Why is it that in the US specifically has the highest rate of STDs in the industrialized world

The first step in the research process is to determine an area of research. After that is done, one must reflect upon one’s world view and orientation to research (Burkholder et al, 2016 ). The idea could have merged from reading and going through several other sources and a spark of interest could have grown from there. Or perhaps there is something such as a problem in an area, setting, or environment that needs to be addressed.  Burk et al (2016) articulates that is important to reflect on one’s worldview and orientation to the selected research because the very foundation of the research such as how you read the literation and design the study is reflected around one’s perspective of truth and reality. The second most important step is to conduct a full and thorough systematic literature research of your selected topic. This is important because the literature can come from many and multiple sources and this is the process to retrieve information and literature adding to the experience and breadth of one’s scholarship in the matter. The researched literature can be sourced from doctoral dissertations, peer reviewed journal articles, books, and even some magazine, newspaper, and video footage. Obviously more peer reviewed articles and academia published literature is preferred for a more in depth and valuable scholarly research study.

My research topic of interest is the need for additional HIV/STD interventions in Georgia with regards to health disparities and those populations specifically more at risk for infection.  Unfortunately the relationship between race, sexuality, and socioeconomic status to health outcomes is very woven into one another, especially regarding HIV/AIDS incidence and prevalence rates and deaths. Racial and ethnic minorities have the poorest health outcomes in the US and that is steadily increasing (Cohen,Cook,Davis, 2005). Southern states accounted for more than half of new HIV diagnoses in 2016, while making up 38% of the national population (CDC, 2018). Approximately half of the deaths linked to HIV or AIDS were in the South. Georgia has the highest rate of HIV infections in 2016 at 31.8 per 100,000 people (CDC, 2018).

In the United States in 2016, 80% (6,776) of new HIV diagnoses occurred in young people aged 20 to 24 (CDC1, 2018). Eighty-one percent (6,848) of HIV diagnoses were among youth with infections attributed to male-to-male sexual contact and African Americans accounted for 54% (3,719) of infections attributed to male-to-male sexual contact (CDC1, 2018).  Since CDC now considers treatment as prevention, knowing one’ status and getting on treatment as early as possible, to can decrease their viral load, making transmission less possible contribute to HIV prevention. Noting these alarming statistics it is evident that the target population and geographic location most in need for more HIV program interventions are with MSM and African Americans in the southern US, most specifically in Georgia.

Epistemological beliefs regarding HIV/AIDS, STDs, and Infectious Diseases in the south can be questioned though are backed by government funded research and surveillance systems.  The CDC data comes routinely from surveillance programs and funded HIV/STD Surveillance Report Special Reports. Additionally, local health agencies are mandated and partner with government agencies to frequently report incidences and diagnoses, treatments, linkage to care, and demographics. Ontologically speaking, there is enough literature and research to support that STDs and HIV/AIDS not only exist but are still a huge problem and epidemic in our society. HIV can still arguably be considered a pandemic killing almost 1 million people last year world wide.  My world view is that  HIV and STDs are preventable diseases and public health and healthcare professions can continue to increase efforts to fight the spread and incidences killing so many worldwide. Why is it that in the US specifically has the highest rate of STDs in the industrialized world?  Why is it that those that are most affected are of a minority group and of younger generations? Especially when these are preventable diseases, how are our inventions failing nationwide and what are the public health officials missing? What do we need to do to decrease the incidences of preventable STDs and HIV, especially among minority groups in the south?

References:

Burkholder, G. J., Cox, K. A., & Crawford, L. M. (2016). The scholar-practitioner’s guide to research design. Baltimore, MD: Laureate Publishing

CDC. (2018). HIV in the United States by Geography https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/statistics/overview/geographicdistribution.html

CDC1. (2018). HIV youth.  https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/age/youth/index.html

Cohen, L., Cook, D., & Davis, R., (2005). Race, genetics, and health disparities. A community resilience approach to reducing ethnic and racial disparities in health. American Journal of Public Health, 95(12), 2168-2178

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