APA Assists CDC Revamp HIV-Prevention Program

APA representatives recently met with David Satcher, MD, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to offer their expertise and discuss proposed changes in the CDC's AIDS prevention and research activities.

Ron Fox, PhD, President of APA, Ray Fowler, PhD, Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, Henry Tomes, PhD, Executive Director for Public Interest, William Howell, PhD, Executive Director for Science, and Brian Smedley, PhD, Public Policy Officer, all attended the meeting with Dr. Satcher, who was accompanied by key science policy advisors.

'The meeting with Dr. Satcher afforded us an opportunity to develop new ties with CDC and to strengthen the role of the behavioral sciences in public health,' commented Dr. Fowler. 'He is a real friend and true supporter of the behavioral sciences.'

The meeting took place shortly after an external review committee recommended that CDC revamp its HIV/AIDS prevention program. Specifically, the committee called for the development of new models for containing the spread of the AIDS epidemic. The panel noted that the CDC's HIV prevention activities have been based on outdated models for disease containment, such as counseling, testing, and partner notification.

Because HIV infection is always fatal, such models do not adequately address the only real solution to the problem of HIV transmission--behavior change. In recognition of this fact, Dr. Satcher welcomed a formal relationship with APA to take advantage of the expertise and resources that behavioral scientists possess.

Currently, psychologists and other behavioral scientists at CDC work primarily on the prevention of HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases. Their significance should be enhanced by the reorganization at CDC. Under this plan, about 80% of HIV prevention and research activities would be combined into one center.

APA representatives are planning a follow-up site visit to CDC in April, at which time the reorganization should be completed.

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