Professional Role of Social Workers
While many challenges remain in the global battle against HIV/AIDS, there are also signs of hope. Many more people await diagnosis or treatment, but effective, affordable medications can be made available. The rapid increase in funds dedicated to the fight after 2001 led to a slowing in the epidemic, offering hope for the future. However, funds have been reduced in recent years due to the global recession, raising fears of a reversal of this progress.
Social workers can help fight this battle. Social workers can work on the macro level to help develop culturally appropriate interventions to help stem transmission, assist those who are already infected, and help to reduce stigma against the disease. Social workers can assist in the case management of those who are battling the disease, as well as helping to create a system of social supports to assist those who are indirectly affected by the disease, such as orphaned children. Traditional methods such as kinship care are being overwhelmed by the epidemic, and social workers can assist in the creation of formal services to help care for those left behind, as well as supporting these caregivers. By focusing on social development, as opposed to a strictly medical approach, social workers can help turn the tide against HIV/AIDS.