HIV/AIDS is an infectious disease that can threaten a sick person’s life. HIV attacks one’s immune system so that an individual becomes vulnerable to possible infections. The disease cannot be cured, so it is crucial to eliminate its spread and decrease its impact on the infected people. The community offers ample resources for HIV prevention and education, so it is possible to help Raoul learn about the option of getting tested both for him and his pregnant girlfriend. Raoul can be offered information about different aspects of HIV so that he could increase his chances of a self-sufficient life.
The HIV Treatment Guidelines issued in 2016 state that for HIV-positive individuals, it is necessary to initiate antiretroviral therapy as soon as possible, irrespective of HIV viral load or CD4 T-cell count. Hence, it is of utmost importance to test those who suspect having a virus at the first convenience. A person taking regular care and HIV-suppressing medications have the opportunity to eliminate the risk of infecting one’s HIV-negative partner (“HIV AIDS,” 2020).
Raoul is right thinking that tattooing can serve as a risk factor for HIV transmission. Unsafe sex can lead to a further spread of the disease, which is particularly dangerous since a fetus can become infected from the mother. Florida Health offers a Test & Treat program, which helps patients learn about HIV and the ways of managing it and sustaining a healthy lifestyle (“HIV AIDS,” 2020). The program also arranges a connection between the infected individual and a clinician able to take care of the person with adherence to cultural norms. Such healthcare specialists increase patients’ access to antiretroviral drugs and medical examinations.
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) are elements of an exhaustive HIV prevention approach incorporating the use of antiretroviral drugs to decrease the HIV transmission risk to HIV-negative people. PrEP is the strategy presupposing the use of HIV risk reduction medications on a daily basis (“PrEP/nPEP,” 2020). Since 2012, Truvada has been used as the medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as PrEP in preventing HIV in sexually negative people with a negative HIV status. To minimize the danger of infection, PrEP should be combined with other prevention tactics (“PrEP/nPEP,” 2020). The Ready, Set, PrEP program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers PrEP medications for free to those who qualify.
Contrary to PrEP, PEP presupposes taking antiretroviral drugs immediately after the potential exposure to the disease in order to minimize the possibility of HIV infection. PEP is divided into two types: occupational and non-occupational (NPP) (“PrEP/nPEP,” 2020). Occupational PEP occurs when an individual is exposed to danger at a workplace, for instance, by a needle stick at a hospital or clinic. Meanwhile, nPEP is the exposure through injection drug use or a sexual act (“PrEP/nPEP,” 2020).
To gain maximum effectiveness, PEP should be initiated within three days of exposure and should include two or three antiretroviral drugs at once. PEP should be taken for 28 days, and the program should be determined for each particular individual depending on the nature of exposure (“PrEP/nPEP,” 2020). It is necessary to inform people that initiating PEP right after the potential exposure does not secure the elimination of the infection.
To help HIV-infected individuals cope with their diagnosis, as well as eliminate the spread of the virus through peer education, the Peer Education and Evaluation Resource (PEER) Center functions in Florida. The PEER Center offers education and training to HIV peer educators (“Projects: Peer center,” n.d.). Another function of this unit is duplicating peer education programs that have proved successful. Additionally, the PEER Center increases the efficiency and competency of HIV programs (“Projects: Peer center,” n.d.). The organization cooperates with other agencies, so its contribution to the prevention of HIV in the state is quite considerable.
Another important issue to discuss is family-planning education, including prenatal care. Pregnant women should be examined for chlamydia, hepatitis B, HIV, gonorrhea, and syphilis (“Prenatal,” 2019). The State of Florida initiated the creation of the perinatal HIV program for women and children. The program called Targeted Outreach for Pregnant Women Act (TOPWA) aims at reaching out to HIV-infected pregnant women and those with a high risk of exposure.
With the help of TOPWA, underserved women can get access to HIV screening and prevention services. Hepatitis is yet another severe possible comorbidity of HIV since both of these diseases are infectious and can be transmitted through sexual intercourse, injecting, or tattooing. Raoul should be informed that HIV-positive individuals with hepatitis are exposed to higher health risks, so it is crucial for him to be checked for this condition, as well.
The discussion on HIV, its seriousness, and ways of prevention and treatment is an important step in increasing one’s chances for a longer life without pain and adverse outcomes. The more an individual knows about the available options in the state, the more likely it is that he or she will address the appropriate agency or department. It is crucial to educate the community by spreading information about the most likely ways of transmitting the disease, as well as approaches to eliminating the risks.