Prevention of STDs in Miami Dade County
Based on the 2009 population estimates, Miami-Dade County forms the largest metropolitan region in the State of Florida and ranked the eighth among the nation’s counties. Further statistics indicate that there are 2,457,044 residents in Miami Dade County which represents 13.5% of the entire Florida’s population (Alexander, 2016). Based on Alex Moreno, a clinical program manager at the University Of Miami Miller School Of Medicine, there is unsettling and largely unnoticed exponential raise in sexually transmitted diseases. Notably, the number of people who were living with HIV/AIDS in Miami Dade County in 2014 had increased by 23% from the figure of 2004 (Dluhy & Krebs, 2014). Further statistics established that there were 400 reported cases of chlamydia in every 100,000 Miami residents in 2013.
Premised on the 2014 data of Needs Assessment from the Miami-Dade HIV/AIDS Partnership, the vast majority of infected people are aged between 12 and 49 years. The severity of STDs in Miami Dade County is attributed to many issues such as low income levels and low levels of awareness (Alexander, 2016). A number of agencies have stepped up the campaign against the spread of HIV and other STDs. However, policies to fight STDs have not successfully addressed the problem, thus, there is need to explore more options for addressing the devastating effects to the Miami Dade County, particularly, HIV/AIDS.
Against this background, this study will identify an abnormal community/public health need and examine the deviations in the expected outcome. Examining the goals set up in previous years in the general population of Miami Dade County regarding prevention of STDs and looking at the causes why these goals were not meet constitutes the scope of this study.
2.0 Identification of abnormal Community/Public Health Need
Examining the increased STDs rates in Miami Dade County in the general population by elucidating the statistics samples covers the health need that our group chose.
Incidents of STDs infections in Miami Dade County 2014
Source: Dluhy & Krebs (2014)
3.0 Examination of Deviations in the Expected Outcome
In the previous years, the Epidemiology, Disease Control and Immunization Services program set goals that sought to prevent the spread of STDs Miami Dade County. The agency further worked towards protecting and promoting the health of state of the residents and visitors of Miami-Dade County.
These objectives were to be accomplished via the agency’s operations of public health surveillance, conducting field investigations and health assessments. Engaging in emergency preparedness activities and epidemiologic studies covered the scope of the agency’s STDs prevention efforts. Besides, the Miami-Dade County Health Department (MDCHD) also worked towards creating awareness to the Miami residents and its visitors by assessing causality and recommending preventive measures in order to minimize the spread of STDs.
Other agencies that include Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) and the HIV/AIDS Education Program funded by the Disease Control and Prevention set goals of fundamentally increasing HIV/AIDS Education Programs in order to minimize the spread of STIs, and Viral Hepatitis. Their program goals were aligned with the National HIV/AIDS strategies and include:
- Minimizing the HIV/AIDS infections and spread by providing abstinence-based education.
- Fostering accessibility to healthcare for Miami Dade community members living with HIV/AIDS. Notably, through the provision of easy accessibility to HIV/AIDS testing and counseling.
- Minimizing STDs related health disparities by embracing approaches that are community-based in order to reduce infections, stigma, and discrimination perpetrated to people living with HIV.
However, the goals sought by the agencies were not realized. A numbers of plausible reasons have been attributed towards elucidating why the goals were not meet:
Lack of Education in the General Population
Although many agencies tried to create sensitization programs on the prevention of STDs, statistics obtained from the Needs Assessment data indicated that a greater percentage of the general population, 56%, did not have adequate education regarding prevention measures. It was established that infected individuals find it shameful to declare their status thus remain isolated.
Increase of Alcohol and Substance use in general population
According to the Substance Abuse and the Mental Health Services report of 2013, an estimated 11.6% of children and adolescents in the United States between the ages of 12 and 17 years were using illicit drugs, and further 8.9% of this age group could be classified with a diagnosis of substance abuse or dependence (Nunnally & Bernstein, 2013). An increase in number of people engaged in alcohol and substance use was attributed to the inability of the agencies to realize the set goals. This is because this group did not participate in the STDs awareness programs.
Inadequate socioeconomics funding
The agencies were also faced with the challenge of inadequate funding thus were not able to institute enough programs in the community or health centers were the people should go and be tested. In addition, inadequate awareness centers made it challenging for the general population of Miami residents and visitors to access STDs-based help and as such the intended goals were not fully in meet.
This section sought to identify of abnormal Community/Public Health Need and as such prevention of STDs in Miami Dade County community group identified. Examination of goals set in the previous years and the deviation that illustrates why the goals were not meet was analyzed. Notably, inadequate education in the general population of Miami Dade County, increasing alcohol and substance use, in addition to inadequate socioeconomics funding were the major factors attributed to the deviations.
Prevention of STDs in Miami Dade County
Based on the Miami metropolitan statistics obtained in 2013, the county recorded the highest number of diagnosed HIV and other STDs infections (Blumenthal & McGinnis, 2015). Further statistics from the same study established that young people, notably, age 25 and 34 recorded a 5% increase of new infections from the number recorded the previous year. In addition, 70% of chlamydia and syphilis reported infections were young people of 15 and 24 years.
Ingrained in the report from the Center for Disease Control in 2014, there were increased cases of neglect to use protective measures in Miami Dade County in order to curb new STDs infections (Alexander, 2016). Efforts by the Florida Health Department in collaboration with Miami-Dade schools to jointly work to curb the spread of STDs in Miami Dade County have not recorded much success. Notably, the health department has expanded provision of STDs testing sites to include mobile HIV testing units and awareness.
Against this background, increased rate of STDs in the Miami Dade County general population with statistics samples will be examined as an abnormal community/public health need. Insight to contributions and role of the nurse in preventing the spread of STDs will be elucidated. In addition, proposing prevention solutions towards curbing new infections of HIV/AIDS and other STDs covers the scope of this section.
2.0 Identification of abnormal Community/Public Health Need
This group chose increased STDs in the general population of the Miami Dade County. It was established that 11.2% of the young people aged between 12-24 years were infected with HIV/AIDS. 36% of the high school students in Miami Dade County acknowledged to unprotected sexual relationships in 2015. A further 23% of this population reported to using drugs (Nunnally & Bernstein, 2013).
3.0 Contributions and Role of the Nurse
The nurse plays a crucial role in teaching the general population in the Miami Dade community regarding preventions of the STDs. Further, the nurse creates awareness on the strategies of preventing STDs in the community via primary prevention and health promotion approaches. Nurses being health professionals conduct testing of STDs in hospital facilities and offers guidance and counselling coping strategies.
Nurses contribute towards the prevention of STDs in Miami Dade County via community outreach services. Notably, an Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) give nurses an opportunity to integrate and contribute to Miami Dade Society directly with regard to prevention of STDs. The Association offers an array of outreach services that helps medical practitioners to socialize with Miami society members. Many of these programs are established in conjunction with affected families, learning institutions, and the society at large. A study conducted by Dluhy & Krebs (2014) established that by 2013 a total of 37% of the full-time registered nurses were providing health care services to Miami Dade County high school students.
The setting of the nurse outreach program entails homes, learning institutions, day care facilities, worship centers, recreational centers, and community facilities who jointly work in creating awareness on the prevention of STDs. This study established that AWHONN and other gender-based organizations have been credited for their immense success in promoting health care services within Miami Dade County through gender socialization approaches that are geared at educating people on prevention of STDs. The nurse-based program offers a gender socializing platform of advising expectant and new mothers on healthy lifestyle and how to avoid risk behavior that may lead to STDs infections.
Health nurses in medical facilities work towards identifying actions necessary to improving the health conditions and embracing STD preventive measures in Miami Dade County. Nurses execute these services by extending services of immunizations and STDs screening to the general population in Miami Dade County. Nurses are able to socialize freely with society members and provide them with STDs services at the community level that are otherwise offered in the medical facilities.
Nurses also have an association that has specialized in fields of home care, case management, or corporate nursing that work in diverse cultural settings in creating awareness in the prevention of STDs.
4.0 Proposed Solutions
Over the years, preventing spread of STDs has been a growing concern in Miami Dade County. The vast majority of infected people are aged between 12 and 49 years. Infected individuals are always absent from duty and community participation and their input is generally reduced. Alexander (2016) portend that HIV/AIDS reduces economic growth by 2% annually in Miami Dade County.
The county is struggling to meet the health cost of HIV/AIDS victims on top of other developmental challenges. As such, this paper seeks to propose solutions to address the increased spread of STDs in Miami Dade general population. The proposed solutions include:
Improved Access to Education
Providing access to education that is geared towards creating awareness of the prevention of STDs is integral proposed solution to addressing the exponential increase in the spread of STDs. Leadership in institutions should embrace commitment to change, mobilize resources, and work towards overcoming of barriers that hinder the success of the efforts of curbing the spread of STDs.
Notably, institutionalized leadership need to adopt a new and re-contextualized approach in creating awareness curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS. By the close of 2014, there were 52% of the institutions in Miami Dade County had incorporated health education in the curriculum and further 37% of the institutions have instituted HIV and other STDs testing programs within the institutions (Blumenthal & McGinnis, 2015). This study recommends institutions should increase the numbers of health education lessons to enhance awareness among the young people.
Further, conducting training sessions in vast organizations and Miami Dade general population will help prevent the spread of STDs. The training sessions will help those already infected lead healthy lifestyles. Additionally, the training will enhance their coping strategies stress management skills. Establishing Assistance Programs will help employees in developing skills that will be critical handling stress both at individual and community level. Individual training on how avoid or cope with STDs is positively correlated with prevention of efforts and other psychological disorders associated with STDs.
Core elements of preventing the spread of STDs HIV/AIDS in higher educational institutions in Miami Dade County should be generating, collecting, transmitting, and expanding AIDS and other STDs awareness knowledge, understanding, awareness creation as an institutionalized practice of scale up response the STDs epidemic. Such a response institutional responses should pervade institutional structures incorporating the general Miami community in prevention of new infections.
Institutional leadership that entails vice-Chancellors should occupy positions of accountability and responsibility in initiating actions that enhance effective and institutionalized AIDS and STDs prevention discourse.
Rehabilitations and Community-based Programs
This study proposes that identification of the most vulnerable populations in regard to drugs and alcohol abuse and looking for ways of making rehabilitations and community based programs accessible for them a crucial strategy curbing the spread of STDs in Miami Dade County. Mentoring sessions will provide a platform for personal motivation and aid the victims adjust.
These rehabilitation and community based programs should utilize the I-O psychologist in ensuring creation of centers within organization that guide workers in the prevention, early identification, and provide strategies of addressing stress that is attributed to STDs. Ingrained in Alexander (2016) assertions; stressed community members are less productive and ineffective in service delivery. I-O psychologist should encourage community members to be cautious about the warning signs of STDs and seek early medical intervention. They should further report to guidance and counselling officers as ignoring those signs may result to bigger and complex psychological disorders.
Besides, this study recommends that the community based programs should create awareness the victims on the need to use protective measures and abstinence as effective ways of preventing STDs infections. Counselling on morality and sex education in rehabilitation will aim to reduce risk behaviors such as unprotected sex and equip the victims to make informed decisions about their personal sexual activities.
Working in collaboration with several agencies to obtain funds to increase health centers in Miami Dade community will contribute to the collective efforts controlling the HIV/AIDS epidemic (White, 2013). STDs transmission is a major health concern, thus, collective efforts are critical to controlling the spread of infections. Agencies that include Epidemiology, Disease Control and Immunization Services, Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), and the HIV/AIDS Education Program should collaboratively work towards sourcing funds to curb the high rates of new infections. This will be realized through stepping up STDs awareness campaigns.
A survey done by Dluhy & Krebs (2014) elucidates higher education institutions in Miami Dade County should intensify efforts of creating awareness with regard to the impact of the HIV/AIDS and other STDs in institutions. Particularly, universities should take the lead in developing institution-specific HIV/AIDS and other STDs policies, integrating STDs education into curricula, establishing resource centers that are aimed support teaching and learning; establishing partnerships to provide voluntary student counseling and testing. Additionally, they should engage Miami Dade community and other stakeholders in the collective bid the curb the spread of STDs.
Religious institutions should join local, national and international organizations or establish new organizations which can fight against stigma and discrimination. Support positive religious policies, projects and budget proposals for HIV prevention and care will help facilitate strengthening of social values to help curb and campaign against HIV/AIDS.
Alongside the agencies, religious institutions have a have an obligation discussing STDs related issues on both in the political and social events in addition to religious meeting and religious institutions in the bid to create awareness and promote morality attitudes in the Miami Dade County community. Further, the religious leaders can collaboratively work with the agencies in coordinating forums of educating Miami Dade general population regarding prevention of STDs.
Job fairs for the Miami Dade Community
In order to effectively curb the spread of new infections of STDs in the Miami Dade general public, empowering the population economically is crucial proposal this study poses. Economic ability of the already infected individuals will enable them lead health lifestyles
This section was ingrained in identifying an abnormal community/public health need. Consequently, increased rate of STDs in the Miami Dade County general population with statistics samples was identified. This study established that the Miami Dade County’s elite community has a critical role in the fight against spread of STDs. In order to realize the fight against new infections of STDs, this study proposed improved access to education as a measure of curbing the spread of new infections. Institutions should endeavor to implement guidance and counselling programs in order to prevent and curb STDs. Notably, incorporating guidance and awareness programs in the curricula is vital in sensitizing young people. The school counsellors should assist the young people who are worst hit with the identification of challenges towards the successful fight against STDs and make appropriate resource referrals.
In addition, this study established that setting up rehabilitation and community-based programs will create awareness and enable the infected with effective coping strategies. Agency collaboration to obtain funds to increase health centers in Miami Dade community will contribute to the collective efforts of controlling new infections of STDs. Collaboration is an integral support system in enhancing Miami Dade community coordination in the fight against STDs. The academic community should also collaborate with the agencies in leading the fight against new infections of HIV/AIDS and other STDs by setting resources, committed to change, and working towards overcoming any barriers hindering the effective fight against STDs.
Alexander, C. L. (2016). The new guardians: Policing in America’s communities for the 21st century. North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace.
Blumenthal, D., & McGinnis, J. M. (2015). Vital signs: Core metrics for better health at lower cost. Washington D.C.: National Academies Press.
Dluhy, M. J., & Krebs, C. E. (2014). Dade County, Florida: A needs assessment of the 60 and over population. Miami, FL: Southeast Florida Center on Aging.
Nunnally, C., & Bernstein, H. (2013). Statistical abstract of the United States 2012-2013: The national data book. (2012). New York: Skyhorse Pub.
White, J. F. (2013). The impact of the black church on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the black communities of Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI.