For most, entering the health care field is something that offers a tremendous amount of opportunity and personal rewards. Knowing that you’re helping others, earning a good salary, and having the chance for career advancement are just some of the reasons that health care remains one of the top choices for those looking into a rewarding career, and the field of public health has numerous rewards. Becoming an international HIV specialist is something that could be a good fit for you, depending on your interests, and could allow you to have a major impact on the health of many.
This career focuses more on public health than on individualized care, and as such you’ll need a good education and a solid understanding of many different things. Before you commit yourself to the process of becoming an international HIV specialist, learning more about the job is a good idea. Keep reading to do just that.
What Is an International HIV Specialist?
An international HIV specialist is someone who works in the public health field with a specific focus on HIV and its effects on the population. While they may work in direct care for a patient, they specialize more on developing programs and procedures that help reduce the transmission of the disease and on policies and programs that help give resources to those who are suffering from HIV infection. It’s a very diverse job, and has numerous duties and responsibilities associated with it. Here are some of the potential duties you may have as an international HIV specialist.
- Gather data and information on HIV within a specific group or population
- Use information to identify risk factors, problem areas, and potential challenges related to the disease
- Review existing policies and programs of prevention and support to identify any problems that could be improved
- Modify existing policies and programs or develop new ones that target different areas of HIV infection – prevention, support, and more
- Work with patients to help educate them about the infection
- Create and provide educational resources that reduce the chances of spreading the disease
You’ll need proper training and education to excel and even to enter a position as an international HIV specialist, but there are also some personal traits that can have a direct impact on your job. The following skill sets will help tremendously.
- Communication – This is the most important trait to have since you’ll need to communicate with patients, communities, and colleagues in order to do the job effectively.
- Organization – You’ll also need to juggle lots of information in various subject areas. As such, it’s important to spend some time developing good organizational skills.
- Critical Thinking – Being able to assess information and make intelligent decisions about it and what it means is important as well, so critical thinking is a must.
Nature of the Work
The job often requires travel, and as an international HIV specialist it’s not uncommon to travel to different states as well as different countries. Even if travel isn’t handled, research of the HIV protection measures put in place by different nations will be a part of the job as well. Office work is common as well, and you’ll spend time reviewing information and developing new policies and strategies. It’s also common to attend conferences, seminars, and other gatherings that are directly related to HIV and its impact on the health of the world.
Education and Training
There are no college programs that are specifically designed for awarding a degree in International HIV Specialization, but instead those looking to enter the field will want to focus their studies on earning a Master of Public Health degree. Doing so will prepare you for work in the public health field, and many programs allow you to take specialized courses in the field of HIV research and HIV health in general. Studies will involve biology, psychology, public health management, and more and will provide a solid foundation on which to enter the field and focus your efforts on HIV.
Average salaries for those in this field are about $20.27 per hour, and the salary you earn will depend upon your training, your experience, your employer, and the specifics of your job. The field is growing rapidly, and the job outlook for those wanting to enter this field is excellent.