- June 14, 2020
United States Military and HIV Policy
UnitedStates Military and HIV Policy
TheAIDS epidemic has moved the Department of Defense into establishingnew policies for recruitment and retention. The new policies haveresulted in mandatory HIV testing, the proper administration ofHIV/AIDS infected personnel, and at-all-level HIV preventionprograms. The Government ensures that infected recruits do not jointhe military, a direct mechanism towards curbing the spread of thevirus. Active testing of military personnel ensures that theservicemen not only remain healthy but also produce quality serviceto the country. The Government also administers the lives of suchinfected individuals to make sure that they do not spread the virusto other healthy people. The administration includes directives suchas mandatory disclosure of a person’s HIV status to his or herpartner. The HIV policy also provides for enough education forindividuals on ways of living a healthy and infection-free life. Thevirus has caused the Department of Defense to establish newprocedures for recruitment and retention. The new policies haveresulted in mandatory HIV testing, special administration of HIV/AIDSinfected personnel, and HIV prevention programs. This paper willdiscuss the various measures taken by the United States military tocurbing and reducing the number of infected personnel in the service.
Therise in the number of new incidences of HIV/AIDS in the United Statesprompted the American Government to include a mandatory testing ofall military recruits. The policy transpires in the wake of drasticincreases in the rate of infections across the United States. Aninfected recruit would have to forfeit their chance of joining theactive military. Such move has since yielded tremendous results, asit has efficiently prevented an increase in the number of infectedmilitary officials. The policy has established a direct mechanism tothwart increases in the number of HIV incidences in the military. Ina bid to have an updated HIV data, the military has developed apolicy, which ensures that all active military personnel undergoes anHIV test twice a year. Besides, all military reservist is required totake an HIV test biannually, a move that seeks to ensure that allmilitary personnel HIV data is up to date. However, the policy doesnot disqualify HIV-positive soldiers from continuing in the service(Beder,“Caringfor the Military”).The infected personnel are allowed to continue working in the serviceuntil doctors advise otherwise. The continued HIV testing has sincebeen able to realize at least 90% of new infections in the militaryevery year since the year 2012. The tests have also indicated thatmajority of the new infections are observed from the non-Hispanicblack communities. The newly-infected individuals, most of themreported having contracted the virus through unprotected sexualintercourse. Same-sex marriage has also been a major factor towardsinfluencing the spread of the disease among the military personnel.HIV testing has since been essential in ensuring a low rate of newHIV infections in the military, as it provides a channel to offermedical care and educate the infected individuals.
HIV-positivemilitary personnel receive special treatment in an attempt to ensureconsistent service and quality in the military. Despite the fact thatthe military HIV policy does not prevent its member from continuingservice, infected personnel is usually faced with stigmatization anddiscrimination, which usually make them opt out of service.HIV-infected personnel are faced with various challenges andrestrictions. Usually, they are not eligible to go on an overseamilitary mission. In the year 2012, the American Government repealeda policy that previously prevented infected individuals from servingoverseas. Since then, there is yet to be a posting of infectedindividuals overseas. Such treatment owes to the fact that members ofthe armed forces who operate overseas are usually at a very high riskof contracting the disease. Such persons usually move out of thecountry without their families, a move that makes them want to havesex with different persons during service overseas. Brundage (n.d),also asserts that between the year 1990 and 2013, 25 percent of mendiagnosed with HIV eventually left service within the first one and ahalf year of diagnosis (Brundage 8). Besides, infected individualsoften fail to secure promotions and other additional militaryprivileges. Such move affects not only the persons` personal life inthe military but also the quality of service and level of dedication.The individuals eventually end up performing dismally, a conditionthat negatively affects the overall performance of the Americanmilitary. The HIV policy also demands infected individuals shouldinform their sexual partners of their HIV status before engaging inany sexual act. The policy also requires that infected personnelshould always use protection during sexual intercourse. Breach of thepolicy by any military personnel is subject to criminal prosecutionas stipulated in the law. Despite the measures put in place to curbthe spread of the disease, in most cases, they have had some rathernegative impacts upon the infected individuals.
Eventhough HIV screening could be of importance towards preventing thespread of the virus, educating the personnel on ways to avoidingcontracting the infection is of great significance. There is the needto ensure that the soldiers live healthily, in their quest to achievetheir service duties. The American military has put up variousregulations that the military personnel is supposed to abide by. Themilitary personnel receive educative information about HIV, waysthrough which the virus spreads, how to protect themselves, and howto live positively with the virus in cases where one is alreadyinfected. The education also involves ways of using condoms togetherwith means of suggesting safe sex. The policy also has proper meansof ensuring reliable service in cases of disaster. The Americanmilitary goes ahead to provides condoms to the army officials to curbthe spread of the virus. The policy also includes tips for infectedindividuals on how to prevent the spread of the virus to others. Themilitary has also devised ways to offer preferential treatment, andreduce stigmatization of infected personnel. Enough knowledge andunderstanding of the virus is key to preventing the spread andeventual rise of the number of infected individuals in thedepartment. The American Government has since been able to reducecases of new HIV infection in the military (Tzengetal.2)
Therise in the rates of HIV infections in the late 1990s made theAmerican Government stipulate various policies and regulations tocombat the spread of the disease in the military. Since then, theGovernment has been able to provide testing and counseling programsto recruits and members of the armed forces during their years inmilitary service. The Government’s administration policies havealso been efficient in dealing with the spread of the virus.Moreover, effective education mechanisms have also been crucial inthe quest to handle the spread of HIV.
Beder,Joan, ed. Caringfor the Military: A Guide for Helping Professionals.Routledge, 2016.
Brundage,J.F. “Durations of military service after diagnoses of HIV-1infections among active component members of the U.S. Armed Forces,1990-2013.” MSMR.2005
Tzeng,Jeff S., et al. "Epidemiology of sexually transmitted infectionsamong Human Immunodeficiency Virus positive United States militarypersonnel." Journalof sexually transmitted diseases 2013(2013).