Health Topic With a Sociological Analysis

Health Topic With a Sociological Analysis

Inequalities, policies, gender and stress of H.I.V and AIDS infection

V is a virus that causes the disease (AIDS) “Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.” The disease is a progressive failure of the human immune system. This failure of the immune system causes threatening opportunistic infections and death. H.I.V and AIDS infection have negative impacts on the health of infected persons. The disease has also an impact on the mental health of persons infected. According to data from Centre of Disease Control and prevention in 1986, the disease has negative impacts on the physical health of individuals, and negative impacts on the mental health of persons infected. The data further points out that the disease affects the mental health of persons close to victims. People closely related to persons infected include caregivers and relatives. Relatives are afraid of losing their loved ones to the disease, children are afraid of losing their parents while caregivers who foster a good relationship with patients do not want to lose them through death.

When looking at the disease in relation to the United States of America, one relate to a variety of phenomena. The phenomena relate to race, masculinity, groups, age, and Socio- economic status of individuals. The disease has an impact on policy, Affect children, extended family and caregivers. H.I.V and AIDS have an effect on the mental health on persons infected, relative and caregivers of persons infected (Braithwaite, Taylor and Treadwell 2009). The disease infects men and women differently, affects persons of different races disproportionally and differs given the Socio economic status of individuals.

Exposure to HIV and AIDS among different Members of the Population is Unequal

There is a racial disparity amongst individuals affected HIV infection among African-Americans make approximately 15% of the population but account to 44% of the population infected by HIV and AIDS; gay men account for only 2% of the population, but account to almost 70% of all individuals having H.I.V and AIDS. The remaining proportions represent all the remaining races. This shows that there is a disparity among the populations infected with AIDS in the country. Reports documented to prove that; African-American populations are prone to infection due to their sexual lifestyle this is according to data from the Center for Disease and Control between of the year 2000, but scholars disapprove this notion. However, looking closely one will realize that, HIV infections are not racial. Manifestation of social exclusion has led to health inequalities within the society, but this is not a basis for the spread of the disease (Outten et al. 2009).

Historical influences on residential segregation, difference in educational facilities, employment and quality of health care have contributed to the difference of infections this is in accordance to information from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. The high rates of infections among people of color relates to the structural inequalities within their residential areas as compared to other racial groupings (Semple et al. 2003).

Groups of individuals Groups with HIV and AIDS Infection?

Women, orphaned children, and gay men face stigmatization in relation to AIDS. Gay men represent a minority population, but they contribute immensely to the population of people infected with the disease. Traditional masculine gender roles perceived social standing is pushing gay men into alcohol abuse and drug abuse. Gay men are prone to stigmatization and abuse from the public as compared to their straight counterparts (Hartwell et al. 2012). Women represent another fraction of disadvantaged population. Gender norms persuade men to indulge in many sexual relations and allow older to indulge in sexual practices with younger men. Gender norms limits younger women from accessing HIV information services, only 38% of young women have accurate information about HIV and AIDS according to global figures (Semple et al. 2003).

What are the Psychological Impacts of HIV and AIDS Health and Well-being?

HIV and AIDS are a stressor that influence negatively on an individual’s health and well-being. The disease affects productivity of individuals in the workplace; it affects family, and it affects the financial standing of families. The Psychological effects of the disease on individuals have negative mental and psychological consequences on the caregivers and the victims. Psychological impact varies from individual to individual. The way individual reacts to fear of loss, guilt, grief, denial, anger, suicidal behaviors and depression is different. Individual may become withdrawn, aggressive or even rude to workmates. This affects relationships, leads to losses in production organizations (Semple et al. 2003; Earnshaw et al. 2009). Individuals react this way because they feel victimized. The disease may also make people have low self-esteem as they no longer belief on themselves. Infected people normally fear to adjust to the new lifestyle making them prone to suicidal behaviors.

Psychological Impact on Children Affected and Infected

HIV and AIDS do not choose whom to strike not even children. In many developing countries, children left to the care of institutions like the Catholic Mission orphanage. One fifty thousand orphans represent Namibia’s population and in the next 20 years, the government projects the number to triple. There are many psychological impacts that might affect an affected child; an infected parent might show less interest on their child thus affecting the child emotionally. A child in this case does not understand the challenges the parents are undergoing. These might make children behave anxiously and in fear, at times when their parents get to that point where they cannot take their own responsibilities in the house, a child has to take up the role which maybe overwhelming. Children, therefore, react by exhibiting anger, grief, they act in avoidance and some cases isolate from friends (Katyl 2006; Earnshaw et al. 2009). These changes lead to relational disturbances and self-stigmatization. Children infected by the epidemic lose the experiences of childhood since they get sick often, and their friends at times stigmatize them.

Psychological Impacts on Caregivers and Family Members

People tend to look at the interest of only those individuals infected with HIV and AIDS, and tend to ignore family members and caregivers. Caregivers and family members feel effects of the epidemic since they always look after infected persons. They are afraid of, death, loss, uncertainty of the future, frustrations in getting proper medication. Family members have financial worries, feel ashamed and at time frustrated with the challenge of caring for the sick member. Caregivers also get depressed at caring for sick patients, loss of life to a caregiver is so traumatizing especially in the case where they had fostered a relationship with the patient.

How is Masculinity related to HIV and AIDS?

HIV / AIDS have negative physiological influence on men and women differently. Men tend to practice risky sexual acts than women making them more likely to be infected than women. Married couples are at risk of infection this is because they tend to have many partners. Educated men advocate for safe sex practices than the uneducated making them less likely to be infected. Looking at the spread of the virus within African-American men and women, it is evident that men are vulnerable to infections than women. Men are more likely to have many sexual relationship Men, on the other hand, get involved in homosexual relationships, which is a great contributor to infections. In the developing countries, women are susceptible to the psychological factors of the virus. They fear for the loss of their loved ones, in some cases widowed, and Grandmothers left to care for grandchildren. In these countries, women do not make decisions on their reproductive health and the available methods of HIV prevention (Leeper and Reddi 2010).

In African countries due to cultures, taboo and norms, it is the responsibility of Men to make every decision concerning sex within marriage. In these countries through history Men are economically strong as compared to women, women follow instruction from husbands and this makes them susceptible to infections. Rape against women has been on the increase. Rape is one of the most humiliating experiences for women Rape may result in an unwanted pregnancy or HIV and AIDS infections, which will psychologically affect women (Sage 2010).

How is HIV and AIDS in Related to Socio Economic Status of individuals?

Socio-economic status of people relates to the levels of education income level of people, and the occupation of people in the community. Socioeconomic factors affect the level of HIV infection. Individuals of high social standing compared to those of less standing tend to get proper medical services, are able to be receive health information easily. Study on the socio economic status of people reveals a lot of disparity in the distribution of resources. The variance includes disparity in the distribution of wealth, income and access of resources. Those at the lowest level have lower education, poor and are prone to poor health that might affect the society (Leeper and Reddi 2010; Hartwell et al. 2012). HIV and AIDS infection is prevalent among people at the lowest economic level. Individuals at this level do not enjoy proper medical services.

Does Socio-economic Status Impact lives of People with HIV and AIDS?

Individuals with a lower socio-economic status are more prone to contracting HIV and AIDS virus. This measure also determines how individual status, relates to proper medical care. Lack of socioeconomic strength associated to the practice of risky sexual behaviors results to HIV contraction. Men engage in sexual intercourse with many partners without using a condom (Will 2000). Women at this lower level engage in riskier sexual behaviors. Homeless people are more vulnerable to infection, women in such situations are prone to rape and, men are most likely drug users. Individuals with low socioeconomic resources are prone to injury, which makes the susceptible to the effects of the virus that affects the central nervous system (Earnshaw, Valerie and Stephenie 2009).

Does HIV Infection Affect the Socio Sconomic Status of Infected Persons?

HIV and AIDS have negative impacts on the productivity of an individual and the ability to earn a living. Forty five percent of individuals living with the virus are in unemployment. The virus has a negative impact on the mental functionality of individuals making it hard to keep a job; employees are not able to accomplish tasks, infected employees discrimination in the workplace leads to resignations. Individuals with lower socio economic strength have high mortality rates.

Do Policies Affect HIV and AIDS Patients?

Policies are essential in the management of HIV and AIDS infections. Policy developed to reduce the virus transmission, provide educational facilities and in the reduction of socioeconomic differences. HIV testing programs is essential for the provision of care services, and these policies are essential in the development of laws that protect the rights of people living with HIV and AIDS. Work place policies provide infected individuals the right to employment and fair treatment (Leeper and Reddi 2010).


Semple, S.J., Patterson, T.L., Temoshok, L.R., McCutchan, J.A., Straits-Troster,

K., Chandler, J.A., & Grant, I. 2003. “Identification of psychobiological stressors among HIV-positive women.” Women & Health, 20(4), 15-36.

Earnshaw, Valerie a., and Stephenie R. Chaudoir.2009. “From conceptualizing to measuring HIV stigma: a review of HIV stigma mechanism measures.” AIDS

and Behavior 13.6 (2009): 1160-1177.

Leeper, S.C., & Reddi, a. 2010. “United States global health policy: HIV / AIDS,

maternal and child health, and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS

Relief (PEPFAR).” Aids, 24(14), 2145-2149.

Braithwaite, R.L., Taylor, S.E., & Treadwell, H.M. 2009. Health issues in the Black community. Wiley. com.

Serovich, E.E., Hartwell, J.M., Grafsky, E.L., & Kerr, Z.Y. 2012. “Coming out of the dark: Content analysis of articles pertaining to gay, lesbian, and bisexual issues in couple and family therapy journals.” Journal of Marital and Family

Therapy, 38(1), 227-243.

Katyl Bryant. 2006. “Making gender identity disorder of childhood: Historical lessons for contemporary debates.” Sexuality resource & policy journal, 3(3),


Sage publishers.2010. “Social conditions as fundamental causes of health inequalities:

theory and policy implications.” Journal of health and social behavior, 51(1),


Will H. Courtenay.2000. “Constructing of masculinity and their influence on men’s well being: a theory of gender and health.” Journal of social science and medicine, 50(2000), 1385-1401.

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