Sample Essay On The Department Of Health Should Focus More On African Americans In Trying To
Improve the Case of HIV/AIDS in the United States
Improve the Case of HIV/AIDS in the United States
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) had been a phenomenon for the past decades in the United States, especially among African American citizens. In the US, more than a million citizens were said to be infected with the virus, and there are more than 17,700 death casualties that took place only in 2009, in spite of the programs implemented to fight this syndrome (Lanier, 2013, p.1). Meanwhile, in over a span of three continuous decades, the total number of deaths had reached 619,400 casualties only in the United States (Lanier, 2013, p.1). For this, about 16.6 billion dollars were allocated in 2011 for the HIV/AIDS programs, which is a huge amount, as compared to the 300 million dollars spent way back in 1996 (Lanier, 2013, pp.1-2). With the total number of death casualties, however, it appears that the African Americans truly stand out to be the most disproportionately affected risk group, when compared to others in the case of HIV. With this, it is apparent that the government should focus more on African Americans, in trying to improve the cases of HIV/AIDS among youths and adults in the United States.
First supporting argument: logical statistics
In trying to eradicate the cases of HIV/AIDS in the United States, the Department of Health should focus more on African Americans, as it turns out that they are the ones who are mostly affected, as proven in logical statistics. Although the African Americans remain to be a minority populace, which accounts for only 14% of the populace, almost half of all the HIV cases were under them, since the African Americans accounts to 46% of all cases (Lanier, 2013, p.2). Meanwhile, about 44% of all the newly acquired AIDS infections were under the African American race; and in the same way, 44% of all these cases of HIV/AIDS were being accounted to the African American race (Lanier, 2013, p.2). As an effect, the HIV/AIDS syndrome became the ninth principal cause of death among the African Americans in 2007, specifically on citizens aged 35 to 44 years (Lanier, 2013, p.2). It also became the fourth principal cause of death in 2006, for African American women under the age of 25 to 34 years of age (Lanier, 2013, p.2). By 2009, as much as 16,741 cases were documented, for African Americans who were diagnosed with the HIV (Lanier, 2013, p.2).
Second supporting argument: racial/cultural behavior
The Department of Health should center more on the African Americans, in trying to eradicate the number of HIV/AIDS cases, as proven by the risk group’s racial and cultural behavior. African Americans have a culture that center on the perception that, women should “care for others before caring for herself” (Lanier, 2013, p.28). There is likewise a “gender ratio imbalance” on the side of the males, so that they tend to be in greater demand to the females. For this, the females usually allow the males to decide on whether they wanted to use condoms, or if they wanted to forego dating. The culture bends more on the side of the males, who usually have more power and control over the relationship. The women, on the other hand, tend to keep her true feelings from her partner, while setting aside her needs, just to prevent conflict and possibly sexual violence. More so, black women tend to silence themselves more “to secure and maintain relationships and to sustain adherence to the traditional female role” (Lanier, 2013, p.30). It is in this respect that black women became more prone in developing the syndrome, since the act of “silencing” generated obstacles when it came to safe-sex negotiation, which should provide barriers against developing HIV.
Another reason for the African American being more prone to developing HIV/AIDS is the fact that, this risk group is affected primarily by peer perception. In the culture of the African Americans, social peers have the ability to influence the concept of things related to sex, such as constant use of the condoms. For example, if an African American woman or youth is being antagonized by her peers because of her behaviors and her use of the condom, then that woman may just ignore the use of it, as pushed by her peers. As proven in the study of Raiford, DiClemente, & Wingood (2007), African American women were two times more likely to use condoms if their peers were consistently using condoms (p.41). In the same way, black women who had slight relationship power in the community tend to be more inconsistent in the use of the condom, as studies have suggested (Pulerwitz et al., 2000).
Third supporting argument: sex-oriented behavior
Lastly, the Department of Health should focus more on the African Americans when trying to improve the case of the HIV/AIDS virus in the United States, mainly because of the sex-oriented behaviors of this particular risk group. Risky sexual behaviors are more prevalent on African Americans than other racial groups, as being affected by condom use, substance abuse, socioeconomic status, educational attainment, and psychological status. There is likewise the tendency for them to undergo multiple sexual partners, which then increases the transmission of the virus through inconsistent condom use and STIs. More so, sexuality is directly related to culture and gender roles, and how people take their relationship with others. Because the African American behavior tend to be hypersexual, hypermasculine, and hyperheterosexual, they were usually inflicted by norms and sexual schema that may lead to sexual harassment, as brought by the minute role of the females.
The African American culture centers on norms that insist the masculine ideology, where there are behaviors on how the male gender should behave in specific events and circumstances, even in relationship with the female gender. The African Americans have high consistency of masculinity when compared to other races or ethnic groups, especially those who were younger and who lived in the urban areas (Hall et al., 2012, p.673). This is proven by how these youths tend to adapt a “cool pose”, or by the fact that they tend to apply harsh or violent words or actions to the female gender. All these are sexual schemas, and they can lead to hostile, benevolent sexual attitudes and hostile sexism, which may lead to risky sexual attitudes that increase the risk of developing HIV/AIDS. As reflected in this case, developing HIV/AIDS tend to be worse for the African American citizens, as an effect of the sex-oriented behaviors that had cultivated out of their norms, beliefs, and their culture.
There are three main reasons that prove why the Department of Health should focus more on African Americans when trying to eradicate the number of death casualties, as an effect of the HIV/AIDS virus. The first reason is reflected on logical statistics, wherein 44% of all the cases of HIV/AIDS were being accounted to the American race (Lanier, 2013, p.2). The second reason is reflected on cultural and/or racial behavior, as well as the inconsistencies brought by gender ratio imbalance. The third and final reason is reflected on sex-oriented behavior, in which the male specimen tends to be hypersexual, hypermasculine, and hyperheterosexual, as derived from the sexual schema that defined their race. As an effect, the programs should focus more on them, as they are more likely to develop the syndrome because of the sexual schemas that indicate how they administer sexual activities.
Hall, N.M., Morales, D., Coyne-Beasley, T., & Lawrence, J. (2012). Correlates of African American men’s sexual schemas. Sex Roles, 67(11), 670-681.
Lanier, L.R. (2013). African American women: gender beliefs, peer perception, relationship power, and sexual behavior. Nursing Dissertations, 36(1), 1-109.
Pulerwitz, J., Gormaker, S.L., & DeJong, W. (2000). Measuring sexual relationship power in HIV/STD research. Sex Roles, 42(7), 637-660.
Raiford, J.L., Wingood, G.M., & DiClemente, R.J. (2009). Effects of fear of abuse and possible STI acquisition on the sexual behavior of young African American women. American Journal of Public Health, 99(6), 1067-1071.
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