OtherPapers.com - Other Term Papers and Free Essays

Urban Studies Final Paper Hepatitis B

Essay by   •  September 2, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,288 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,644 Views

Essay Preview: Urban Studies Final Paper Hepatitis B

Report this essay
Page 1 of 6

Final Essay

It is clear that various illnesses have not only medical stressors but, also a social, economic and moral impact. HIV/AIDS can have devastating consequences on affected individuals and their support systems. It is a stigmatized illness and people who suffer from this illness are likely to be discriminated against by people in society as well as institutions. Aids/HIV was typically associated with the gay community who did not practice safe sex and had various partners, and drug addicted individuals. Hence, many adopted an attitude that an illness such as this is created by reckless individuals.

During the 1970's and the 1980's, Hepatitis B was a major concern in the United States. The disease seemed easily spreadable by individuals in what seemed to be countless ways. People can contract Hepatitis B by even touching someone's blood, sharing a cup with another individual or just by being exposed to the same surface that an HB carrier was in contact with.

One group in particular that is at risk of contracting and spreading the infection are the health care professional such as doctors, interns, dentists, surgeons and nurses. A dentist, for example, who is Hepatitis B carrier has a chance of passing on the disease to a patient. Hospital administrations and other agencies immediately recognized the potential danger of the above at risk population. They wanted to "down play" the danger of the risk of infection to spear themselves lawsuits and to avoid public panic. Public panic has the potential of causing havoc in the professional field. Hence, it was falsely concluded that health care workers carriers were not a major source of infection.

In order to find a solution to a problem one has to fully investigate and understand what is the source of the problem. Acknowledging that a problem does exist is crucial for change to occur. Research efforts to study the relationship between infected health care workers and the transmission of the disease was highly opposed and dismissed by major physicians' organizations. In addition, government policies encouraged voluntary testing with minimal intervention even when a patient was infected by Hepatitis B.

Health care professionals made a decision to protect their profession by making Hepatitis B a "silent epidemic." Most Americans were not aware of the epidemic and how easily it can be spread. The medical professionals concluded that in order to prevent the spread of Hepatitis B one needs to practice good hygiene such as hand washing, use of gloves and face masks. However, there were no policies put in place to enforce good hygiene. The infection control departments for example, found that patient to patient infections was mainly caused by doctors not washing their hands after each patient. In the 1970's and 1980's most educated people were not aware of the difference between Hepatitis B and Hepatitis A.

By making Hepatitis B a silent epidemic and "down playing" the risk of infection, there were no policies put in place and no institutions to go to where individuals can learn if they are infected or not. Most carriers were accidently discovered through medical testing. It is almost impossible to overcome a problem without having research done and they were hardly any participants.

In 1982 a vaccine provided the means to stop new cases of Hepatitis B. Despite of this, in the mid 1980's the epidemic continued and cases increased. Homosexuals were the largest at risk group. The pharmaceutical companies immediately saw the vaccine as an opportunity to make a substantial profit by making the price of the vaccine high. They had complete control over the prices of the vaccine. The epidemic continued because the health professionals continued to deny that Hepatitis B was a national problem. In addition, for many individuals



Download as:   txt (7.6 Kb)   pdf (102.1 Kb)   docx (11.5 Kb)  
Continue for 5 more pages »
Only available on OtherPapers.com