HIV&AIDS remains an immediate threat to human health globally. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the prevalence rates among general populations across the globe vary from one nation to another. As of 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 36.9% of the world’s populations are currently living with HIV&AIDS (“HIV/AIDS,” 2019). The numbers differ from country to country due to a number of variables. The computer-generated bar chart above depicts these differences by comparing raw data on the prevalence of HIV&AIDS in the United States, Haiti and Rwanda. The percentage of individuals living with HIV&AIDS is lowest in the United States at 1%, followed Haiti and 2.1% and Rwanda at 3.1% (“Global HIV & AIDS statistics 2019 fact sheet,” 2019). It is fundamental to evaluate these statistics to establish why prevalence rates differ in these three countries.
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The low percentage prevalence of HIV&AIDS in the United States, at 1%, is largely due to its position globally as a developed country. It is apparent that prevention strategies have succeeded in an impressive manner across the United States. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) addressed this threat by focusing on a comprehensive campaign on behavioral change targeting homosexual and bisexual men. In addition to this, developed countries have also been at the forefront of vertical transmission prevention using antiretroviral treatment. Since homosexual sexual activity and intravenous drug use account for nearly two thirds of new infections in developed countries, prevention strategies have been tailored to addressing the concerns of the aforementioned population. Both Haiti and Rwanda are categorized under the developing countries category with a HIV&AIDS prevalence rate of 2.1% and 3.1% respectively. Lack of awareness about the disease coupled with limited resources to counter new infections account for primary reasons why prevalence rates are highest in developing and underdeveloped countries. Moreover, poverty and moderate funding often means that at-risk populations fail to receive the attention they require, eventually contracting the disease.
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There are a host of factors that contribute to the difference in prevalence rates among countries globally. In regions with a higher HIV&AIDS prevalence, ignorance has largely been blamed for the ever growing number of new infections. Individuals in these localities engage in risky behavior while being oblivious to their role in fueling transmission rates. Ignorance results in a total disregard of preventive practices such as the use of condoms when engaging intimately with new partners. Poverty also contributes to the spread HIV&AIDS in the developing world. More often than not, persons living in poverty have been found to engage in commercial sex work to earn a living (Salinas & Haacker, 2016, p. 143). Such activities usually lead to an increase in risky behavior, making vulnerable individuals prone to contracting the disease. For developed countries such as the United States, drug use ranks high among the main reasons why HIV&AIDS still remains a contemporary scourge in the country. The sharing of drug-injecting apparatus among addicted populations in American inner cities has resulted in a spike in HIV&AIDS infections across the board.
Education levels are also a factor to consider when evaluating HIV&AIDS prevalence rates in the United States, Haiti and Rwanda. The United States has invested heavily in education with the aim of ensuring the country has a literate and informed population. Using standardized tests at state and local level ensures that education is a compulsory endeavor in private, public and home schools. On the other hand, Haiti has one of the lowest education levels in the Western Hemisphere. The literacy rate is 61% with recurrent shortages in qualified teachers and educational materials (“Statistics,” 2018). Rwanda is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, recognized globally for implementing policies geared towards a higher literacy rate. With a literacy rate of 77%, Rwanda endeavors to raise its literacy rate increasing enrollment and lowering the costs of education (“Rwanda,” 2018).
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Education levels are also been connected to attitudes regarding HIV&AIDS. For instance, the United States reports the lowest rate of stigma for individuals living with the disease. Myths and misconceptions permeate the Haitian and Rwandan psyche when confronting HIV&AIDS. Many still believe that it is a form of punishment from supernatural powers and activities such as sharing a drinking glass with an infected individual may result in one contracting the disease. Behavioral interventions in the United States can help in reducing new HIV&AIDS infections. They include stigma reduction; cash transfer systems and information provision. Biomedical interventions are best suited for Haiti in an attempt to reduce the prevalence rate. It involves the provision of condom, reproductive services, screening and substitution therapy. Structural interventions such as strengthen legislation dealing with partner violence, cash transfers for women and decriminalizing same-sex relationships are appropriate in the Rwandan setting due to a unique set of social challenges.
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