System/Ecology of Topic
Since the start of the AIDS epidemic, researchers have always drawn an extricable relationship between HIV/AIDS and drug use (Wiseman & Glover, 2012). This relationship stems from the heightened risk of contracting, or transmitting, the virus when people are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Researchers have also argued that education plays a role in influencing the transmission of HIV among drug users as a vulnerable group. This statement emanates from studies, which have shown that high education levels among drug users could lead to fewer cases of infection (Wiseman & Glover, 2012). Indeed, years of research have proven that accurate information on health risks, shares a negative linear relationship with rates of HIV infection among drug users.
Statement of the Problem
Many researchers have studied the relationship between HIV/AIDS and education (Wiseman & Glover, 2012). However, most of their studies have only investigated this relationship within the general population, without a specific focus on vulnerable groups, such as drug and alcohol users. This paper is a research proposal to fill this research gap by investigating the relationship between HIV/AIDS and education levels among drug and alcohol users.
How does education influence HIV transmission levels among alcohol and drug users?
Education has a neutral influence on HIV transmission among alcohol and drug users.
High education levels decrease HIV transmission among alcohol and drug users.
Data Analysis Technique
My choice of data analysis is influenced by the type of data gathered (quantitative), the possibility of data pairing, the possibility of having parametric data, and the purpose of a study (to find correlations). I would analyze data in the proposed study using a statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS) tool. The main motivation for using this statistical analysis tool is the minimal error associated with its use, its application of graphical methods of data analysis, and its easy data management methods.
Dependent and Independent Variable
The proposed study would evaluate HIV transmission rates against varying education levels. The independent and dependent variables are as below
- Dependent Variable: HIV transmission
- Independent Variable: Education levels
How Research Topic Could Contribute To Social Change
HIV/AIDS does not have a known cure or immune. However, its catastrophic effects on the human body make it a public health concern. Decades of research have shown that the best chance of managing the disease is preventing its spread (Wiseman & Glover, 2012). However, doing so requires a good understanding of the causative agents of transmission, such as drug use or education levels. Such information would help in developing public health interventions that meet the needs of certain demographics and vulnerable groups (Hasnain, Menon, Ferrans, & Szalacha, 2014). The findings of the proposed study would help to do so by providing vital information to public health professionals who could use them to develop effective health programs for preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS among drug users. Improving our understanding of the influence of education on the behavioral patterns of drug and alcohol abusers, that make them vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, would help in developing appropriate public health interventions for disease control and prevention.
Ethical Concerns That Research Should Have Considered
Research studies that focus on AIDS often have several ethical issues. Muthuswamy (2005) says some ethical issues are informed consent, community consultation, standards of care, privacy concerns, and confidentiality issues. The ethical issues in the proposed study would mainly focus on the divergence of medical information, such as people’s HIV status, informed consent, and privacy/confidentiality issues (concerning drug use and alcohol abuse among subjects). The researcher should guarantee the participants that there would not be any ethical breach across any of the above-mentioned fronts.
How Ethical Issues Could Impact Ethical Board Approval
All credible research studies require some type of ethical approval. Usually, academicians require the approval of ethics committees. In the US, they require approval from ethical institutions (BMJ Publishing Group Ltd., 2015). The ethical issues relating to the proposed study also require ethical approval. They could imply that the participants sign an informed consent before the research starts. The ethics board could also require a written submission of how researchers would consider and justify the moral basis of their work (Whaley & Davis, 2007). Ethical review committees could also request that the researchers prove that they give explanatory information to participants to understand the study and their roles and duties in it. The ethical review board could also judge whether the research is morally justifiable, or not, by investigating how much it deviates from the current “normal,” the burden imposed on the participants, the risks posed to the participants, the benefits that may accrue to the participants (or others), and the potential benefits to the society. These factors explain how the ethical issues in the proposed study would affect the actions of the ethical approval board.
Literacy Concerns that the Research May Pose
Availability of Information
People’s ability to make sound health decisions depends on the availability of information surrounding a health issue. Adversely, poor access to health information could lead people to make unsound health decisions and hinder them from analyzing their behavioral decisions, or their effects on their health (Baumann, DomenechRodrÍGuez, & Parra-Cardona, 2011). For example, the misinformation that HIV/AIDS is a disease that mostly affects homosexuals could lead to the spread of the disease. Adequate access to information is an important attribute for improving the reasoning of drug and alcohol abusers about HIV transmission because varying education levels are likely to construct the reality of HIV/AIDS differently for every person involved. For example, Wiseman and Glover (2012) say varying education levels dictate how people underestimate or overestimate, the risk of infection through casual contact because people of low education status are likely to overestimate the risk of contact, while those with higher education levels are bound to be less likely to do so. Comprehensively, access to information is a literacy concern that could affect the proposed research.
People’s ability to change their health behaviors depends on how well they understand health information. Cognitive abilities are at the center of health literacy studies because people with strong cognitive abilities have a better understanding of health information than those who do not have the same capabilities (Wiseman & Glover, 2012). The introduction of partly accurate information in Africa, among educated populations, in the early 1990s, showed that the people had strong cognitive abilities to differentiate useful information from misconceptions because there was a reduction in the rate of HIV infection (Wiseman & Glover, 2012). People’s cognitive abilities moderate the motivation to change social and cultural behaviors that affect HIV transmission, suggesting that cognitive ability is a literacy concern that could influence the proposed research.
Baumann, A., DomenechRodrÍGuez, M., & Parra-Cardona, J. R. (2011). Community- Based Applied Research with Latino Immigrant Families: Informing Practice and Research According to Ethical and Social Justice Principles. Family Process, 50(2), 132-148.
BMJ Publishing Group Ltd. (2015). Ethics Approval of Research. Web.
Hasnain, M., Menon, U., Ferrans, C. E., &Szalacha, L. (2014). Breast Cancer Screening Practices among First-Generation Immigrant Muslim Women. Journal of Women’s Health, 23(7), 602–612.
Muthuswamy, V. (2005). Ethical issues in HIV/AIDS Research. Indian J Med Res., 121(4), 601-10.
Whaley, A. L., & Davis, K. E. (2007). Cultural competence and evidence-based practice in mental health services: A complementary perspective. American Psychologist, 62(6), 563-574.
Wiseman, A., & Glover, R. (2012). The Impact of HIV/AIDS on Education Worldwide (International Perspectives on Education and Society. London, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.