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AIDS Info - Medical Application Appraisal

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Just about two decades ago, HIV/AIDS pandemic was the only thing that is mentioned in social media (Gus “Introduction to HIV/AIDS”). Proved to be originally from Sub Saharan Africa (S.S Africa) region, HIV/AIDS has spread throughout not only the S.S. Africa, but it eventually becomes the global disaster in the late 20th century.

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In the 1980s the National Institutes of Health (NIH1) faced an unprecedented challenge in responding to the epidemic of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), modern biology's first pandemic of a new, deadly infectious disease

Once the magnitude of the epidemic became clear-especially once HIV was identified as the causal agent-NIH was given the mandate and resources to develop a large, multifaceted AIDS research program to understand the virus's pathogenesis, discover and test therapies, and develop prevention strategies and a vaccine. Research supported and conducted by NIH has led to rapid increases in basic knowledge about HIV and its replication, the molecular and behavioral aspects of transmission, the human immune response to HIV infection, and the clinical course of AIDS. Researchers have discovered and developed some partially effective therapies, and recent advances in vaccine research have convinced many scientists that an effective vaccine may someday be available.

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Risk perception is shaped by social tensions, and cultural, political, and economic biases (Douglas 1985)

It is important to understand the different contexts in which risk is perceived and the complex system of beliefs, values, and ideals that shape risk perception (Nelkin 1989). There are several other factors that influence risk perception, including locus of control, the type of risk posed by the threat, and the time interval involved in evaluating the risk. For example, people tend to underestimate risks that they perceive to be under their control, risks associated with a familiar situation, and low probability events (Douglas 1985). People have difficulty accepting estimates of a risk that is involuntary, uncertain, unfamiliar, and potentially catastrophic (Fischoff 1987). The epidemic caused by HIV in the blood supply illustrates these patterns of perception and behavior with respect to risk. Meanwhile, however, the epidemic continues to grow and spread to new areas and populations, trends that argue for a well-planned, well-organized long-term research program leading to the control and eventual eradication of the disease.

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In the end, every AIDS prevention program funded by a foundation is an experiment. It would seem wasteful to disregard the potential knowledge to be gained from such experience. Without evaluation, each program is a monumental gamble; if an ineffectual program is continued or emulated by others, then it has the potential of doing harm rather than good

Evaluation is first a management tool for strategic planning and intervention.

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Douglas, M. Risk Acceptability According to the Social Sciences. Russell Sage Foundation, New York; 1985.

Fischoff, B. Treating the Public with Risk Communications: A Public Health Perspective. Science, Technology and Human Values, vol. 12 ; 1987.

Fischoff, B., et al. Acceptable Risk. 1981.

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