Funding HIV Testing in Florida: Liberal Standpoint

The HIV/AIDS epidemic remains one of the greatest health crises currently facing the global community. Not only does this disease have a long list of life-threatening co-morbidities, but it is also associated with obvious social, racial/ethnic, and demographic health disparities. According to Pellowski, Kalichman, Matthews, and Adler (2013), “Poverty, discrimination, inequality and other social conditions facilitate HIV transmission by influencing local HIV prevalence as well as an individual’s risk behaviors” (p. 198). For example, substance abuse tends to reduce the likelihood that a user will take protective measures, while social-economic and cultural background can substantially impact an individual’s level of knowledge about and access to relevant healthcare services. Moreover, about 20% of those currently living with the infection do not know that they are HIV-positive (Bogart et al., 2015). All these factors interfere with HIV/AIDS prevention efforts.

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Currently in Florida, some policies and laws are in place to address the issues of HIV testing (e.g., Florida Statutes § 381.004). Nevertheless, such regulations mainly cover nuances related to informed consent, confidentiality, and procedural safety. For this reason, it is vital to invest in promoting HIV testing and addressing the needs of population groups at the highest risk of infection transmission. The primary aim of the suggested program is to educate target individuals about HIV/AIDS in general and develop awareness of existing methods for prevention and intervention.

To achieve better outcomes, the proposed educational effort and program promoting HIV testing may seek to achieve several national goals. Such goals include placing emphasis on interventions within minority groups (the LGBT community, financially disadvantaged individuals, drug users, and more), increasing local condom distribution, and enhancing access to relevant healthcare services among people who are at risk of HIV infection (Carey et al., 2015). Greater funding of the proposed practices promises to significantly increase rates of HIV testing in the target population groups. In addition, educational activities may lead to a decrease in the incidence of HIV/AIDS.

Political and social liberals are concerned with social inequality, strive to eliminate the hardships that marginalized members of the society face, and work to defend their rights. Thus, the proposed program can help advance their political agenda by taking a more active approach to the problem of health disparity and HIV/AIDS dissemination. Notably, the suggested solutions can be realized within existing culturally specific support organizations including those that assist people with HIV/AIDS (for example, Compass and Pridelines Youth Services). This means that an increase in funding for preventive measures should not necessarily entail a significant shift in focus from treating the infection nor should it compromise the level of care now available to HIV-positive individuals. On the contrary, the program will aim to enhance and expand current community support assets, which will allow better addressing the issue of HIV transmissibility.

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.

Carey, J. W., LaLota, M., Villamizar, K., McElroy, T., Wilson, M. M., Garcia, J., … Flores, S. A. (2015). Using high-impact HIV prevention to achieve the national HIV/AIDS strategic goals in Miami-Dade County, Florida: A case study. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: JPHMP, 21(6), 584-593.

Pellowski, J. A., Kalichman, S. C., Matthews, K. A., & Adler, N. (2013). A pandemic of the poor: Social disadvantage and the U.S. HIV epidemic. The American Psychologist, 68(4), 197-209.

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