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HIV/AIDS in the US: A Snapshot
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate over 1 million Americans living with an HIV infection. Furthermore, 1 in every 6 is unaware of their infection. The number of HIV infected people has only increased while the number of new HIV infections has remained the same.

How to fight HIV/AIDS?

Education is quintessential to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic both at the preventive and treatment stages. As it is widely known, there is no vaccine to prevent HIV, nor there a cure for AIDS. Therefore its prevention is the only good option in the fight against this deadly disease. Prevention against HIV infection demands education about HIV and avoiding a lifestyle that may allow the virus to enter the body. Education is equally important once a person becomes infected with the deadly virus.

How to educate people in fight against HIV/AIDS?

Getting a Health Science Degree is one of the better ways to equip oneself to educate others on HIV/AIDS. BS degree in Health Science, Master of Health Science (MHS), Master of Public Health (MPH) and others are some of the degree programs in which students may specialize on issues surrounding HIV/AIDS and STDs. Some of the courses discussed include:

  • Applied Public Health Policy Analysis
  • Social Determinants of Health Behaviors
  • Seminar in Public Health Prevention

Where to enroll in these programs?

In addition to campus-based health science degrees, online degrees in the field are also offered by various academic institutes. An online health science degree and online public health degree are ideally for those who cannot attend classes’ on-campus, for a variety of reasons. Online degree in health is taught online and provides students with convenience of studying from home and at the time of their choice.
There are many institutes, in addition to colleges and universities, training healthcare professionals to become a part of the effort fighting against HIV/AIDS. National Minority Aids Education and Training Center (NMAETC) is one such institute
.
About AIDS education training centers

Their primary objective is to educate, train and provide healthcare professionals (physicians, pharmacists, oral health providers, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, etc) with information on HIV/AIDS. These services may be provided free of cost. These centers may further provide free training to healthcare providers at their facility or via teleconferencing.

AIDS centers may organize workshops for healthcare providers so that they can meet the specific needs of their patients, health district, hospital, etc. One-on-one training sessions may also be arranged for healthcare professionals new to HIV medical management. These sessions may give them a chance to see HIV infected patients under the treatment of an experienced HIV clinician.

What can you do with a public health degree?

Equipped with public health knowledge and skills, you can apply public health principles to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. For too long the standard methods of disease control have been ignored in the fight against HIV infection. It is worth remembering that these methods, in the past, stopped other epidemics of their time.
Traditional disease-control principles are:

  • Identifying infected persons
  • Interrupting transmission
  • Ensuring case management and treatment
  • Monitoring infection and control efforts in the population

Benefits of public health principles

  • Voluntary screening for the virus and syringe-exchange programs has reduced the rate of transmission by 50 to 80 percent in injection-drug users.
  • Further progress in preventing the infection is possible with behavioral changes.

Aids education and training, a cornerstone of public health policy

The benefits of the use of condoms, clean needles, accessibility to care, and voluntary screening, are proven methods that may prevent HIV infections. Public health policy vis-à-vis HIV/AIDS further advocates:

  • Improving the availability of effective treatment
  • Supporting HIV/AIDS patients to facilitate their return to care
  • Counseling individual patients to prevent transmission
  • Improving community-based efforts to prevent transmission

Promoting cost-effective proven strategies against HIV/AIDS epidemic is another main objective of education and training. Cost-effective programs are:

  • Mass-media education campaigns
  • Wide availability of condoms
  • Intervention to change high-risk behavior in groups more likely to be infected with HIV

In short, complete application of public health principles can improve the health of people infected with HIV and prevent tens of thousands from becoming infected with this deadly virus.

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