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AIDS Invades Rural America

          AIDS has been a problem in the United States for many years now. However, many people view victims of AIDS as homosexuals or drug users; this is no longer the case. AIDS is now being spread through teenagers in rural America. Many problems have arisen from the increasing number of victim in smaller America cities where hospitals and doctors are not able to provide suffienct treatment because of a lack of funding and experience. Also, the young adults that have no contracted the virus are victims of emotional and verbal abuse, because small-town America is not used to dealing with the AIDS virus. AIDS has made it’s way into rural America and the people do not know how to cope with the new face of Aids, the hospitals do not know how to treat the patients and the cites have a huge financial burden.

     The new face of AIDS is very hard for many small towns to understand. Jamestown, in northwest New York State, is the newest town in which one man, who was infected himself, succeed in infecting many teenagers with AIDS one at a time. According to officials, more than ten young women in Jamestown and surrounding villages had tested positive for the AIDS virus. “This new face of AIDS is not only young, female, and heterosexual; increasingly it is also rural” (Brownlee 1).

     “There are greater amounts of support are related to higher numbers of coping strategies and a stronger likelihood of reporting a parent's cause of death as AIDS. It was noted that female adolescents reported more coping strategies than did male adolescents” (Dillon 1999: 183).

Preventing the contacting of AIDS is one of the many steps today’s teenagers need to be taught in school. Children need to be taught abstinence programs. Abstinence programs are the best method of teaching children safe sex and not condoms. Stuart Berman believes that all abstinence programs are promising and should continue to be funded (Berman 1999: 1486)

     Using condoms gives adolescents a feel of security, which they should not have. Condoms give a sense of illusion, whereas, through condoms people are still able to contract AIDS and STD’s. “Suggestions for intervention include providing information about the illusory nature of some protective strategies and a focus on failing to protect oneself from STD’s” (Thompson 1999: 38).

     “In rural counties across the nation, and especially throughout the South, AIDS cases are on the rise, sometimes at an alarming rate.

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Cases diagnosed increased just eight percent in large cites and 21 percent in rural communities in two years” (Brownlee 2). There are many reasons why AIDS is being brought into rural America. First, many people whom now live in rural America where in fact infected in urban cities, and proceeded to move to smaller cities after being diagnosed. Another theory is drug dealers are moving into small cities with no competition, therefore, they are able to sell their drugs without the big-city competition (Brownlee 2).

     Small town hospitals are carrying a huge burden of caring for AIDS patients. “The ignorance and fear that accompanied AIDS in big cites in the 1980’s are being played out again in small towns. Patients talk of red stars being placed on the doors to their rooms in rural hospitals” (Brownlee 3). Education of AIDS is also often resisted in rural locations because people want to believe things like AIDS does not happen in small towns, only in big cites. The resistance seen by all the members of the community, therefore, doctors and patients alike do not know how to live.

     “Health care services in many rural counties are not up to the task of caring for the burgeoning number of HIV-infected people and those with full-blown AIDS. Doctors in rural areas often do not have the specialized expertise necessary for treating AIDS patients” (Brownlee 3). Some doctors and nurses in small towns even refuse to treat AIDS patients for fear they will contaminate other patients and themselves. Many small town hospitals are forced to send patients to big city hospitals so they do not have to deal with the AIDS patients of their own town (Brownlee 4).

     The current system of distributing AIDS-treatment money is making matters worse. Money is distributed to cities based on the number of AIDS cases diagnosed. But many of the people who have been diagnosed where initially diagnosed in big cities but then moved to a smaller town. Therefore, rural cities are not getting the money because many are diagnosed in larger cities. As a result, multimillion-dollar study is being performed now on how big of an impact AIDS has in the hospitals in rural America.

     Researchers are experimenting with new combination vaccines that they hope to move into early clinical trials in 2000. There are also many other vaccines available now, which are in the process of being tested (Cohen 1999: 656).

          “The basic elements required to control HIV/AIDS include education, behavior change, voluntary counseling and testing, prevention of perinatal transmission, and political commitment” (Satcher 1999). All these things are needed to be able to address the problem of the continual growth of AIDS. Education is the most important because it plays a very important role in whether or not the adolescent decides to use a condom, abstinence, etc. Education should be the main focus on finding a cure to stop the spread of the AIDS virus in rural America. Also, hospitals in small areas need money and experience to help cope with AIDS to make themselves, others and the patients secure. AIDS is a deadly problem, which needs to be solved.


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