Public health problems

Select one of the Healthy People 2020 objectives and identify how biological risk,
environmental risk, and behavioral risk contribute to family health risks for that objective.
What are the three major public health problems in your community; how does this impact
the health of families?

The Healthy people 2020 is an initiative that aims at promoting health services and
disease prevention through bringing together individuals and agencies to work together so as
realize the numerous goals and objectives set out by the initiative. One of the objectives of the
initiative is to minimize the rate of transmission of HIV among adults and adolescents.
According to a statistics report released in 2006, per 100 persons living with HIV, 4.6 new
transmissions are reported annually. The objective is to minimize this from 4.6 to 3.5
transmissions by the end of 2020. This is to be achieved through adhering to the numerous set up
national programs and a number of enactments such as policies and laws. (In Stanhope & In
Lancaster, 2014, pg 683)
There are number of risks that contribute to family health risks when it comes to the
realization of the objective. These risks range from environmental, behavioral to biological
risks. Behavioral risks are the major factor that contributes to family risks when it comes to the
transmission of HIV. Epidemiological data asserts that behavioral activities such as practicing of
unprotected sex are the main means of HIV transmission in both adults and adolescents. Other
risk behaviors such as sharing of injecting equipments, blood transfusion and breastfeeding of
babies by HIV positive mothers have also been noted as being leading causes of transmission.
These behavioral activities account up to 90% of the new cases of HIV diagnosed every day.

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The biological risks have been found to affect mostly the adolescents. Girls have been the most
vulnerable ones. Before puberty, the exocervix of girls is usually lined with a single layer of
columnar cells which leaves them vulnerable to HIV. In young women, HIV usually remains
asymptomatic and this also increases the risk of transmission since it is unnoticed and involving
in some behavioral activities will lead to the transmission of the disease without noticing.
Environmental risks, although not a major factor, also play a role in this. This usually happens
when injecting or such sharp objects are dumped recklessly. People can come across these
objects, which can be in an accidental manner, and if these objects had come across HIV infected
blood, then there is a possibility of HIV transmission. All these risks can contribute to family
health risks since after one member of the family is infected, then the rest of the members are at a
risk especially if the necessary precautions such as avoiding the sharing of sharp objects and
toothbrushes are not adhered to. (Fan, Conner & Villarreal, 2011, pg 122)
My community, just like many other communities, faces some public health problems.
Firstly, most health facilities around have poor infrastructures and limited resources. This has
greatly hindered families from accessing quality healthcare for example people who need
chemotherapy treatment and x-ray services have to wait for long periods of time before
accessing these services. Secondly, there is limited awareness when it comes to certain diseases
such as the sexually transmitted diseases and nutritional related diseases. With this limited
awareness, most families are left at a high risk of contracting such diseases. Lastly, the cost of
treatment in most health facilities is usually very costly and since my community is majorly
made up of low class members of the socio-economic status, this has greatly affected the health
of most families. The costly treatment, leads to many people seeking for the rather cheap over-

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the-counter treatment. This has led to an increased number of health-related deaths. (Finkel,
2011, pg 12)

References

Fan, H., Conner, R. F., & Villarreal, L. P. (2011). AIDS: Science and society. Sudbury,
Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
Finkel, M. L. (2011). Public health in the 21st century. Santa Barbara, Calif: Praeger.
In Stanhope, M., & In Lancaster, J. (2014). Public health nursing: Population-centered
health care in the community.

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