HIV/AIDS in Human Services
HIV/AIDS is a worldwide pandemic that has ravished the lives of countless millions of people, since its discovery, more than 30 years ago. HIV/AIDS can be addressed through all three models of service delivery. Each of the models (Medical Model, Public Health Model and Human Services Model) may approach this issue differently, but they all have the same central focus; which is to combat this, ever evolving, global phenomenon. The Medical Model is going to address the issue of HIV/AIDS through four elements. First, the Medical Model will indentify symptom that lead to a diagnosis, then treatment of the disease and finally, research for a possible cure (Woodside & McClam, 2011, p. 99). The first element, of symptoms, is a bit tricky in regards to HIV/AIDS. Symptoms of HIV, which is short for human immunodeficiency virus, may not show up in a positive patient for over a decade ("AIDS Healthcare Foundation | Learn About HIV and AIDS", n.d.). AIDS, which stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome, develops in the final stages of HIV. Once the patient has reached that point, the immune system is too weak to fight viruses and the body is more susceptible to acquire various cancers ("AIDS Healthcare Foundation | Learn About HIV and AIDS", n.d.). Therefore, with HIV/AIDS, diagnosis of the disease will most likely come before the symptoms. Following symptoms and diagnosis, is the element of treatment. Treatment of HIV/AIDS comes in the form of Antiretrovirals (ARVs). “Today, there are 31 antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat HIV infection” ("Treatment of HIV Infection, NIAID, NIH", 2012). These drug combinations work to give the HIV positive patients a longer, healthier life. ARVs are only a treatment to subdue the virus; they are not a cure ("Treatment of HIV Infection, NIAID, NIH", 2012). The final element, in the Medical Health Model, is cure. This year, at the International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C, which I personal attended, talk of a cure emerged. As of today, there is no proven cure to the virus, but we are at least on the way to an AIDS Free generation, as promised by Hillary Clinton at this year’s AIDS Conference (Norman, 2012). The Medical Health Model’s strengths lie in treating the disease from the inside. But disease affects the whole person, not just their body. The Medical Health Model does not address the social or interpersonal issues associated with the virus.
The mission of the Public Health Model is focused on promoting physical as well as mental health, prevention and encouraging healthy behaviors (Woodside & McClam, 2011, p.109). In relation to HIV/AIDS, this means prevention in the form of pre/post-exposure prophylaxis treatment and education, as well as social action which includes advocacy.
In July of this year, Truvada was approved as a PrEP or pre-exposure prophylaxis, which is an antiretroviral drug used in the prevention of HIV. “Truvada can be prescribed for high-risk groups, such as the partners of HIV-positive people and gay men” ("Pre-exposure Prophylaxis", n.d.). Other prevention methods are post-exposure prophylaxis treatment, used after exposure of the HIV virus; and antiretroviral treatment as prevention.
The most important method of prevention is education. Education of the basics of what exactly HIV is and how it is contracted as well as abstinence and sex education is essential.
Finally, the Public Health Model concentrates on social action. The Public Health Model combats stigma and discrimination, through social action, as it relates to HIV/AIDS. Individuals that are stigmatized are encouraged to “take action to resist the forces that discriminate against them” (Parker & Aggleton, n.d.).
The Public Health Model addresses the issue of HIV/AIDS in the most comprehensive way. It combines medical knowledge with community action skills...