COPA Urges NIH To Increase Support for Behavioral Research on AIDS

The APA Committee on Psychology and AIDS (COPA) met with several high-ranking officials at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in September to deliver the strong and well-received message that behavioral research is essential to the prevention of HIV transmission and the management of its consequences.

In discussions with William Paul, MD, Director for the Office of AIDS Research (OAR), COPA specifically stressed the need to develop a comprehensive NIH-HIV prevention science agenda. This recommendation was supported by a high-profile scientific report released last March by the NIH AIDS Research Program Evaluation Working Group.

As a preliminary step, COPA members urged Dr. Paul to establish an HIV prevention science advisory group, comprising experts in the behavioral, biomedical, and social sciences. One month later, Dr. Paul formally announced the formation of a Prevention Science Working Group to establish a prevention initiative agenda inclusive of the behavioral and social sciences. The 1997 OAR budget includes $6 million for the initiative.

The Chair of the Working Group, James Curran, MD, MPH, Dean of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, said that the Working Group would not consider vaccine research or therapy research as part of its prevention agenda. The Group's mission will be to identify gaps in prevention science, to identify substantive changes to fill these gaps, and to highlight prevention science as a priority.

In addition to Dr. Paul, COPA members carried their message to several NIH institute directors including Enoch Gordis, MD, Director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA); Alan Leshner, PhD, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA); and Duane Alexander, MD, Director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The three institute directors agreed that behavioral and social change are critical to preventing HIV transmission and managing its consequences.

During the meeting with COPA, Dr. Gordis announced NIAAA plans for a $2 million set-aside for research on 'Developing Alcohol-Related HIV Preventive Interventions.' The Request For Applications (RFA) will seek to stimulate the design, development, and testing of alcohol-related HIV preventive interventions that can potentially reduce the risk of HIV transmission in alcohol using, abusing, and dependent populations.

Information on the NIAAA RFA may be obtained through the NIH Grant Line (data line 301-402-2221) or by contacting Kendall Bryant, PhD, (301) 443-1677; e-mail:

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