Research highlights need for national HIV strategy

November 30, 2009,

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that well over one million people in the United States are infected with HIV/AIDS. New research from North Carolina State University shows that many of those infected are minorities and do not have health insurance, and highlights the need for a national strategy to facilitate education and prevention efforts in minority and low-income populations.

The research, which analyzed 90,000 HIV patient hospital visits over the course of one year, found that few of the patients had through their employers, and that the majority of the patients were black. "The study highlights the lack of a federal strategic plan supported by appropriate policy to address the high number of uninsured and dealing with HIV," says Dr. Fay Cobb Payton, associate professor of information systems at NC State and author of the paper. "The numbers show that we need a national strategy for how to address these problems."

Specifically, the study showed that only 17 percent of patients had health care through their employer, while 18 percent of patients were on Medicare and 64 percent were on Medicaid. The study also found that a staggering 75 percent of the HIV patients were black.

"Much of the is based on one's ability to navigate treatment, service delivery, payment guidelines and policies - all of which require some degree of adequate financial and educational resources," Payton says. "A lot of times, these HIV patients come from a socioeconomic background that makes it unlikely they will have those resources."

"For example," Payton says, "a strategic plan is needed to address the levels of HIV we are seeing in the black community in the U.S. - particularly given the alarming rates in cities with large black populations, such as Washington, D.C., and the growing number of cases in the rural South.

"There's a lot of education out there, but we need to engage the community better. Any strategic plan would need to include policies on disseminating HIV education, testing and overcoming social and cultural stigmas associated with the disease." Payton co-authored a paper earlier this year in the European Journal of Information Systems highlighting the need to tailor Web sites and other communication tools to specific audiences, such as the black community, in order to make these tools more effective at providing those communities with information on HIV.

"For years the focus has been primarily on finding a cure for HIV/AIDS," Payton says, "but what do we do in the meantime? We need a strategic plan, and we need grassroots approaches to prevention and education."

More information: The paper, "Beyond the IT Magic Bullet: Prevention Education and Public Policy," is published in the November issue of the Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice.

Source: North Carolina State University (news : web)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

HIV exports viral protein in cellular packages

February 15, 2018
HIV may be able to affect cells it can't directly infect by packaging a key protein within the host's cellular mail and sending it out into the body, according to a new study out of a University of North Carolina Lineberger ...

Can gene therapy be harnessed to fight the AIDS virus?

February 13, 2018
For more than a decade, the strongest AIDS drugs could not fully control Matt Chappell's HIV infection. Now his body controls it by itself, and researchers are trying to perfect the gene editing that made this possible.

Big data methods applied to the fitness landscape of the HIV envelope protein

February 7, 2018
Despite significant advances in medicine, there is still no effective vaccine for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), although recent hope has emerged through the discovery of antibodies capable of neutralizing diverse ...

Scientists report big improvements in HIV vaccine production

February 5, 2018
Research on HIV over the past decade has led to many promising ideas for vaccines to prevent infection by the AIDS virus, but very few candidate vaccines have been tested in clinical trials. One reason for this is the technical ...

Microbiome research refines HIV risk for women

January 25, 2018
Drawing from data collected for years by AIDS researchers in six African nations, scientists have pinpointed seven bacterial species whose presence in high concentrations may significantly increase the risk of HIV infection ...

Researchers find latent HIV reservoirs inherently resistant to elimination by CD8+ T-cells

January 22, 2018
The latest "kick-and-kill" research to eliminate the HIV virus uncovered a potential obstacle in finding a cure. A recent study by researchers at the George Washington University (GW) found that latent HIV reservoirs show ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.