The human immunodeficiency virus is a disease that once ravaged society to the point that it was declared a global endemic. For several years, HIV posed a significant public health challenge, obligating the World Health Organization and healthcare systems worldwide to embark on intensive HIV/AIDS control and prevention programs. Seemingly, the programs bore fruit as the prevalence and incidence rates of HIV in the community have reduced drastically. However, many people do not realize that the virus is still a public health concern because it is silently eroding the lives of the youth due to decreased attention given to the condition. For example, one out of five newly diagnosed HIV cases in the US comprises young individuals aged 13 to 24 years (Reif et al., 2017). Nevertheless, these values do not reflect the actual caseload in the community because more than 51% of youth living with HIV in the US had not been diagnosed and were unaware they had the virus by the end of 2016 (Reif et al., 2017). Subsequently, the youth have developed a low perception of HIV risk, allowing them to engage in destructive behaviors like unsafe sex, thus increasing its spread.
HIV/AIDS is a condition that has devastating effects on the community. Therefore, it is important to continuously educate the public and healthcare practitioners about its existence and the need to mitigate its implications. Luckily, a wealth of information describes how the virus can impact society and interfere with global economies. Although the life expectancy of HIV has increased over the past years due to increased technological solutions and advanced research, studies suggest that individuals infected with the virus, especially at their youthful stage, can barely reach sixty years old (Reif et al., 2017). However, the diminished quality of life that people are forced to live after contracting the virus is daunting because it is associated with several opportunistic infections, high levels of discomfort, occasional medication administration, and increased mental conditions. Thus, HIV is a notable barrier to human development as it introduces setbacks in individuals’ lives and healthcare systems that part with limited resources. Therefore, creating a program to target and educate the youth about the dangers of such behaviors and how to live a healthy and comfortable life when infected with the virus is vital to minimize infections and ensure a healthy generation.
HIV is a condition that does not discriminate against any individual. Therefore, the only solution to curb its spread is through creating awareness and educating the youth and other individuals in the community on the best approaches to staying safe. The youth of today are among the first generation to live in an almost HIV-free world. However, the truth is that this disease is still tearing through neighborhoods and deteriorating the lives of infected people. These days, young people engage in unprotected sex, sometimes when intoxicated, with more than one partner without caring about the risks they face (Reif et al., 2017). Similarly, most individuals have decreased their medical-seeking behaviors, especially after Covid 19, thus preventing them from getting tested occasionally. As a result, mobilizing healthcare teams and health resources to address the issue through tailored public health programs can help encourage occasional HIV testing, prevent its rates of infection, and guide infected individuals toward leading healthier and more productive life. Consequently, the most effective solution to ensure practical initiatives is a collaboration between healthcare practitioners in institutions, community health workers, and social health workers to identify the immediate needs of the youth in the community and address associated issues.
Reif, S., Safley, D., McAllaster, C., Wilson, E., & Whetten, K. (2017). State of HIV in the US Deep South. Journal of community health, 42(5), 844-853. DOI:10.1007/s10900-017-0325-8