Psychologists take new research findings to International AIDS Conference

APA journal publishes more evidence supporting behavioral health treatment for HIV/AIDS with a focus on couples and families.

New psychological research findings about prevention and treatment for HIV/AIDS will be featured at the International AIDS Conference, July 22-27 in Washington, D.C. Articles about the research appear this month in the APA journal Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice with a special issue titled “Dynamics in Couples and Families Coping with HIV Risk and Infection.”

The issue focuses on evidence-based interventions aimed at couples and families. Historically, HIV/AIDS prevention programs were designed for individuals, but couples and families may have more impact in preventing the spread of HIV and its consequences, according to the research. In addition, a significant number of new cases of HIV infections occur among young people who are dependent on their family for their care, the articles point out.

One of the special issue guest editors, Willo Pequegnat, PhD, as well as some of the article authors, will be at the AIDS conference to discuss the findings. The conference is being held in the U.S. for the first time in 22 years. It will focus heavily on emerging biomedical HIV prevention interventions.

APA’s Council of Representatives adopted a resolution (PDF, 83KB) in February to bring attention to the importance of behavioral interventions and research in responding to the domestic and global HIV epidemics. However, "there is no magic bullet for HIV prevention,” said Leo Rennie, APA senior legislative and federal affairs officer. "At the beginning, there was no treatment for HIV/AIDS. HIV infection was a death sentence until the mid-1990s. Behavior change was the only option for preventing HIV transmission. That is why psychology has occupied such a pivotal place in public health efforts to prevent and control the HIV epidemic here at home and abroad."

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