Sample Healthcare Essay on knowledgeable in Public Health

Healthcare: Public Health

Background of the Study

            Over the years, most parts of East Africa have encountered increased rates of HIV infection levels (Camlin et al, 2014). This has been the trend with the Kenyan Government embarking on severe measures that would help in reducing the instances of these infections (Camlin et al, 2014). This has been characterized by the increased treatment methods for other sexually transmitted infections as well as significant delays in age of first sex (Camlin et al, 2014). The AIDS epidemic has for a long affected women and girls with a growing proportion of those living with HIV being women. Recent analysis from the UNAIDS also indicates that young women between the age of 15 and 24 years are more prone to get infected than young men of their same age (UNAIDS/WHO, 2003). Similarly, data from these researches has indicated that girls and women are obligated to carry the burden of HIV/AIDS, as they are the ones who bear the traditional gender roles that entitle them to the provision of care and support of those who are infected. Additionally, young girls are also forced to miss school in order to offer assistance in taking care of the sick and infected with the community (UNAIDS/WHO, 2003). 

            The HIV/AIDS pandemic brings about heavy loads for people, especially in Kenya due to the fact that most of them live in poverty with estimates of about 50% of the people living in absolute poverty (Camlin et al, 2014). The levels of poverty endured in this region are as result of socio-cultural systems, which bring about inequality in terms of gender. This occurs through the way men are entitled to have mandate over the productive resources and the social infrastructure that is applied in making decisions (Camlin et al, 2014). The outcome of these activities is that women in the society end up being subordinated, which brings about the aspects of widespread infection of HIV. Women are disempowered in terms of economic and socio-cultural aspects (Camlin et al, 2014). This creates a channel where men get the chance of engaging in many other relations or rather concurrent relationships simply because they have more control over the women. 

            In addition to this, studies have indicated that gender based violence (GBV) has also been a contributing factor to the instances of HIV infections in that they disrupt the community social structures (Elis, 2007). This may be accompanied by the fact that humanitarian activities, such as failure of agriculture to ensure food and livelihood security, which may lead individuals to engage in sexual behaviors like sex work for food rations and access to basic goods. These activities have exposed them to higher risks of HIV infection (Elis, 2007). Other effects that are brought about by such activities include the fact that there are many children who become orphans due to HIV, and the society seems to take no action about it. Additionally, there have been few measures taken to elevate the situation and sensitize the people of the social and cultural factors that need to be improved in order to reduce instance of HIV infections (Elis, 2007).

Definition of Terms  

AIDS- Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

GBV- Gender Based Violence

HIV- Human Immunodeficiency Virus

UNAIDS- Joint United Nations Programme for HIV/AIDS

WHO- World Health Organization


            The social amenities applied in the field of HIV infections are mostly based on various assumptions. To start with, the social relations used in this study have actively created and reproduced systemic differences in the positioning of groups of people (Barz & Cohen, 2011). This is coupled with the fact that the social relations are dynamic in that they can easily be changed through legislation, policies, and economic trends as well as crisis. The third assumption involves the fact that the institutions utilized bring about social relations that create social inequalities that are based on particular gender ideologies (Barz & Cohen, 2011). Additionally, the structure of the study relies heavily on the role of institutions instead of the roles of individuals as well as activities and resources. The social framework looks at the whole aspect with considerations based on four key institutions that include the state, markets, communities, and the holistic family (Barz & Cohen, 2011).


            The limitations available in this study include the fact that focusing on the social aspects leaves other issues unattended whereby there are more factors contributing to the spread of HIV infections in Kenya (Blas, 2010). The focus on social relations leaves out the importance of other tools that may help narrow down on the specific issues related to HIV infections and treatment. The study applies the perspectives of social institutions thus neglecting the particular focus on individual participation of the issues that are based on individual roles (Blas, 2010). This brings about the aspect of some communities and groups playing the role of passive victims. The results obtained are a form of disaggregation in terms sex followed by other factors such as income, religion, and political backgrounds. However, it fails to recognize other factors that should be aligned with gender to bring out the vulnerability issues (Blas, 2010).

Significance and Social Change Implication

            This study applies a social interaction structure that combines the major aspects of HIV infection to bring out an approach that is highly relevant in addressing gender differences and inequalities. It also analyzes the behavior of couples intersected with social practices surrounding concurrent sexual relationships to reduce the vulnerabilities and increase capabilities of understanding the roots causes of HIV infections in the country (Okal et al, 2009). This helps in bringing about strategies that may be utilized in identifying the interrelations between different kinds of problems and advantages. Additionally, it helps in the creation of a platform through which the major problems in the society may be addressed effectively as the challenges are clearly identified (Okal et al, 2009).


            The use of the social framework helps in bringing out the social interactions that bring about HIV infections. Concurrent relations and the differences in gender are some of the major issues that characterize the spread of HIV in Kenya. This is characterized by the fact that there is lack of sufficient knowledge about the issues and thus the people in the country end up engaging in activities that lead to HIV infection. Gender roles are also a high contributing factor that creates the disparity between their accesses to such kind of information that would help them prevent HIV infection. Additionally, the high levels of poverty within the nation also play a crucial role in the epidemic in that it creates channels where people engage in concurrent relationships for the benefits of survivor.


Barz, G., & Cohen, J. (2011). The Culture of Aids in Africa: Hope and Healing in Music and the Arts. New York: Oxford University Press.

Blas, E., & Kurup, A. (2010). Equity, Social Determinants and Public Health Programmes. Switzerland: World Health Organization.

Camlin, Carol S.; Kwena, Zachary A.; Dworkin, Shari L.; Cohen, Craig R.; Bukusi, Elizabeth A. (2014). “She mixes her business”: HIV transmission and acquisition risks among female migrants in western Kenya. Social Science & Medicine102, 146-156.

Ellis, A. (2007). Gender and Economic Growth in Kenya: Unleashing the Power of Women. Washington, DC: World Bank.

Engendering Development: Through Gender Equality in Rights, Resources, and Voice. (2001). Washington, D.C: World Bank.

Gross, G., & Tyring, S. (2011). Sexually Transmitted Infections and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Heidelbergh: Springer Verlag.

Mugoya, George C.T.; Ernst, Kacey (2014). Gender differences in HIV-related stigma in Kenya. AIDS Care26(2), 206-213.

Okal, Jerry; Luchters, Stanley; Geibel, Scott; Chersich, Matthew F.; Lango, Daniel; Temmerman, Marleen (2009). Social context, sexual risk perceptions and stigma: HIV vulnerability among male sex workers in Mombasa, Kenya. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 11(8), 811-826.

UNAIDS/WHO (2003). A History of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic with Emphasis on Africa. Geneva: UNAIDS.