July 13, 2010

American Psychological Association Applauds Release of National HIV/AIDS Strategy

Plan will target most heavily affected communities, including minorities

WASHINGTON – The American Psychological Association applauded President Obama today for unveiling a National HIV/AIDS Strategy, the first comprehensive national plan to address the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic since the first cases of AIDS were recognized nearly three decades ago.

"HIV continues to take a huge toll on individuals and communities, especially those that have the least access to early detection and treatment services," said APA CEO Norman B. Anderson, PhD. "As our nation continues to wage the battle against HIV/AIDS, it is especially important to understand and address the emotional, attitudinal and behavioral factors that are critical to both HIV prevention and adherence to care."

Now that the strategy is in place, APA feels strongly that collective attention must now turn to its implementation. APA looks forward to partnering with the Obama administration to ensure that mental and behavioral health are prioritized through the strategy’s implementation. APA calls upon the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, the Department of Health and Human Services and other key federal agencies to remain mindful of the importance of mental and behavioral health in preventing HIV transmission, improving health outcomes and eliminating HIV-related disparities that impact racial and ethnic minorities and sexual minorities.

"A solid working knowledge of mental health and substance abuse issues is essential for understanding how to help people protect themselves from HIV infection, how to help those who are already infected from transmitting the virus to others, and how to reduce adverse health consequences among those living with HIV," said John Anderson, senior director of APA’s Office on AIDS

Developed by the White House Office of National AIDS Policy the national strategy aims to:

  • Reduce HIV/AIDS incidence
  • Increase access to care
  • Reduce HIV-related health disparities
  • Direct resources to communities most affected by HIV – such as gay and bisexual men of all races and ethnicities

The strategy will also facilitate improved coordination across federal agencies and at the state and local levels.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 152,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.