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Assessing the Social and Behavioral Science Base for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Intervention: Workshop Summary
future. Efforts to prevent HIV/AIDS will require broader perspectives than those that have been applied in the past and the focus of research should not only include the natural course of the physical illness, but also include the social course of the disease. Innovative research strategies need to go beyond the study of individuals to examine the social contexts, including couples, partners, networks, communities, and global issues, for their effects on risk for and diffusion of HIV. Further, such social contexts may also represent critical points of intervention for HIV prevention programs.
Strategic planning and interagency cooperation could help determine the types of interdisciplinary collaborations required to achieve maximal results and to foster such collaborations. These collaborations will further require a wide variety of behavioral and social scientists, including psychologists, anthropologists, historians, economists, sociologists, and political scientists.
It is clear that HIV is transmitted from person to person in differing patterns, which depend on the relationships, local environments, ethnic or community values, economics, and other factors that underpin individual behavior. Participants at the workshop emphasized the importance of understanding and considering these factors, based on an expanded research base, in the design, implementation, and much-needed evaluation of HIV preventive interventions.