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AIDS has prompted schools in the United States to change their nursing programs. These developments have led to increased concerns about the risk of AIDS in schools, while at the same time creating a stigma for HIV/AIDS and hence the need to improve the benefits of AIDS education.
According to Branson et al, nursing is the plurality of healthcare workers in America who are at the forefront of health treatment and education. The healthcare sector is responsible for the provision of healthcare and prevention steps to manage AIDS. "Despite the fact that there are relatively small, the risks are compounded by staff reductions and shortages in the wake of the epidemic that has seen the health services restructuring in the US and the rise in the number of people with AIDS, that has added a new dimension to the increase in the occupational risk.
The increasing number of students with AIDS in colleges and the associated social stigma are responsible for generating fear and a heightened perception of the infection risk in the educational setting considering the environment. While a similar level of concern may not be expressed in relation to sexual risk, there is a risk of infection due to personal behavior or life circumstances.
In fulfillment of their role as advocates for the establishment of a safer work environment and socioeconomic welfare of nursing personnel and the National Nurses Associations is responsible for ensuring that all the stakeholders take responsibility for the protection of students from acquiring AIDS. It is important to ensure that the appropriate care, counseling and environmental policies and suitable work assignments is instituted (Branson et al).
The understanding of the risk and infection and preventive measures is necessary for the establishment of safe studying environment. The most likely means of transmission of blood borne pathogens to college students is through sexual intercourse. According to the American Nurses Association, more than 80% of sexual encounters injuries can be prevented with safe practices.
The major pathogen with which the health care providers come into contact on a constant basis is HIV. Branson et al state that the infection is characterized by a chronic carrier stage known as a silent epidemic. HIV is majorly transmitted through unprotected sexual contact but under the rare circumstances that can be transmitted in the healthcare settings through infection in the blood and body fluids as well as the unprotected sexual contact.
The ethical and moral issues in HIV/AIDS, nursing personnel may have misconceptions of the HIV/AIDS and the risk that interfere with their ability to provide quality care. However, they have a moral and ethical responsibility to care for all the people for with or without HIV/AIDS or other diseases. According to the Code of Ethics for Nurses affirms, the primary responsibility of the nurses is to the people who require nursing care.
Under particular circumstances, HIV and other blood borne infections can be transmitted in the school settings from person to person or from the nursing personnel to patients through safe injection and non-sterilized equipment, poor infection and control techniques or lacking testing in donor blood.
Healthcare workers don’t pose a serious risk of HIV infections to patients, provided they adhere to basic principles of universal precautions. Despite the fact that rare possibility is ethically responsible for HIV positive nursing personnel that must be voluntarily withdrawn from performing exposure prone and invasive procedures and avoid putting patients at risk. The ethical principles of doing good and doing no harm must be upheld on a constant basis.
With the public’s growing awareness but persistent fear of HIV/AIDS, college students may ask nursing personnel about their HIV status, thus raising privacy issues, confidentiality, and human rights. HIV-positive health care workers, like other people living with HIV/AIDS are entitled to privacy and confidentiality of personal information.
The American National Association, developed position statements and guidelines to enable the nurses to deal with the ethical dilemma and dissemination of information concerning the rights and responsibilities of nursing personnel. As a general guideline, the respective country code of ethics and regulations regarding disclosure of personal information to clients should be applied. The education of health care providers and the mangers vital in imparting knowledge as well as changing the healthcare attitudes in order to risk reduction.
The education of the healthcare practices to students should include the assessment of risk assessment and risk reduction methods. The most powerful tool for the reduction of the occupation and personal risk of HIV infection that is health education and change in behavior. Nurses are well placed in the application of the tool. Education is also important in combatting discrimination and negative attitudes towards people living with AIDS.
Nursing personnel are thus educated on; how HIV is transmitted and how to practice safe sex. They are also trained on the application various universal precautions and the safe injection practices. There is also the need to use safer methods and procedures to avoid the sharing of sharp objects and the how to contain them and dispose of them. Nurses should be finally trained on the methods of reducing transmission in the sexual relations and intravenous drugs.
Mongkuo et al states that the growing rate of the HIV epidemic in colleges, has made the management feel powerless in protecting themselves from experience and anxiety for the fear of being infected and preventing the social stigma attached to HIV. The extent of fear is often disproportionate to the actual risk involved and the peer support system with a network of concerned colleagues of HIV positive nurses willing to share experiences have the ability to deal with the vulnerability facing some of the fears and prejudice involved.
Accurate reporting and recording of documentation of need stick injuries, splashes and other exposures and their consequences on the healthcare workers is necessary as it assists in the provision of evidence in bringing out an accurate picture of the problem.
The risks relation to the personal behavior and the potential of acquiring HIV transmission within the college setting requires a balanced approach to the perception of risk and reaction of this particular risk. Despite the fact that there is stigma attached with AIDS, there may be some conditions that interfere with the quality of counselling offered. Nonetheless, the prevention of HIV in the school setting is a shared responsibility between various stakeholders in the colleges and the entire healthcare industry.
Branson, Bernard M., et al. ""Revised recommendations for HIV testing of adults, adolescents, and pregnant women in health-care settings."" MMWR Recomm Rep 55. RR-14 (2006): 1-17.
Mongkuo, Maurice Y., Richard J. Mushi, and Rollinda Thomas. ""Perception of HIV/AIDS and socio-cognitive determinants of safe sex practices among college students attending a historically black college and university in the United States of America."" Journal of AIDS and HIV Research 2.3 (2010): 032-047.
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