Epidemiology: HIV&AIDS, Syphilis, Influenza A in Miami

HIV/AIDS

The acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is developed as a result of infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which is usually transmitted through sexual contacts, pregnancy, and percutaneous inoculation. It is associated with numerous co-morbidities, including cardiovascular conditions, opportunistic infections, and different types of cancers. For this reason, it severely affects the lives of individuals and communities as a whole.

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Epidemiologic Data

In Florida, the rate of HIV diagnosis is high and above the national average. As for Miami-Dade County, the number of HIV-positive people equated to 26,110 in 2016 (AIDSVu, 2018). A significant racial disparity is observed in the HIV prevalence: 42.5% of diagnosed people are Black, 45.2% are Hispanics, and only 10.9% are White (AIDSVu, 2018). Additionally, over 80% of all diagnoses are linked to the male gender in general, yet the number of infected African American women is disproportionally high compared to White women (AIDSVu, 2018).

It is worth noticing that all epidemiologic data are obtained through cohort studies and the national surveillance system, which help identify behaviors antecedent to infection and AIDS-related mortality (Castel, Magnus, & Greenberg, 2015). For instance, the statistics presented in this paragraph show that disparities in HIV/AIDS prevalence may be defined by the socio-cultural background, which influences one’s behaviors and health beliefs.

Action Plan

It is possible to say that the best way to contain AIDS is through HIV prevention. As stated by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP, 2014a), the referral to HIV testing often results in significant behavioral changes and undertaking of efforts to minimize the risk of the virus transmission/infection at the individual level. Therefore, it is pivotal to focus on educating community members about the benefits of HIV testing and learning their own HIV status. Additionally, prevention programs may be particularly effective when centered on vulnerable populations such as sexual and racial minorities. Thus, targeted HIV prevention programs aimed to address their AIDS-linked learning and behavioral needs may be realized in various community/clinical centers in Miami.

Syphilis

Syphilis is one of the common sexually transmitted diseases (STD), which remains a significant epidemiological problem. It is caused by the organism called Treponema pallidum and is manifested through a broad range of symptoms, including local inflammatory responses, that can make the diagnosis difficult. Additionally, a long latent period of the virus, not characterized by any infection signs, contributes to the widespread dissemination of syphilis.

Epidemiologic Data

The overall STD rates in Miami-Dade are below the Florida average, yet the situation is different with syphilis rates. According to Moore (2016), the infectious syphilis reported rate was 16.5 in 2014, and it increased by 1.6 since 2010. At the same time, the rate was only 8.8 in Florida’s general population in 2014 (Moore, 2016). It is valid to say that, like in the case of HIV/AIDS, individual risk-taking behaviors pose the risk of infection. Therefore, the chance of having syphilis is high in those who have unprotected sex (Florida Health, 2017). Besides affecting individuals’ physical and psychological health, syphilis adversely impacts pregnancy outcomes, resulting in stillbirths and neonatal deaths, as well as developmental problems in infants (Florida Health, 2017). Thus, there is a need to promote syphilis screening among the general population, and pregnant women, in particular.

Action Plan

The only effective way to contain the spread of syphilis is through screening promotion and community education. As stated by ODPHP (2014b), considering that a lot of STDs are either asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, many persons are not aware of the fact that they need medical assistance. At the same time, syphilis is a curable condition, and the sooner the treatment commences, the fewer threats will be there to both individual and public health. Therefore, it is appropriate to promote screening and healthier behaviors in those populations that may have a low level of STD-related literacy (adolescents, social minority groups, and so forth), and vulnerable community groups (for instance, sexual minorities and people living with HIV).

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Influenza A

Among several types of influenza viruses, type A is associated with increased morbidity. This virus is typical for birds and some mammals whereas, within human communities, it is usually spread by already infected people. Influenza A can be disseminated extremely quickly and entail a significant, adverse clinical and economic impact. It affects mostly immunologically naïve populations, including children and individuals with immune deficiency and chronic respiratory and other conditions, making it important to detect any outbreak timely.

Epidemiologic Data

Epidemiologic data on influenza can be obtained through regular national and state surveillance reports. According to a recent weekly report on influenza activity, it remains low in September 2018 in Florida (Florida Health, 2018). At the same time, the rate is likely to increase during late autumn and winter, the traditional influenza season. For instance, during the start of the 2017-18 season, eight virus-associated pediatric deaths are reported in the state (Florida Health, 2018). Both hospitalization and mortality rates decrease significantly over the spring and summertime.

Action Plan

The flu virus may cause multiple severe complications, such as dehydration and pneumonia. Additionally, since this infectious disease is associated with pediatric mortality, it is particularly important to contain and prevent the virus. Based on the Healthy People 2020 goals, as well as recent research evidence, it is possible to say that the best way to do so is vaccination. According to ODPHP (2014c), recent improvements in life expectancy are linked to reductions in infectious disease mortality. The latter, in its turn, is correlated with an increased immunization rate (ODPHP, 2014c; Houser & Subbarao, 2015).

Thus, it can be recommended for both children and adults to carry out vaccinations before every influenza season. Additionally, community education programs can be initiated to inform the population about precautious measures that can help avoid infection. They include avoidance of contact with infected people, hand hygiene, and so forth.

References

AIDSVu. (2018). Local data: Miami (Miami-Dade County). Web.

Castel, A. D., Magnus, M., & Greenberg, A. E. (2015). Update on the epidemiology and prevention of HIV/AIDS in the United States. Current Epidemiology Reports, 2(2), 110–119.

Florida Health. (2017). Syphilis. Web.

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Epidemiology: HIV&AIDS, Syphilis, Influenza A in Miami
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Florida Health. (2018). Influenza. Web.

Houser, K., & Subbarao, K. (2015). Influenza vaccines: Challenges and solutions. Cell Host & Microbe, 17(3), 295-300.

Moore, E. (2016). Responding to high rates of sexually-transmitted diseases in Miami-Dade County. Epi Monthly Report, 17(4), 1-6.

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2014a). HIV. Web.

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2014b). Sexually transmitted diseases. Web.

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2014c). Immunization and infectious diseases. Web.

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