Epidemiology: AIDS, Syphilis, Tuberculosis in Miami-Dade


Catching diseases make one of the primary concerns of both community and healthcare providers. In case of ineffective preventive strategies and the lack of immunization interventions, catching diseases spread quickly and can achieve epidemic or even pandemic rates. In Miami-Dade County, the community in the focus of this paper (zip-code 33125), infectious diseases as well as HIV and STDs belong to top-ten community health priorities that need mobilization for action.

Consequently, one of the goals to address this priority is to decrease HIV, STDs, and infectious diseases (“Miami-Dade County,” 2013). This analysis covers three communicable diseases – AIDS, syphilis, and tuberculosis – that demand particular attention in the context of the county because their incidence is significantly higher than the average in the state of Florida.

Analysis of Communicable Illnesses: Impact on Community and Identification

This analysis focuses on such infectious diseases as AIDS, syphilis, and tuberculosis, which are rather frequent among the citizens of Miami-Dade County. One of the widely spread and the most dangerous diseases is AIDS. In fact, Miami Dade is a county with one of the highest rates of AIDS in Florida amounting to 468 cases per 100,000 population (Florida Department of Health, 2016). This disease is a threat to community health because it may have no symptoms during an early stage. Moreover, it is not curable while a patient who receives regular antiretroviral therapy can preserve a high quality of life. Nevertheless, it should be a primary community concern because AIDS is easier to prevent than to treat.

Syphilis is significantly less prevalent than other communicable diseases, but the fact that its rate is twice higher than the average in Florida (13.1 compared to 6.6 per 100,000) makes it worth attention. The disease is not easily identified and diagnosed because the symptoms are similar to other STDs. Moreover, patients diagnosed with syphilis are at a greater risk of being infected with HIV in the future (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018). It is important to diagnose syphilis at an early stage when it can be treated because late diagnosing can lead to neurological disorders, disability, or lethal outcomes.

Tuberculosis is a disease with relatively low prevalence at present. Its rate in Miami-Dade County is 6.2 per 100,000 (“Miami-Dade County,” 2013). The risk of not treating tuberculosis is the death of a patient. Still, not every individual with TB infection develops TB disease. Usually, individuals with a weak immune system are at a higher risk of having TB disease. One of the problems with the identification of TB is that the initial symptoms are similar to other diseases and can be easily misinterpreted. Still, it is possible to diagnose TB with the help of blood or skin tests.

It is evident that communicable diseases have a negative impact on the community. They cause many health risks such as population displacement, collapsing health services, lack of disease control programs, and poor coordination of health services, which lead to increased mortality and morbidity (World Health Organization, 2013). Apart from the community as a whole, infectious diseases have a direct impact on primary care physicians involved in the process of primary care.

For example, Jaakkimainen, Bondy, Parkovnick, and Barnsley (2014) provide evidence that in case of communicable diseases outbreak both general practitioners and family practitioners are concerned about the health of their family members and tend to alter their office practices to deal with seriously infected patients. Moreover, some communities can experience a lack of health professionals during big outbreaks.

Plan of Action Based on Healthy People 2020

The infectious diseases under consideration appear among the topic areas of the Healthy People 2020 initiative. Thus, HIV/AIDS, as well as infectious diseases in general, are among the Healthy People 2020 objectives. As for AIDS, the goal is related to HIV prevention and decrease of the related mortality. The general goal of infectious diseases is to decrease the incidence of preventable ones through an increase in immunization rates. Miami-Dade County has infectious disease services that are aimed at conducting research, surveillance, as well as preventive and controlling interventions for communicable diseases, which follow the goals of Healthy People 2020 (Florida Department of Health, 2018).

For example, there is the Epidemiology Program, which is responsible for surveillance and investigation of infectious disease incidence. The Sexually Transmitted Disease Program is focused on reducing STDs transmission by means of educating target audiences, detection of infections, diagnosis and treatment, and counseling of partners of individuals with STDs (Florida Department of Health, 2018). Some other services include those for HIV/AIDS control and prevention as well as address the public health problem of tuberculosis in the county.


To summarizing, it should be mentioned that communicable diseases need particular attention from health departments, the community, and health providers because most of them are preventable. Preventive measures include vaccination for some diseases, good personal hygiene, safe food and generally healthy lifestyles, travel precautions, and safe sexual contacts. The community can contribute to the reduction of the incidence of infectious diseases as well as to their prevention through funding special services and education interventions. Still, the best result can be achieved due to the common efforts of the community and its citizens.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Syphilis – CDC fact sheet (Detailed). Web.

Florida Department of Health. (2016). Data summaries for selected reportable diseases/conditions of frequent occurrence. Web.

Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County. (2018). Infectious diseases services. Web.

Jaakkimainen, R. L., Bondy, S. J., Parkovnick, M., & Barnsley, J. (2014). How infectious disease outbreaks affect community-based primary care physicians. Canadian Family Physician, 60, 917-925.

Miami-Dade County. Mobilizing for action through planning and partnership. (2013). Web.

World Health Organization. (2013). Emergency risk management for health: Communicable diseases. Web.