HIV Office for Psychology Education (HOPE) Program

The HOPE Program endeavors to enhance psychologists’ ability to competently and compassionately respond to people infected and affected by HIV

In June, the world observed the 30th anniversary of the first report in the United States of five gay men diagnosed with Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, or PCP. What puzzled doctors was that that PCP is an infectious disease usually found in in people undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment and others living with identified impaired immune systems. Although the first cases were clustered in Los Angeles, 26 new cases were identified the following month in San Francisco and New York. Although the initial demographic was primarily gay men, the profile quickly grew to include heterosexuals, hemophiliacs, and injection drug users. Some younger professionals in our field have always lived in a world with this pandemic, while others remember the confusing original reports of a “new form of cancer.”

According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1.7 million people in the United States are estimated to have been infected with HIV, including more than 583,000 who have died. Annual HIV incidence is between 56,000 to 58,000 new infections a year, down from its peak of more than 150,000 in the 1980s (CDC, 2010; Hall Ruiguang, & Rhodes, 2009).

Although HIV medical treatment has drastically evolved over the last 30 years and HIV has moved toward a chronic and controlled disease in the United States, the way we address the mental health needs of those affected and infected by HIV has never been more important.

HOPEThe APA Office on AIDS was established early in the epidemic to educate psychologists and society about the unique roles psychology can play in the fight against the pandemic. The office provides information, training and technical assistance on a wide range of HIV/AIDS-related topics. One of the early training programs established in the Office on AIDS was the HIV Office for Psychology Education (HOPE) Program.

HOPE observed its 20th anniversary this past October. Originally funded in 1991 by a 3-year contract with the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), the HOPE Program endeavors to enhance psychologists’ ability to competently and compassionately respond to people infected and affected by HIV. Using a train-the-trainer model, the HOPE Program has trained and certified more than 480 HOPE Program volunteer trainers to deliver interactive workshops for mental health providers. These trainers have in turn provided HOPE curriculum training in their communities to more than 29,000 mental health professionals since its establishment.

Today, the HOPE Program boasts more than 110 volunteer trainers who reside in 31 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. HOPE trainers use flexible topical modules to create individualized training events. Trainers conduct an extensive training needs assessment with staff at a training site. From this assessment, the trainer designs a unique didactic and interactive training with facilitated discussions and skills-building exercises to meet the needs of the audience. Training events are developed using either the HOPE Program Training Resource Package or the Ethical Issues & HIV/AIDS Curriculum.

The HOPE Program is funded by a 5-year contract (No. 280-09-0290) with the CMHS of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The APA Office on AIDS administers the HOPE Program.

HOPE trainers meet the needs of all mental health professionals

HOPE trainers are uniquely positioned to adapt content to reach the needs of attendees and provide HIV and mental health training to your staff or students. Social workers, psychiatrists, medical doctors, nurses, school counselors and graduate students are just a few of the professionals that appear on HOPE training attendee rosters.

To locate a HOPE trainer in your area, please contact David DeVito, Director, HOPE Program, (202) 216-7603.

Online continuing education courses launched

The HOPE Program is proud to announce the release of two new online APA continuing education (CE) courses: "Drug Use and HIV Disease" and "Traumatic Stress Among Individuals Living With HIV/AIDS."

The workshops were developed by the HOPE Program through funding from CMHS of SAMHSA (Contract Number 280-04-0121).

Drug use and HIV

Drug Use and HIV Disease offers state-of-thescience research and clinical wisdom that is highly relevant to both practitioners and researchers interested in the field of mental health, substance abuse, and HIV/AIDS. This 2.5-hour, online CE course is presented by Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, professor of applied psychology, public health, and medicine, director of the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies, and associate dean at New York University.

Course description

In this introductory/intermediate workshop, participants will explore the relationships between mental health, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS. Topics covered include:

  • the effects of mental health and substance abuse disorders on sexual risk taking; 

  • the ways in which illicit drug use and mental health issues affect engagement and retention in HIV care; and 

  • evidence-based approaches to the treatment of people with HIV/AIDS who struggle with cooccurring disorders. Case study vignettes are used to highlight evidence-based treatment approaches applicable to clinical practice.

Learning objectives
  1. Learn why and how mental health and substance abuse problems place people at greater risk for HIV infection. 

  2. Understand how the combined burdens of substance abuse, mental health and HIV affect the lives of HIV-positive individuals. 

  3. Discover how a theory of syndemics informs practice for delivering holistic care to drugusing HIV-positive individuals. 

  4. Identify effective interventions for addressing the interplay of substance abuse, mental health burden and sexual risk taking in both HIV+ and HIV- populations.

Participants will receive 2.5 APA CE credits upon successful completion of the course.

Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, is internationally recognized for his work examining the intersection between HIV, drug abuse, and mental health and is well known as one of the nation’s leading experts on methamphetamine addiction and HIV behavioral research.

HIV-and-Trauma-banner-photo

Traumatic Stress Among Individuals Living With HIV/AIDS offers treatment strategies based on evidence-based research and clinical practice that is highly relevant to practitioners interested in the field of trauma and HIV/AIDS. This CE workshop is presented by Cheryl Gore-Felton, PhD, professor and associate chair for faculty development and academic affairs, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine.

Course description

In this introductory/intermediate workshop, participants will explore the relationship between trauma and HIV/AIDS. Topics covered include: 

  • the effects of trauma on sexual risk taking; 

  • the ways in which trauma affects HIV disease management, and 

  • evidence-based approaches to integrating trauma treatment among people with HIV/AIDS who report psychological distress. Case vignettes are used to highlight interpersonal and contextual factors that influence evidencebased treatment approaches applicable to clinical practice.

Learning objectives
  1. Learn why and how trauma experiences, particularly those in childhood, place people at greater risk for HIV infection. 

  2. Understand how the combined burden of trauma-related symptoms and HIV affect the lives of HIV-positive individuals. 

  3. Identify effective intervention strategies for addressing the co-occurrence of traumarelated symptoms, HIV disease management and sexual risk taking among HIV-positive populations.

Participants will receive 2.5 APA CEs upon successful completion of the course.

Cheryl Gore-Felton, PhD, is a licensed psychologist who is nationally and internationally recognized for her work examining the intersection between HIV and trauma and is well known as one of the nation’s leading experts on the sequelae of trauma and HIV behavior research. She has authored or coauthored over 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and she serves on the editorial boards of Health Psychology and the Journal of Behavioral Medicine. Her research focuses on the development of clinical interventions to reduce traumatic stress symptoms and enhance health-related behaviors.

Although the HOPE Program has made an impact in the treatment and impact of mental health in the course of 2 decades, there is much more that remains to be done. Let us know how we may help you address the needs of your practice and community. For more information about the program, visit the HOPE webpage.

References

Centers for Disease Control and Preveniton. (2010). HIV in the United States

Hall, H.I., Ruiguang, S., & Rhodes, P. (2009). Estimation of HIV incidence in the United States. Journal of American Medical Association, 300, 520-529.