HIV/AIDS infections continue to be a global public health concern. Globally, approximately 35 million people are living with this health condition and also about 2.3 million adults are newly infected annually (Castillo-Chavez, 2013). A suitable target population for HIV/AIDS education programs is patients infected with this health condition categorized in age groups. The program targets young patients between the ages of 15years to 30 years which accounts for more than two–thirds new reported HIV infections. This population comprises young people, the gay community, Whites, Hispanics, African Americans, and Transgender persons. HIV/AIDS virus attacks and weakens the body’s immune system and the natural defense mechanism. HIV/AIDS has no drug or vaccine to cure infected persons, but patients can take medications for prolonging life, enhancing healthy living, and productivity for years.
An examination of the population’s demographic characteristics of the target population, the established health promotion should facilitate HIV/AIDS patients’ oriented primary, secondary and tertiary prevention interventions. Health promotion for primary prevention intervention entails rolling out a health education program for all age groups susceptible to new infections. Health promotion priorities for secondary and tertiary care encompass advances in HIV/AIDS care for persons infected. This health promotion aims to introduce and implement Viral Load Testing and Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (Castillo-Chavez, 2013). Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) ensures that HIV/AIDS patients take three or more anti-HIV drugs whereas Viral Load Testing measures HIV viral activity in persons infected. HAART intervention aims to reduce HIV/AIDS mortality; Viral Load Testing improves clinical patient monitoring and decision making. Health education program facilitates awareness, infected patients’ education needs, and minimize new diagnoses.
HIV/AIDS infections are spread mainly through sexual contact in homosexuals and heterosexuals, blood transfusion, and sharing of syringes and needles for injecting drugs. Castillo-Chavez Laboratory tests indicate that HIV/AIDS virus is mainly present in semen, blood, virginal secretions and that there is no evidence of HIV spread by contact with fluids such as saliva and tears. Studies show a relatively small number of HIV-infected patients resulting from the workplace mainly in the healthcare setting. Persons may get exposed to HIV infections through injuries with sharp objects with blood contaminated with HIV. Persons who handle body fluids and blood mainly health care practitioners need to exercise universal precautions. This ensures that they avoid contact with blood, body fluids, and other materials contaminated. The key major target area for HIV/AIDS patients’ interventions underlies interventions before a person is diagnosed, when first diagnosed, before taking any medication and when taking antiretroviral therapy (Castillo-Chavez, 2013). HIV/AIDS interventions aim to minimize HIV/AIDS risk-taking, halt or slow HIV progression and offer special HIV treatment services to infected patients in substance abuse.
Primary prevention intervention mainly entails the introduction of a health education program to persons for each specific age group. Getting access to good information about HIV/AIDS is considered to be an early priority for primary prevention (Biesma, Brugha, Harmer, Walsh, Spicer, & Walt, 2009). Health care practitioners and advisors are required to address counseling needs. Health promotion through education addresses the issue of stigma faith focus on minorities such as transgender persons and the gay community. Addressing stigma issue increase the rate of HIV/AIDS testing among these communities, promote early commencement of HIV/AIDS treatment.
Patients who are first diagnosed with HIV/AIDS face complications and fear in accepting their situation and telling others about their condition (Biesma et al., 2009). Education programs and patient counseling addresses stigma in both infected and affected persons. A suitable intervention offers much-needed social support to HIV/AIDS infected persons. It is important to monitor these interventions.
HIV/AIDS Education Program Plan
The core areas underlying this health education plan for HIV/AIDS infected patients include the following. The HIV/AIDS education program focuses on specific target population age-groups based on the risk of HIV/AIDS exposure. The target population is characterized by health disparities and critical disproportion co-factors of HIV/AIDS transmission risk. Young people between the ages of 15years to 29 years are at higher risk attributed to the fact that it comprises more than two-thirds of new diagnoses (Castillo-Chavez, 2013). The gay community is another high-risk age group regarding HIV/AIDS infection. The education plan takes into account these disparities based on transmissions; thus the program focuses on young people and the gay community. This HIV/AIDS education program shall be patient-oriented for persons with HIV/AIDS infections. HIV/AIDS education program goals are achieved through the coordination of educational teaching activities with multiple entities both governmental and non-governmental. Innovative and effective patient-centered HIV/AIDS initiatives are highly utilized. Program execution will mainly focus on improving efficiency and effectiveness and synergistic use of available resources.
A comprehensive public health approach model is used for this HIV/AIDS education program. Primary, secondary, and tertiary interventions are utilized in priority areas at multiple levels. The coordinators and working group comprised of senior HIV/AIDS health educators with experience in areas such as behavioral health, clinical care, urban and global health. Principal consultants are assigned to key priority areas based on the target population demographics. The program will implement HIV/AIDS patient-centered initiatives focused on all levels of prevention intervention. Multiple levels of influence and engagements in health education programs involve; patients affected by HIV/AIDS, public health leaders, advocates, researchers, and activists who are key major participants in this program (Schwartländer, Stover, Hallett, Atun, Avila, Gouws, & Investment Framework Study Group, 2011). This HIV/AIDS education program is dynamic and flexible therefore subject to adjustment and change to meet HIV/AIDS infected person needs.
Tailoring Program Interventions
This education program follows the ecological models that mainly consider clinical, environmental, socio-cultural, and individual factors affecting HIV/AIDS patients (Sengupta, Banks, Jonas, Miles, & Smith, 2011). Persons at various levels of influence are encouraged to participate in the planning, activities, and execution of the program. Confidentiality is critical in this program mainly on stigma issues. Regarding the delivery of interventions, the individual patient cultural values and beliefs are recognized. The program is also subjected to evaluation and assessment to ensure that costs are minimized, and resources are effectively utilized. This will ensure that the education program achieves patient-oriented results, and progresses within the set time framework. The major barrier includes perceived lack of confidentiality, HIV/AIDS stigma in facilities, and lack of appropriate data (Simms, Higginson, & Harding, 2012).
Theory and Method of Education
The ecological model theory is suitable for planning HIV/AIDS education programs since it encompasses various mitigation models and strategies. Coordinators need to create an environment for HIV/AIDS infected persons to follow strictly provided messages concerning elimination and reducing risky behaviors for HIV transmission. This theoretical model also ensures that HIV patients respond to the program intervention with no stigma fear or anticipated consequences (Sujic, Gignac, Cockerill, Beaton, 2011). The adoption of ecological model theory needs cultural sensitivity in its implementation. Information-Motivation-Behavioral Skills Model of education is suitable for planning this program. This education model is effective on the HIV/AIDS patients at the ecological level, and it provides that patients’ should adopt preventive behavior through the establishment of suitable intervention strategies (Sujic et al., 2011). Educators need to provide HIV/AIDS messages and information to motivate employers and employees to initiate and sustain behavioral changes. The key concepts underlying this framework theory of health education include health condition information, motivation, and behavioral skills.
Information is useful for establishing a preventive behavior suitable for a particular individual. Motivation entails individual personal attitudes, social support from employers and other participants in this health education program thus enhancing collective efforts in addressing patient-focused HIV/AIDS issues.