Sociology Essay

In this 13-page sociology essay, the topic was on HIV/AIDS and mental health diagnosis. To explore different parts of the essay, a table of contents has been provided. The reason for sharing this sample essay is to demonstrate to you the kind of work we deliver. This sample paper is not to be found anywhere on the Internet. Our writers have prepared it as a sample exclusively for demonstration purposes. To hire one of our sociology writers to prepare a similar kind of assignment, PLACE ORDER.

HIV AIDS and Mental Health Diagnosis



Introduction. 2

Diversity, culture and cultural competencies among human service providers. 3

Psychological preparation for career development in social work. 8

Theories and concepts of management as applied by various human service providers. 10

Analysis and comparison of effect of different theories of management on Human Service organizations. 13

Conclusion. 16

References. 16


One of the most serious problems that HIV/AIDS patients face is vulnerability to mental disorders and substance abuse. In addition to invading the body and the subsequent biological effects, the HIV virus exposes the infected individuals to profound social consequences. Individuals who find out that they have been infected with the virus face numerous emotional and mental problems. These problems eventually destabilize the individual’s mental status. Some of the main problems include loss of self-esteem and failure to appreciate the meaning of life. In such a situation of mental instability, the individual becomes exposed to substance abuse and risky criminal and sexual behaviors. This leads to a rapid deterioration of all aspects of the individual’s life (Loue, 2013).

This paper provides a framework that can act as an effective guide for the HIV/AIDS mental health delivery sector. The thesis of this paper is that an effective treatment plan should be based on three core components; namely biological, psychological, and social components. These components should always be put into consideration at all stages in the process of treating the HIV/AIDS patient. By adhering to these components, it becomes easy for the goal of efficiency to be achieved as far as the diagnosis of HIV/AIDS and mental health is concerned.


In an effort to relate this three-pronged approach to practice, this paper put a lot of emphasis on the applications of various theoretical approaches relating to the issue. It also highlights aspects of cultural awareness, and comparisons of different organizations. These perspectives are analyzed with close reference to historical and contemporary issues affecting various contemporary Human Services organizations that engage in HIV/AIDS and mental health diagnosis.

The assumption made at the outset is that it is imperative for previous issues relating to HIV/AIDS and mental health diagnosis to be properly understood. It is on the basis of this understanding that new ideas can be generated. In this regard, the best approach should involve an in-depth analysis of the diagnosis-related practices adopted by previous healthcare service providers.

The relationship between theory and practice inevitably touches on the practice of social work as a profession and the available career opportunities. This career debate is critical because social workers are constantly in contact with HIV patients. To achieve thoroughness in highlighting biological, psychological, and social components, this paper focuses on two critical areas; namely the practice of social work as a profession, and introduction to aspects of professional assistance. Within this framework, an effective guide is provided as a basis for the improvement in the delivery of diagnosis for HIV/AIDS and mental health.

Diversity, culture and cultural competencies among human service providers

HIV treatment practitioners always have a critical role to play in contributing to reliability in HIV/AIDS and mental health diagnosis. Apart from possessing the relevant professional skills and knowledge, these practitioners should also be dedicated to their careers. Knox & Sparks (1998) argue that without dedication, it is extremely difficult for them to have an in-depth understanding of and sensitivity to individual diversity. In addition to individual diversity, the practitioners need to have an in-depth understanding of the cultures and subcultures of different groups. These levels of awareness should be analyzed in the context of all the biological, social, and biological effects of HIV infection and the resulting mental instability on the daily life of the patient (Loue, 2013).

According to Knox & Sparks (1998), the task of counseling people infected with HIV/AIDS is extremely challenging. These challenges normally increase whenever the service population is drawn from different cultures. Although many excellent resources and materials are available for use in the analysis of scientific and clinical aspects of HIV/AIDS, there is scarcity of information regarding counseling to individuals who originate from diverse cultural settings (Knox & Sparks, 1998).

Sometimes mental health providers tend to be unaware of even the most basic principles of service delivery in a cross-cultural environment. Such providers lack the ability to define the significance of the cultural factor in counseling. Although cultural variations may exist, some values tend to be common to certain patient populations. Knox & Sparks (1998) carried out a study of Latino and African-American populations with specific focus being on community mental health centers (CMHCs). The study also analyzed other mental health programs in the public sector. In this analysis, the main target group comprised of graduate and undergraduate students specializing in psychology, mental health nursing, social work, psychiatry, public health, and other fields related to mental health and HIV/AIDS diagnosis. The objective was to enable these individuals to improve their ability to provide care for people affected by HIV/AIDS.

One of the most important aspects of the study by Knox & Sparks (1998) is that it highlights the unique contributions that mental health workers in the community can make to people affected by HIV by providing services relating to prevention and treatment. The authors also acknowledge that since the discovery of HIV/AIDS, a lot has been learnt relating to the disease and the process of treating it. Medical practitioners acknowledge that HIV-infected people tend to experience numerous psychological problems that may necessitate mental health treatment. In some cases, this treatment may need to be extended to family members, friends, and even healthcare practitioners. In many previous studies, awareness has also been raised regarding the need to provide mental health interventions to persons who are at risk of HIV infection because of their lifestyles.

In existing literature, it has already been established that mental healthcare providers should interact with their patients in a respectful manner (Hughson & Carter, 2012). They should also portray openness and respect for the individuals’ values and beliefs. This means that prejudgments and criticisms should always be avoided. Such criticisms and prejudgments only hinder the trust-building process. Moreover, it may compromise the therapeutic process aimed at provide interventions aimed at avoiding further damage.

HIV/AIDS is interpreted in different ways by different families, communities, and cultures (Hughson & Carter (2012). Culture governs how individuals lead their lives and the way they perceive various decisions. This is the reason why things are not any different with regard to ideas and perceptions relating to HIV/AIDS.

From a theoretical perspective, various strands of thought have been provided in an attempt to understand the cultural underpinnings of mental health care provided to individuals affected by HIV/AIDS. Most of these theories address the causes of mental health problems for HIV/AIDS patients. The most common theories in this regard include behavioral, psychodynamic, cognitive, humanistic/existential, and biological theories (Uys & Middleton, 2004).

In the behavioral theory, emphasis is largely on the concept of reinforcement (Uys & Middleton, 2004). For example, according to this theory, many people infected with HIV/AIDS suffer from depression because of reduction in the level of positive reinforcement. Such people face reduced social skill. They also tend to have access to fewer opportunities for positive reinforcement. These and many other environmental constraints greatly contribute to depression. Behaviorists put emphasis on not only the various events that lead to depression but also the cognitive process through which contributions about these events are made.

For other scholars, focus is on the psychodynamic theory (Patel, 2007; Dhairyawan & Tariq, 2013). In this theory, focus is on the tendency by people to go through the experience of lost love objects. For example, certain childhood experiences may predispose certain people to go through the problem of depression later on life because of frustration. This theory is of great relevance for medical practitioners and social workers who provide counseling services to HIV/AIDS patients. It may enable them get an idea of the person’s cultural and family background. This understanding contributes to success in terms of the interventions adopted.

In contrast, the cognitive approach addresses the various ways in which cognitive distortion or bias of events occurs. The cognitive style may be influenced by early loss experiences though it may end up becoming the primary factor. A person suffering from HIV/AIDS may end up having a negative view of their immediate environment, their lives, and their future. He may infer motives from events, thereby maximizing the effect of negative events and minimizing the effect of positive effects. The individual may also personalize and over-generalize things. Such a negative outlook towards life may deteriorate the mental health of the individual if it is not addressed by a mental health care practitioner.

The humanistic or existential theory addresses the unique phenomenological situation of the individual as a mortal entity with the desire to look for himself as well as to search for meaning in life. Many cultures despise people who have been infected with HIV/AIDS. They associate the disease with immorality and promiscuity. Therefore, individuals who hail from such cultures may feel that their lives have lost meaning and purpose. They subsequently become frustrated with their daily activities, their families, and their careers. This turn of events greatly contributes to the deterioration of all aspects of their wellbeing. The existential approach is of great relevant to the HIV/AIDS context because of the way it takes into account the fundamental values of one’s life in relation to his destiny.

The biological theory adopts a radically different point of view. According to this theory, some people are more biologically predisposed to mental illness following infection with the HIV/AIDS virus. This argument is explained through concepts relating to the functioning of brain neurotransmitters. When an individual goes through an episode of mental instability, the normal functioning of his brain’s neurotransmitters is interfered with. The main weakness of this theory is that it creates no room for an explanation on the impact of environmental events in further reducing the functionality of brain neurotransmitters.

All the aforementioned theories contribute to a greater understanding of the problem of mental health among persons affected by HIV/AIDS. By understanding them, health practitioners and social workers can achieve greater success in the process of diagnosis. To address the incompatibility within the core tenets of these theories, the social work may first have to understand the specific cultural, social, and environments in which the patients live. For example, from a psychodynamic point of view, a person who has recently lost a child may easily become depressed upon learning that he is suffering from HIV/AIDS. From a behavioral viewpoint, a HIV-positive individual who has become socially isolated because of lost relationships may fail to alter the ongoing patterns of reduction in positive reinforcement, thereby increasing the likelihood of being mentally ill. On the other hand, practitioners relying on the cognitive theory may focus mainly on cognitive errors and distortions in their efforts to understand the mental problems the individual may be encountering.

Psychological preparation for career development in social work

Psychological preparation is critical for social workers owing to the nature of their work. It is imperative for social workers to be so flexible as to accommodate diversity in the educational levels of HIV-positive persons affected by mental health problems. Other aspects of diversity for which there is a need for some degree of awareness include class, gender, substance abuse, and physical well-being (Loue, 2013).

In literature, a lot of emphasis is on the sensitivity and competence of the practitioner. These attributes can be successfully achieved through continuous self-reflection. In such a situation, thoughts and statements that are normally associated with judgments are avoided. In an environment of sensitivity, the virtue of tolerance is achieved, thereby creating an excellent environment for the wellbeing of the patient to be addressed. By analyzing mental health problems from the point of view of the client, the social worker can easily succeed in improving service provision as well as enhancing the understanding of the situation of the client.

According to Merson, Black, & Mills (2006), it is imperative for social workers and medical practitioners to adopt a global perspective in promoting a culture of adequate psychological preparation for career development. Such an approach enables them understand various challenges relating to diseases, systems, programs, and programs. It also prepares these professionals for excellence in addressing these challenges. Most of the challenges highlighted by Merson, Black, & Mills (2006) mostly occur in middle- and low-income countries. These challenges include infectious disease, reproductive health, and nutrition. Incidentally, they are closely related to the circumstances of HIV-positive persons and the cultural contexts in which they live.

Patel (2007) also emphasizes the need to focus on middle- and low-income countries in quest for better career development practices in social work. According to Patel (2007), one of the greatest challenges facing these countries is mental health. Unfortunately, this issue has not attracted attention within the global health policy circles (Patel, 2007). In these countries, mental disorders are responsible for 11.1 percent of the overall burden of disease (Patel, 2007). HIV/AIDS is among the leading causes of these mental disorders. Therefore, health practitioners and social workers must have the requisite psychological preparedness in order to succeed in the diagnosis of mental health problems among these HIV/AIDs patients.

One way of achieving this preparedness is by adopting affordable, locally available, interventions in primary care and community settings. The professionals must appreciate that failure by many countries to invest in mental health is a serious problem partly attributed to scarcity of resources. In such an environment, a crucial priority area involves the provision of evidence-based care. Absence of this type of care has led to an increase in the number of chronic conditions as well as a rise in costs of care. To mitigate this worsening situation, the social workers must focus on optimal utilization of human resources, making improvements on the existing programs, and launching campaigns aimed at increasing the level of mental health literacy within the community. Such efforts may not succeed without conscious efforts to address aspects of cultural diversity.


Theories and concepts of management as applied by various human service providers

Aspects of management constitute a critical element in the delivery of healthcare service to persons affected by HIV/AIDS, particularly in the context of mental problems. In all healthcare settings, managers should always ensure that the wellbeing of the patient takes center stage. To put this debate into perspective, it is imperative for an analysis of various theories and concepts relating to healthcare management to be presented in order to provide a proper context for an understanding of the role of human service providers.

Various aspects of management theory come to the fore in efforts by healthcare providers to address the need for mental health services among HIV victims. Failure to address these management issues may lead to a situation where the mental health solutions provided do not correspond to treatments. In such a situation, prudent management practices should be resorted to in order for all patients’ problems to be assessed and addressed by through relevant medication.

The three main theories of healthcare management that various service providers can use include the health belief model, diffusion of health innovations theory, and theory of reasoned action (Miranda & Patel, 2005). The health belief model is based on the notion that decisions relating to health behaviors are influenced by perception of susceptibility to illness, perceived benefits of preventative behavior, perception of severity of disease, and perceived barriers to behaviors leading to the occurrence of the disease (Miranda & Patel, 2005). Awareness of these four factors on the part of management is of critical importance in ensuring that the right preventive and curative interventions are put in place. It is imperative for managers of healthcare institutions that handle HIV patients to understand the various factors that motivate individuals to either seek preventive and curative measures or to avoid them.

In the diffusion of health innovations theory, focus is on the importance of communication in efforts to bring about social change. The element of diffusion is used in reference to the process of communicating an innovation through the appropriate channels among participants within a social system. In this regard, innovative thinking is viewed as a critical factor in bringing about health behavior change.

The diffusion theory recommends that the first stage in the innovation process should be recognition of a certain problem or need. The second stage is the performance of certain aspects of research, both basic and applied, to address the problem. Thirdly, strategies are developed and materials prepared for use in giving shape to the innovative concept in response to the specific needs of the target group. Fourthly, focus shifts to the process of commercializing the innovation. Next, the innovation is diffused and adopted by the target population. Lastly, the innovators must address the consequences arising from the adoption of the innovation.

In contrast, the theory of reasoned action approaches the issue of management from the perspective of people’s ability to exert self-control (Middleton & Leana, 2003). The objective of this theory is to establish a framework for predicting the intention of the individual to engage in a specific behavior. With an understanding of the factors that impede one’s behavioral performance, managers in healthcare settings can succeed in leading their organizations towards the achievement of positive health outcomes. In this theory, managers should determine the behavioral intent of individuals as the primary predictor of behavior.

This theory was tested to predict the intention by young people from England to use condoms as a preventive measure against HIV/AIDS (Merson, Black, & Mills, 2006). In this study, measures of the young people’s past behavior were identified as the best predictors of their intentions (Merson, Black, & Mills, 2006). They also attenuated the various impacts of subjective norms and attitudes (Merson, Black, & Mills, 2006).

Other than these three theories, management theory in healthcare settings where HIV/AIDS and mental health diagnosis needs to be carried out can also be explained through the so-called explanatory models (Middleton & Leana, 2003). The main difference between explanatory models and the aforementioned theories is that the former are designed for use in multicultural environments. One of these models is the meaning-centered approach to negotiations between staff members and patients. Other than enabling medical practitioners and social workers to maintain cultural awareness, the approach also facilitates the process of ensuring that both contemporary and historical issues relating to HIV/AIDS and mental health are addressed.

The explanatory model is also appropriate for designing behavioral interventions in the context of larger populations. In the meaning-centered approach, a lot of focus is on the interactions between patients and various members of staff including physicians. By addressing both historical and contemporary issues, this theory is considered dynamic and susceptible to change based on the illness in question, health information available, and individual  experiences regarding health.


Analysis and comparison of effect of different theories of management on Human Service organizations

Different theories present different suggestions regarding how human service organizations should undergo the task of HIV/AIDS and mental health diagnosis. Each of these suggestions is of great relevance in enabling human service organizations assess the problems of patients and administer appropriate medication. For example, in the case of the use of condoms by young people from England, the health belief model is of utmost relevance. On the basis of this model, the core objective of medical practitioners and other professionals working in human service organizations is to create a perception of susceptibility to infection with the HIV virus.

The practitioners may encourage these young people to create focus groups that enable them share problems that they face in life. Once people with HIV/AIDS come together, they are able to share ideas about how they continue living with the deadly disease. An example of a human service organization that encourages the creation of focus groups is the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK (Myer et al, 2008). Through such focus groups, the young people are able to share social and environmental, psychological, and biological concerns relating to HIV/AIDS and mental health diagnosis.

On the other hand, the diffusion of health innovations theory facilitates client input. One of the human service organizations that continue to adopt the facilitation of client output is the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (Loue, 2013). At CDC, focus on client input facilitation is an ongoing undertaking (Loue, 2013). This approach has in the past enabled CDC to identify certain “risk groups” whose mental health may be severely compromised if they continued being denied preferential treatment in healthcare centers and counseling institutions (Loue, 2013). The same thing may be said regarding the need to carry out an assessment of clients’ needs. Such an assessment can be done through evaluation of services with the aim of identifying a niche in the provision of services. In this paper, the niche identified through analysis of literature and practices of human service organizations comprises of biological, psychological, and social-environmental concerns regarding HIV/AIDS and mental health diagnosis.

Other effects of the aforementioned theories of management include observation of patterns through monitoring of epidemiological data and the tendency to pay attention to anecdotal information. These efforts greatly contribute to the goal of ensuring that improvements are made on the practice of social work as a profession. They also enable social workers to view associated career opportunities from a new perspective. Similarly, the theories assist the practitioners with psychological preparation for  the process of career practitioners, which has in recent years been made arduous by the fact that one must encounter HIV/AIDS patients who also have to suffer from various mental problems.

The theories, if interpreted from a cultural perspective, also shed light on the important of self-assessment in the decision-making process. In this undertaking, one is able to clarify his or her values, gain new problem-solving techniques, and acquire excellent interviewing skills. A good example is that of National Organization for Human Services (NOHS). NOHS was founded in 1975 after professional care providers and legislators perceived the need for improvements in the existing methods of service delivery. The NOHS has already joined hands with the Southern Regional Education Board and National Institute of Mental health in efforts to develop and strengthen programs aimed at human service delivery at bachelor’s, master’s, and even doctoral levels.

Practitioners who are fortunate to go through such programs should be confident of having been psychologically prepared for working in multicultural environments characterized by HIV/AIDS and mental health diagnosis. According to NOHS, the practitioners are also able to carry out self-assessment, clarify their own values vis-à-vis those of their clients, acquire new problem-solving techniques, and gain interviewing skills with the objective being to handle patients based on their values, diversities, and cultural backgrounds.


In conclusion, the discussion presented in this paper affirms the thesis that an effective treatment plan should be based on three core components; namely biological, psychological, and social components. It also confirms the hypothesis that these components should always be put into consideration at all stages in the process of diagnosing mental health problems among HIV/AIDS patients.

Various management theories emphasize the need for self-assessment in efforts to resolve mental health problems from the HIV/AIDS victim’s perspective. Cultural awareness is critical to this success, whereby focus should be on both historical and contemporary issues. Social workers and medical practitioners should first examine the procedures that have historically been followed. They should then observe the emerging contemporary issues in various human service organizations and seek ways of changing these procedures in order to maintain their relevance. Awareness of these aspects is critical for practicing social workers and health practitioners who require psychological preparation before embarking on a career that requires them to interact constantly with mentally ill HIV/AIDS patients.



Dhairyawan, R. & Tariq, S. (2013). Intimate partner violence in women living with HIV attending an inner city clinic in the UK: Prevalence and associated factors. HIV Medicine 14(5), 303-310.

Hughson, G. & Carter, M. (2012). Mental Health. London: NAM publishers.

Knox, M. & Sparks, C. (1998). HIV and community mental healthcare. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Loue, S. (2013). Mental Health Practitioner’s Guide to HIV/AIDS. New York: Springer.

Merson, M., Black, R., & Mills, A. (2006). International public health: Diseases,             programs, systems, and policies. Sudbury: Jones and Bartlett.

Middleton, U. & Leana R. (2003). Mental Health Nursing: A South African Perspective (4th Edition), Cape Town: Middleton and Leana publishers.

Miranda, J. & Patel, V. (2005). Achieving the Millennium Development Goals: Does Mental Health Play a Role? PLoS Med, 2(10), 291-356.

Myer, L., Smit, J., Roux, L., Parker, S., Stein, D., & Seedat, S. (2008). Health care. AIDS Patient Care and STDs, 22(2), 147-158.

Patel, V. (2007). Mental health in low- and middle-income countries. Oxford Journals, 81(1), 81-86.

Uys, L. & Middleton, L. (2004). Mental health nursing: A South African perspective. Cape Town: Juta Publishers.



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