Friday, April 14, 2006

Reducing new HIV infections

I received a copy of Michael M. Copenhaver and Jeffrey D. Fisher's article in AIDS and Behavior ("Experts OutlineWays to Decrease the Decade-Long Yearly Rate of 40,000 New HIV Infections in the US") and found it interesting reading. The following abstract gives a sense of the article:

This paper presents data from a brief, anonymous, open-ended survey of 50 behavioral research experts in HIV prevention. Responses were received from 31 participants who provided input regarding the primary reasons they believe the rate of the HIV epidemic in the United States has persisted in recent years, and how they believe we can most efficiently decrease the current rate of new HIV infections in the United States. Four clusters of reasons suggested for the persistent rate of new infections: Intervention level reasons, Society level reasons, Person level reasons, and Multiple Risk Factor reasons. Three clusters of strategies suggested for decreasing the current rate: Improved Targeting of HIV Prevention efforts, Large-Scale Changes to HIV prevention, and Integrating HIV Prevention into more aspects of society. Results are reviewed with the objective of providing a fresh perspective on the potential means for addressing the current HIV epidemic.

That's a lot of clusters, and many of the suggestions have been around for a while. The import of the article, however, is that it gathers the opinions of so many together in one place to make the points that could lead us to fewer infections each year. These same experts appear to think we are missing the boat on funding, both in regard to the levels of funding directed at prevention and the objectives being set for that funding. (Yes, we knew that already, but this is another case of backing up the talking points with science.)

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