School of Nursing
Public Health and Community Nursing
Stanley, Kari N., "Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Autoimmune Deficiency Syndrome: A Pathophysiology and Cultural Perspective of Treatment in Sub-Saharan Africa" (2015). Senior Honors Theses. 526.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that attacks the body’s immune system increasing risk for development of opportunistic infections and ultimately acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Without treatment HIV can run its course within 10 years; however, several categories of antiretroviral therapy now exist that have various mechanisms of action designed to stop a patient’s viral load from increasing so rapidly. The prevalence and risk for transmission is highest in Sub-Saharan Africa where resources and access to treatment is limited and underutilized. In order for health care providers to begin changing the statistics, cultural competence must be the foundation for all health care provided. Treatment, as recommended by the World Health Organization, can include either a one or three medication ART regimen. Education about the disease must be incorporated, as well as information regarding prescribed medications, forms of contraception, and multiple partner education. By mobilizing resources and reaching out into various communities, trust can be gained allowing the opportunity to receive care and have improved quality of life to more individuals who are infected or who are at risk of contracting HIV.