Funding HIV Testing in Florida: Conservative Standpoint

The transmission of HIV is substantially driven by such risk-taking behaviors as unprotected sexual intercourse. Therefore, efforts to promote HIV prevention should mainly focus on educating community members about relevant protective measures. This approach is in line with the principles and values of political and social conservatives in terms of promoting abstinence from excess sexual activity and avoiding frequent change in partners as well as the regular use of condoms as essential elements in HIV/AIDS prevention (Jappah, 2013). Many conservative leaders are inclined to prioritize promoting abstinence; it is worth noting that when similar programs addressing the three above-mentioned issues were implemented in some African countries, they led to relatively positive results. These programs induced a marked behavioral change and significantly increased condom use (Jappah, 2013). These findings indicate that initiating multilateral prevention plans may be highly beneficial.

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However, any educational program funded by the conservative party should address the popular misconceptions about HIV testing as well, which include associating the infection with homosexuality. Not only are such beliefs counterproductive to HIV/AIDS prevention, but they also increase the threat of virus transmission as any individuals engaging in unprotected sex, even heterosexuals, are at risk. Statistics show that of the 1.2 million infected people currently living in the United States, approximately 20% percent are not aware of their positive status (Bogart et al., 2015). Therefore, by targeting the community in general, an educational program that addresses a multitude of issues can help eliminate current barriers to HIV/AIDS prevention. Educational efforts can cover such matters as pre-exposure prophylaxis for those who have HIV-positive partners and risk profiles associated with particular population groups, as well as addressing the cultural-social and behavioral factors leading to those risks. Such an approach may help lead to improved attitudes in the community toward HIV prevention measures, including testing, and reduce the incidence of infection as a result.

Combating the HIV/AIDs epidemic suits the interests of social and religious conservatives because this disease negatively affects families and children. While providing treatment for those who are currently living with the infection along with promoting prevention of pregnant and lactating women passing the virus to their children are valuable, these efforts may not be enough to protect social institutions. If political and social conservatives should choose to invest more substantial spending on community education activities and the promotion of HIV testing among diverse individuals, married and single, they will be able to advance their agenda by improving access to crucial information. As an added benefit, they will increase the support of people at risk of HIV/AIDS.

References

Bogart, L. M., Derose, K. P., Kanouse, D. E., Grifin, B. A., Haas, A. C., & Williams, M. V. (2015). Correlates of HIV testing among African American and Latino church congregants: The role of HIV stigmatizing attitudes and discussions about HIV. Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 92(1), 93-107.

Jappah, J. V. (2013). The convergence of American and Nigerian religious conservatism in a biopolitical shaping of Nigeria’s HIV/AIDS prevention programmes. Global Public Health, 8(3), 312-325.

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