The Control Of HIV/AIDS in Denmark, Germany, Poland, and the United States
Across the world, countries have been attempting to implement the most effective measures for controlling dangerous and widespread epidemics. These epidemics are a threat to the livelihood and growth of any country because they have the capacity to destroy entire populations and devastate economies and cultures alike. One of the most well known epidemics of our time is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This epidemic has showed no discrimination in who it attacks, with 33.3 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS and 1.8 million annual deaths due to AIDS (HIV and AIDS Statistics From Around the World). Although a large majority of the cases of HIV/AIDS are found in sub Saharan Africa, this epidemic is also prevalent to a lesser degree in Denmark, Germany, Poland, and the United States. These countries share many similarities, yet vary in a number of ways as well. How do the similarities and differences between these four countries impact and shape each country’s individual programs and measures used to control epidemics, more specifically the HIV/AIDS epidemic? By examining Denmark, Germany, Poland and the United States independently of one another it will become apparent how each country may differ or relate to each other in regards to their methods of dealing with epidemic control.
To begin the analysis of health care systems and their methods of epidemic control, Denmark will be the first country investigated. Denmark’s universal health care system has retained the same basic structure since the early 1970’s (Denmark – Health). Therefore, the processes in which epidemic control are implemented will be observed from the 1970’s onward. According to statistics from 1999, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS was estimated at 4,300, and deaths from AIDS that year were estimated at less than 100. HIV prevalence was recorded at 0.17 per 100 adults. In 2007, there were 4,800 people living with HIV/AIDS in Denmark, of which 1,100 were women, and adult HIV prevalence was 0.2 per 100 adults (Denmark). When these two sets of statistics are compared, it is readily apparent that the incidence of HIV/AIDS has increased from 1999 to 2007. While the rate of increase has not been a substantial or major one, it is still present, and could certainly continue to increase if steps are not taken to prevent the spread of the epidemic. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark has stated that one of its major focuses is on HIV/AIDS and reproductive health. This administration considers combating HIV/AIDS as an independent goal among the eight 2015 Millennium Development Goals. Poverty, gender inequality, and social marginalization have all been identified as major contributing factors to the spread of HIV/AIDS. As a result, Denmark has been progressively placing an increased effort and allocating resources towards these issues, as well as updating and altering its policies and methods for dealing with HIV/AIDS. In 2005 Denmark introduced a new strategy for combating HIV/AIDS, in which it stated that support for the epidemic should be focused on improving the national capacity in the HIV/AIDS field and strengthening the overall health system. In order to reap success from these strategies Denmark needed a plan for the implementation of those strategies. This plan includes contributing to international organizations, promoting the integrations of HIV/AIDS and reproductive health into the country’s own development plans, gaining support through the health sector, targeting support through HIV/AIDS programs, and providing support to relevant non-governmental organizations (HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health). Denmark seems to have a very up-to-date set of programs for combating HIV/AIDS, which seem to be working reasonably well. Although the statistics have shown an increase in the prevalence of...
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