The National Minority AIDS Education & Training Center
It would be an understatement to say that HIV/AIDS has not reared its ugly head in certain communities in the United States. According to statistics available on the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website, in 2011, 82% of children born with HIV infection belonged to minority groups.
Out of the total number of HIV cases diagnosed in 2011, African Americans accounted for 44%. The numbers in the Hispanic community are alarming too; in 2011 Hispanics accounted for 20% of AIDS cases. This shows that HIV/AIDS devastation has no boundaries.
The HSS also reports that American Indians are 1.5 times more likely to have AIDS than Caucasians. HIV/AIDS is the ninth leading cause of death in Asian American and Pacific Islanders, especially between the ages of 25 to 34. It is in the backdrop of this frightening reality that the importance of a functioning public health system assumes even greater importance.
To improve HIV/AIDS patient services, education and training centers for healthcare providers lend a helping hand to those already providing care to patients. They help in delivering HIV/AIDS primary care services by using culturally appropriate clinical models, best care practices and collaborative approaches.
The fact that HIV/AIDS affects American minority communities more, makes culture the epicenter around which all related healthcare policies must be developed. There is no doubting the fact that health is an important part of any culture. Therefore, a healthcare system designed to cater to the needs of the majority is not adequately equipped to handle the HIV/AIDS devastation. It is in the light of this information that education and training centers like NMAETC have developed a culturally sensitive model with input from HIV/AIDS educators. Nursing programs in nationally accredited institutes all over the United States have taken upon themselves to educate their students on the importance of cultural sensitivity. Same goes for pharmacy schools who teach students tolerance and appreciation of other cultures. Courses like Health care quality, performance measurement and improvement have become an integral part of health care degrees as well. The main purpose behind these initiatives is to tackle this disease in a culturally sensitive and humane way.