolution del La prevalencia de Infection el por virus de la immunodeficiencia humanana in homo /bisexual de Madrid (1986/1995). Barcelona: Med Clin, 1997, 31-37.Print.