Community Health

I chose to reflect on community health. I currently am serving in the community health field and that is why I chose this as my topic. Currently, I am an HIV counselor at Olin Health Center. My job is to provide anonymous HIV testing to Michigan State University’s student population, as well as, faculty and surrounding residents of East Lansing. There are three parts to my job, which I think reflect my own personal interests of teaching others how to limit HIV exposure, as well as, help them evaluate what changes they may be able to make in their lives so they do not need to be in my office more than just for regular once a year or so baseline tests. The first part is pre-education on HIV and the testing process. It is important to me that my patients understand that there are more than one way to contract HIV. It is also important that they realize that people can survive and outlive HIV in today’s American Society. Also this pre-education allows the person to evaluate what risks they are putting themselves at, as well as, how long HIV can stay undetected by tests because these tests detect the antibodies, not the actual virus. The patient then goes to a blood draw. Lastly, I review the risk reduction plan with the patient a week later, as well as, give the test results. Negatives are the usual test result; MSU has only about 2 positive tests a year (ball park range). Personally, It is important to me that people in our community can think about the risks they may be putting on themselves, be it, having sex without a condom, having multiple sexual partners, or even not knowing their current partner’s HIV/ STD status.

As a provider myself, who currently does not have a medical anthropology degree or relation, I think taking an anthropological viewpoint is important. Mainly, I agree with the argument presented in the video “Medical Anthropology” by the Trivial Jazzman Scholar. In the video, the presenter recounts on multiple occasions where Western Medicine was used to treat other culture’s problems. What the treatment team forgot to answer was if the provided treatment was culturally acceptable with the patient population at hand, shown in the presenter’s idea of building a ply-wood shower in a usual mud- dirt brick village. The people did not accept the shower because it was not culturally accepted. As in community health, as seen in my HIV practice, there are many different populations living in even the smallest communities. We have to take into consideration if the treatment is culturally accepted, otherwise the patient will not follow it.

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