Since the time HIV was discovered more than thirty years ago, more than 575, 000 U.S. citizens have the victims of AIDS. Statistics says that every year over 56,000 people become infected with HIV in the U.S. These days, more than 1.1 million U.S. citizens are living with this disease. Plus, almost half of Americans said they know at least one person living with HIV (National HIV Strategy for the United States, par. 1). In the time when the spread of AIDS has reached the level of an epidemic in the U.S., the complex solution to this problem is: educating people about the dangers of AIDS, improving the quality of treatment, and increasing funding to support the solution of the AIDS problem.
First, we can solve the problem of AIDS in the U.S by educating. According to the National HIV Strategy for the United States, Americans who will have access to “a common baseline of information” about the ongoing HIV epidemic, will be at a lower risk of getting infected. In this case, education will work to prevent. Education of all Americans that will provide them with necessary knowledge will need to embrace a broad age span and come in different ways. These may include online courses, mobile classrooms, and cabinet curricula. Online courses are a good way to educate people and help them stay current in the problem of AIDS. Today many U.S. universities offer free health-related online courses. For example, the John Hopkins University offers lectures and reading materials on “Principles of Human Nutrition”, “Adolescent Health and Development” and other courses, Massachusetts Institute of Technology has free online courses in gastroenterology, pharmacology, immunology, etc., University of California-Irvine offers course on public health foundations, clinical trials, etc. (Education Portal.Com).
AIDS-focused free online courses should be developed by these and other universities. They will equip people with knowledge of what HIV is, how it is transmitted, how HIV can be prevented, which behaviors place people at the highest risk for infection, and what the consequences of contracting HIV are, etc. Alternatively, various health organizations, such as hospitals, clinics, or charities, may run their own online courses aimed at educating about HIV and preventing AIDS. For example, in the UK, NHS has launched the initiative of healthier education for various regions of the country. To illustrate, NHS Education for Scotland website hosts more than twenty short online courses which can be reached by both general public and social or healthcare staff (NHS Education for Scotland, “Healthcare Associated Infections”). It needs to be added that online courses is a good solution for young adults (aged between19 and 25), adults, and middle-aged people (aged between 40-60 years). Learners of these age groups are able to focus on lectures, readings, and can follow the course in an organized manner. They already have some skills of learning, are familiar with the formal language, and have motivation to study about AIDS from a university course.
For teenagers, the best solution will be to use mobile classrooms, so that the students will be able to learn on-the-go and enjoy the use of the latest technology. According to Jennifer Job, use of mobile learning technology has its clear benefits, first of all accessibility. As “Mobile learning devices (MLD) meet students where they are in the rest of their lives,” teenagers will be able to learn at the time which is convenient to them and in a way that is interesting for them (Job, par. 10). A good tool is podcasting. With a suite of podcasts educating about HIV dangers in a creative and simple manner, students will be able to listen to them while doing sports, walking, waiting for a bus, or doing any other activities.
As for the cabinet curricula, this form of education will be useful for children in elementary school or for senior citizens. It will provide students with regular classes about HIV, full of accessible explanations by instructors. The pace and contents of instruction will be adjusted to the level of the audience, and there will be a chance of asking questions. Besides, it will be possible to use games, creative tasks, and interaction as teaching methods to help learners remember the material better.
Second, improvement of the quality of treatment is an important step in solving the problem of AIDS in the U.S. It is a well-known fact that AIDS is incurable. Still, more and more treatments are available to extend life expectancy for the HIV-infected. However, the cost of treatment is high, with $25,000 a year on average. In this case, insurance coverage is necessary. Inability to pay for HIV therapy and medications prevents many people from entering into medical care of their condition. Thus, the priority is to increase accessibility of long-term quality care for people who have learnt that they are HIV-infected. This can be done through increasing public investments and providing a better insurance system for this group of patients. Also, more federal and state programs should be launched, such as Ryan White HIV/AIDS program and others (National HIV Strategy for the United States 22). Besides, scientific research into finding a cure should be encouraged. This will help embrace more people and fill the gaps in insurance coverage.
Thirdly, we can solve the problem of AIDS in the U.S by funding. Funding should come from charities, federal government, and international organizations. Federal government should increase its funding of the AIDS relief program. Also, charities may be encouraged to help financially. Besides, international organizations are known to be great donors of funding aimed at combating AIDS. World Bank, Global Fund, PEPFAR (USA), and DFID (UK) are known to donate as much as $690 million per year. A good step in solving the funding problem is to encourage NGOs and research instituted or medical organizations to ask for funding specific projects.
Overall, the problem of AIDS can be solved once three major strategies get completed: educating, providing quality care, and increasing funding. Therefore, the efforts of the government and public should stay focused on the AIDS issue.