The United States Government and HIV/AIDS


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AIDS is a disease that has effected and is still affecting the country in many detrimental ways. When first discovered in the country of Africa, the seriousness was unheard of. As the AIDS virus reached the United States, the devastating effects became more obvious. This was the point when the United States government felt that something should be done about the HIV/AIDS virus.
     According to the Office of AIDS research, AIDS, or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome is a serious illness that originates as HIV. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. AIDS can take anywhere between seven and ten years to develop after being diagnosed with HIV. The AIDS virus damages the immune system, the part of the body that fights off infection. Over year AIDS will cause that immune system to become very weak. Eventually the individual with the AIDS virus will become very sick, and most often die. It is important that individuals with the AIDS virus take very good care of themselves. It is also important that they receive the support and care they need and deserve.
     In 1986 the Government realized the seriousness of the AIDS virus and elected to take a series of important measures to tackle the epidemic, and also to offer help and support to those in need who are fighting this tragic disease. By this time AIDS had already attained epidemic proportion in the African region and was spreading rapidly in many countries worldwide (www.naco.nic.in). The Government of the United States realized this, and without wasting anytime began the initial steps to help individuals with the AIDS virus. By 1986 a high-powered National AIDS committee was formed. Then in 1987 the National AIDS Control Program was launched.
     The purpose of the National AIDS Committee was to formulate a strategy and plan for the implementation of prevention and control of HIV/AIDS in the United States. In the initial years of the committee, the focus was based in public awareness. The individuals on the committee also introduced blood screening for people with HIV/AIDS.
     In the year 1989, a medium term plan was developed using a ten million dollar budget by the United States. These ten million dollars went to awareness programs, blood safety measures, control of hospital infection, and condom promotion to help prevent HIV/AIDS. Due to these procedures in 1992 clinical services strengthened in both the HIV and AIDS areas.
     Soon after these developments, the committee also began strengthening management of HIV/AIDS at the state level.

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Many state governments began to establish their own organizations of HIV/AIDS control. At the state level an empowered committee is elected by either the Chairman of Chief Secretary or an additional Chief Secretary. These state organizations often pair up with the National AIDS Control Board to discuss future actions.
     The National AIDS Program founded by the National AIDS Committee had two different phases. The first phase lasted from 1992 to 1999. The National AIDS Control Project was the first in the United States to develop a national program in the HIV/AIDS control and prevention. The ultimate objective of the project was to slow the spread of HIV, and to reduce mortality. This plan also had many specific objectives. The first was to involve all the states in developing HIV/AIDS prevention activities with a special focus in the major epidemic. The second objective was to attain a satisfactory level of public awareness of HIV transmission and prevention. The third objective was to develop health promotion interventions among risk behavior groups. The fourth objective was to screen all blood units collected for blood transfusions. The fifth objective was to decrease the practice of professional blood donations. The sixth was to develop skill in clinical management, health education, and counseling. The seventh objective was to strengthen the control of sexually transmitted diseases in the Unites States. The eighth and final objective was to monitor the development of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States (www.hin.gov/od/oar/).
     Next, the committee had to think of a simple framework that was based on five steps. The first was to strengthen management capacity for HIV/AIDS control. The second step was to promote public awareness and community support. The third was to improve blood safety and use it rationally. The fourth step was to control sexually transmitted diseases in the separate states of the country. Finally, the last step was to build a surveillance and clinical capacity.
     After building the framework, the United States government asked of the efforts of the state organizations as well. They did this in order to make their operations go more smoothly and efficiently. The first phase, though facing some problems, achieved its main purpose as well as its main objectives. This first phase of the project made a major impact on the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
     After the first phase was completed the committee decided that a second phase was needed in order to maintain the depletion of HIV/AIDS in the United States and other countries. The second phase of this project started November 9, 1999 and will be in effect until 2004. Though phase two is still aimed at the HIV/AIDS epidemic, it focuses on four different aspects than the previous phase. The first point is to shift the focus from raising HIV/AIDS awareness, to changing behavior through interventions. The second point was to protect human rights by encouraging voluntary counseling and testing. The third point was to support structured annual reviews and ongoing research. The fourth and final point was to encourage better state level HIV/AIDS control and also to encourage improved drug and equipment practices (www.cdc.gov/hiv/dhap.html). Phase two is obviously not completed, but the National AIDS Committee is hoping it will be as effective as phase one.
     HIV/AIDS is a difficult problem to undertake. As of right now there is still no known cure for AIDS. It is not the government’s goal to find a cure for AIDS. The United States government is simply trying to prevent the HIV/AIDS epidemic from spreading. They are also trying to communicate with the American people about how easy it is to contract the HIV/AIDS virus. The United States government plays an extremely important role in HIV/AIDS prevention and research. Without the efforts of the United States government who knows what the world of HIV/AIDS would be like.


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