HIV and AIDS are severe medical conditions because they have no cure. However, early detection of the disease is crucial to a person's and the whole community's health, and a person's emotional needs. Unfortunately, HIV has no immediate signs, and a person may live with the infection for a long time before they realize they have the condition. It is therefore important to employ a screening program to the group most susceptible to HIV infection. Such testing is necessary because it is believed that once a person realizes he or she is infected, they can have a behavioral change that would in return reduce the chances of spreading the disease. Thus, it is important to develop an initiative for screening a group of people in the community to sensitize them to the importance of taking reasoned actions in life to protect themselves from the infection or stop the spreading of the virus.
The initiative will focus on behavioral and social approaches towards the improvement of health outcomes. This initiative will promote the change of behavioral skills in such a way that a participant can monitor and improve their personal behavior and character in order to have a positive self-talk. In its turn, positive self-talk will enable the person to have a change of lifestyle that will ensure healthy life and prevent one from the virus. Through motivation and guidance, healthcare providers can assist participants to adopt healthy behavioral changes, especially those that would encourage prevention of certain diseases (U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, 2017). Thus, the importance of such an initiative is undeniable.
The most appropriate model for the initiative is the theory of reasoned action. This theory focuses on an individual's behavioral aspects that include person's attitudes, norms, and moral persuasion. These aspects are important to a person because they determine what actions a person takes in a particular circumstance. Notably, a person's norms, beliefs, and values may determine his or her health status. For example, Hackman and Knowlden (2014) note the important role of a person's reasoned actions in influencing their dietary behaviors, thus determining their susceptibility to obesity. Therefore, contracting HIV may depend on one's sexual practices, norms, and beliefs that influence the way a person thinks about a particular action. Consequently, people can protect themselves from the disease by simply modifying their behaviors. As a result, during and after the screening, health providers will focus on guiding and counseling people regardless of whether the person has the virus or not. Therefore, it is possible to make people change their behavior either to help them protect themselves from contracting the disease or encourage behaviors that inhibit further spreading of the virus.
In the US today, about 1.1 million people live with the HIV with about 37,600 infections occurring every year (Gokengin et al., 2014). Also, a huge percentage of about a 15% of the total HIV cases in the US do not know that they have contacted the virus (Gokengin et al., 2014). Besides, regarding age, the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) reported in 2015 that the infection was the most widespread among people aged 25-29 (7,510 instances) followed by a group of people aged 20-24 (7,084 instances) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017). In particular, college students are among individuals who are at the high risk of getting the virus.
As noted above, early detection of infection saves lives of both the infected and healthy individuals. In particular, knowing one's own HIV status reduces the chances of spreading the virus to others (including spreading unconsciously) and helps live a longer life due to early treatment (Gokengin et al., 2014). In fact, having noted the benefits of early detection combined with the risk of late diagnosis, the СВС recommends frequent screening in hospitals фтв departments whenever there is a chance (Doria-Rose et al., 2014). Given the numbers of infected people around age 20-29, the initiative would, therefore, put its focus on areas that have a high population density within that age group with the aim of early detection of the disease infection and early treatment (Gokengin et al., 2014).
The initiative targets college students. In the college, there are many students who are within the age limits of 20-29, which is the population that the initiative focuses on. The initiative targets this population because of the CDC statistics that indicate a high percentage of infection among people of this age group. Therefore, the initiative will set a one-week camp in a local university targeting about 500 students of the university. However, the initiative will also welcome any person in the location, including the staff, who would like to be a part of the program regardless of whether they are within the 20-29 age limit or not.
The screening process will have three basic steps: pre-test counseling, testing, and posttest counseling. In many countries of the world, including the US and European countries, HIV testing is confidential (Gokengin et al., 2014); therefore, this testing will also uphold the confidentiality of each person visiting. Each participant will also give their consent for testing, after which, the counselor will provide thorough counseling that follows regulations of the initiative and the government. The counselor will answer participant's questions and then ask the person about their behaviors concerning vulnerability to HIV infection.
After the introductory part, testing will take place. Several methods are available for performing an HIV test. However, the most effective testing method for the program is using a blood sample. The blood sample method is faster than other methods, and the results take 2-30 minutes. Once the officer collects the blood, they will take it through the process of detection of HIV antibodies. The antibodies are body proteins that the body produces to fight diseases, and once a person contracts the disease, the body will produce antibodies to fight the virus (Doria-Rose et al., 2014). Antibodies are specific for a particular disease; therefore, if the blood sample has HIV antibodies, then the results will prove positive and vice versa.
Finally, the participants will be provided with appropriate guidance and counseling after having received the results regardless of what the results are. The counseling procedure will be in line with the object of the initiative, which is to instill a sense of behavioral change through showing the importance of the theory of reasoned actions. The counselors will show the participants the need to evaluate their own behaviors while making sure that they uphold morality and values that will help a healthy person to protect themselves from infection, and will ensure that the infected do not spread the virus any further.
- To show people the importance of changing behaviors to control HIV/AIDS.
- To determine the HIV prevalence rate in the university.
- To implement the university's initiative to define the state of the problem and give recommendations.
- To encourage the students to establish the value of their actions and think about outcome expectations.
- To establish student's risky behaviors that may increase the spread of HIV among them and then offer counseling and guidance.
- To motivate students to take control of their actions and prevent them from negative influence.
The initiative targets the youth aged 20-29. People of this age group are plentiful at the Chicago University, Ohio, US. The university has seven halls of students' residence. The initiative will send a group of participants in each of the halls every day for seven days in the week from 4th to 10th, November 2017. Other than offering the right target population, the university has location ideal for the initiative given the proximity of each of the seven sites chosen within the establishment. Additionally, educational institutions are believed to contain a high number of people with HIV. The location, therefore, will be ideal for screening a high number of people within a quite short time. This is why it seems that the location will have a positive effect on reducing the project's costs.
The main costs of the project will include catering for participant's accommodation for a week, their meals, daily allowances, and the transport cost to and from the university. It is estimated that eight people will be needed to take part in the program with five of them being counselors. Besides, buying the HIV test kits will require significant amount of money. Finally, project cost will also include clerical work and stationery among others. The table below is cost estimates for the whole initiative.
|Cost item||Estimated amount in $|
With HIV being of significant economic importance, early screening and detection are vital to ensure the necessary treatment before it spreads further and before it causes enormous damage to the infected. The HIV testing initiative aims to sensitize university students to the value of always taking well-thought actions to protect themselves from the infection. At the end of the initiative, the university community will get recommendations for improving behaviors of the students to achieve these goals after the program ends.
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