Epidemiology Assignment: Communicable Illnesses in Miami

Introduction

Communicable illnesses pose various threats to public health and can even jeopardize the development of the society. The US government has a particular strategy to address these health issues that are described in Healthy People 2020. It is possible to note that the major focus is on prevention that is regarded as key to public health. Therefore, such initiatives as vaccination and raising awareness on various aspects related to health and disorders are regarded as the most effective measures to ensure positive health outcomes (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion [ODPHP], 2018b). This paper focuses on such communicable illnesses as influenza, gonorrhea, and HIV/AIDS in Miami, Florida (zip code 33146). These infectious diseases will be considered in terms of their impact on adult residents (aged 20-45) of Miami, Florida as well as the way it is treated in Healthy People 2020 policies.

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Influenza, HIV/AIDS, and gonorrhea in Miami, Florida

Influenza is one of the most common communicable illnesses that affect the entire population of the USA. It has been estimated that up to 40% of the US population is affected by the disorder and approximately 36,000 die annually (Florida Department of Health, 2018c). These figures reveal the impact the disorder has on the country as the infection is associated with a considerable financial burden on the healthcare system as well as the country’s economy. As for the impact on Miami community, over 70 outbreaks of influenza and ILI were reported during the 2017-2018 influenza period. At that, the county activity of the disorder is moderate, and the situation is controllable.

HIV/AIDS is still one of the most serious health concerns in the world. This infectious illness is also a serious issue that affects millions of people in the USA. The situation in Florida is quite alarming as the number of infected people is increasing. For instance, the number of diagnosed cases in 2017 increased by 8% as compared to 2016 and reached almost 5,000 of Florida residents (Florida Department of Health, 2017). Over 80% of these people are aged between 13 and 49 years old. More than 65% of people diagnosed with HIV were retained in care. Apart from obvious detrimental effects on people’s wellbeing, the treatment of this virus, as well as associated illnesses, is rather costly, which makes addressing this issue one of the priorities of the government.

Gonorrhea is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases that affect thousands of Americans every year. The population mainly affected includes adults, young adults, and adolescents. Adolescents and young adults are specifically prone to this disorder due to the active sexual life and the lack of knowledge concerning effective prevention strategies. The rate of gonorrhea cases is slightly lower in Miami-Dade County as compared to Florida average. However, there is still a certain increase in the cases of this infectious illness. Over the past ten years, the rate of gonorrhea cases fluctuated insignificantly and reached 113 per 100,000 population, which is considerably lower than the state average (139.2) (Florida Department of Health, 2018b). Although many people do not take this highly communicable disease seriously, it can have serious health issues including long-term abdominal pain and even infertility.

Healthy People 2020

Due to health hazards associated with the infections mentioned above and substantial effects on the public health, these disorders are addressed in Healthy People 2020 initiative. As has been mentioned above, prevention is one of the key objectives within the framework of Healthy People 2020. For instance, one of the objectives is to increase the number of vaccinated people aged 18 and older. The target is 70% while the rate of the vaccinated adult population was 38% in 2010 (ODPHP, 2018b). One of the ways to reach this goal includes promotion of vaccination through raising people’s awareness on its benefits (Florida Department of Health, 2018c). The federal government also monitors and invests in the development of new vaccines as well as effective antiviral medications.

As for HIV/AIDS-related incentives, Healthy People 2020 also focuses on prevention. One of the objectives is to reduce the number of infected people from almost 44,000 (as reported in 2010) to 32,855 in 2020 (ODPHP, 2018a). Florida government addresses this objective concentrating on prevention (Florida Department of Health, 2017). Counseling and testing are employed as the primary strategies. Free services are provided to underprivileged populations. The state has launched the program that funds IV testing at 1,400 registered sites. For example, Minority AIDS Initiative helps people diagnosed with this infection to access the healthcare services available to them. Prevention programs existing in Florida communities are aimed at developing healthy lifestyles in high-risk populations. Surveillance is also seen as one of the effective tools that can help address the set objective.

As far as gonorrhea is concerned, Healthy People 2020 also has an objective to decrease the number of people affected by this disorder. According to this initiative, the rate of gonorrhea cases should be 251.9 per 10,000 by 2020 (ODPHP, 2018c). To achieve this goal, the Florida Department of Health has come up with various incentives and programs aimed at prevention and treatment. One of these incentives is screening and free counseling. The Florida Department of Health has launched a program that includes over 100 specialists who provide free counseling, testing, and treatment services to the most vulnerable groups. Importantly, treatment is characterized by confidentiality, which is an important and highly valued factor for people who are infected (Florida Department of Health, 2018d). Surveillance is seen as an important stage of the prevention strategy as it enables healthcare providers and the state government to estimate and analyze the needs of infected people.

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Conclusion

To sum up, it is necessary to note that the state of Florida has numerous initiatives and incentives aimed at the prevention and treatment of the most serious communicable illnesses. It is clear that such infections as influenza, HIV/AIDS, and gonorrhea have a considerable negative impact on the community of Miami as well as the entire country. The state government sees prevention as one of its core objectives. Raising people’s awareness of prevention strategies and healthy lifestyles, major symptoms and signs, and available resources have proved to be effective. At that, there are numerous programs that help people who have been diagnosed with such disorders. When it comes to influenza, vaccination is regarded as the most efficient prevention strategy. All in all, it is possible to note that the government is making sufficient effort to contribute to the development of a healthy community. Assisting underprivileged groups is one of the most important aspects of this effort. However, there are still many gaps to be addressed, and there are still ways to engage the community more effectively in helping those in need.

References

Florida Department of Health. (2017). HIV data center. Web.

Florida Department of Health. (2018a). Gonorrhea. Web.

Florida Department of Health. (2018a). Gonorrhea cases. Web.

Florida Department of Health. (2018c). Influenza. Web.

Florida Department of Health. (2018d). STD clinic and field services. Web.

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2018a). HIV. Web.

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Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2018b). Increase the percentage of noninstitutionalized adults aged 18 and older who are vaccinated annually against seasonal influenza. Web.

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2018c). Sexually Transmitted diseases. Web.

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