HIV/AIDS is worldwide pandemic that has affected the health status of many people. Intuitively, Africa is one of the regions, which experience an increase in HIV infections especially when compared to the developed countries. Authentically, the major problem that hinders health development and the fight against HIV/AIDS is cultural practices.
The cultural identity of each community determines the reception of the individual towards treatment or social behavior. Therefore, the next discussion analyses the issue of HIV/AIDS in a multicultural environment especially among Africans and relates the problem to PEN-3 model factors of cultural identity.
Brief overview of HIV/AIDS among Africans
Statistically, 70% of HIV/AIDS infections occur in Sub-Saharan Africa (UNAIDS, 2002). The high percentage implies that increased level of infections not only lie within reckless sexual behavior but also within the diverse cultural practices in the region (U.S Department of Health and Human services office of Minority Health, n.d, par.1).
Consequently, the high death rates resulting from HIV/AIDS in Africa hinders the fight against the pandemic all over the world. More over, the high rate of infections negatively affects the social and economic development in the region.
PEN-3 model domains: Relationship and expectation
In most communities in Africa, the prevention of HIV/AIDS lies within the cultural practices. More over, when analyzed within the PEN-3 model domains, the problem of HIV/AIDS in Africa is likely to decline. For example, the first domain is relationship and expectation, which evaluates the contribution of friends and relatives on the fight against the disease.
Each community has different beliefs and values, which affect the perception of an individual (Airhihenbuwa & Webster, 2004, p. 7). Through nurturing and guidance of the individual, he/she should make better decisions, which maintain better health status. Furthermore, those individuals with resources should assist everyone to access drugs and other health care facilities.
Beside, practicing cultural competence, Africans should only practice a culture that affects positively their health status. In addition, values and beliefs practiced should not hinder good health especially among the sick individuals.
On the other hand, the rules/beliefs, which relate to gender, economic status, spirituality and sexuality, should ensure that none hinders the promotion of good health status. Cultural empowerment should be in line with reducing new HIV infections and promoting health care and support among the infected individuals. Therefore, the social and behavioral practices, which promote good health care among individuals, should coexist within communities.
Apart from cultural empowerment, cultural identity is a crucial factor because it focuses on aspects such as family, individual perception and neighborhood (Airhihenbuwa & Webster, 2004, p. 7). The family should consider the eating culture, communication and sexual education as actions, which lie in hand with good health. Management of HIV/AIDS goes in hand with the dietary patterns of the affected individual.
Therefore, a culture that negatively affects the intake of a balanced diet and drugs should not exist. An individual who has knowledge on HIV/AIDS is likely to learn about prevent measures than an ignorant one. Authentically, the familiarization with the health issues within the local languages may motivate an individual to learn about the disease.
In conclusion, the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa should lie parallel with the eradication of cultural practices, which hinder promotion of good health in the region. Cultural identity, cultural empowerment and a close monitor of the relationship within communities will assist in reducing new infections. Therefore, through the application of the PEN-3 model, HIV/AIDS in Africa will decline.
Airhihenbuwa, C. & Webster, J.D. (2004). Culture and African Contexts of HIV/AIDS
Prevention, Care and Support. Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS Research Alliance, 1. 4-8
UNAIDS (2002). Report on the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. Retrieved from http:www.data.unaids.org/pub
U.S Department of Health and Human services office of Minority Health (n.d). HIV/AIDS Data/Statistics. Retrieved from http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/browse.aspx?lvl=3&lvlid=70