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World AIDS Day: Psychological Science in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS

December 2, 2010

Most HIV/AIDS researched is aimed at developing ways to contain or cure the disease, however psychological scientists play a strong role in a variety of other AIDS research areas. A recent study in Psychological Science found that just teaching people the facts about how to protect themselves from HIV may not be enough to prevent the spread of AIDS. Read more about the role of psychological science in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Washington, DC (Vocus) December 1, 2010

World AIDS Day is held on December 1 each year worldwide. It has become one of the most recognized international health days and a key opportunity to raise AIDS awareness, commemorate those who have died from the disease, and celebrate victories such as increased access to treatment and prevention services. Despite the prevailing view that AIDS has been cured (this is due to treatments that can keep progression at bay), approximately 1.2 million Americans are currently living with HIV/AIDS, and an estimated 56,300 Americans are infected with HIV each year (for more statistics click here).

Most research in the field is aimed at developing ways to contain or cure the disease. However, even when successful, vaccines created in the lab are at best preventative and may have to be administered multiple times “” a daunting task. The challenge of getting individuals to realize they are at risk and engage in risk-reducing behaviors, such as receiving multiple vaccinations and getting regular checkups, is tackled by translational research. Psychological scientists play a strong role in this and a variety of other AIDS research areas.

Psychological scientists are working in the area of AIDS prevention. While hundreds of organizations are working to stop the spread of this disease, a recent study in Psychological Science by Ellen Peters found that just teaching people the facts about how to protect themselves from HIV may not be enough to prevent the spread of AIDS. For example, one participant correctly answered a question that HIV could be transmitted by blood transfusions, but when asked how he could minimize that risk, he responded by saying he would not get HIV from a transfusion if he wore a condom. “He had some of the right facts,” Peters said. “But he was using that knowledge inappropriately, in a way that could ultimately harm him. That’s where cognitive and decision-making abilities could have helped him to use the facts to make the better choices.” For more on the study, read the full APS Daily Observation.

For more on psychological science and the fight against AIDS, visit the APS website.

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For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prwebAIDS/psychology/prweb4854244.htm


Source: prweb



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