Fighting the Global AIDS Epidemic
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HIV/AIDS has been a current global issue in the news since the discovery of the disease in the late 1970’s to now in 2013. Over three decades of new developments such as medications, treatments, and diagnosed cases exist. Fighting the global AIDS epidemic is still as much of a challenge today as it was yesterday. In the beginning, HIV/AIDS diagnosis was basically a death sentence, but since then millions of dollars have been spent on researching the cause and effect of the disease as well as treatment options available (Investing daily, 2013). I will explain a macro-level intervention that might address the issue of AIDS epidemic. Then I will discuss the benefit of having a psychologist involved. Lastly, I will describe a bottom-up, middle-out, and top-down change strategy a psychologist might use and explain how he or she might use it. There are many who are not aware of their HIV/AIDS status and one macro-level intervention that might address that issue could be mandatory testing as a part of yearly physical exams.
Of course yearly physical exams must first be mandatory for everyone if this intervention is to be effective. In addition to mandatory testing, informational data on preventing the spread and lowering the risk of HIV/AIDS should be made available to everyone. The benefit of having a psychologist involved in such an epidemic as HIV/AIDS is quite simple. The psychologist can aid in the behavioral change that could help with preventing the spread of the disease by educating on a global scale. For example, there is a global HIV Prevention Working Group (PWG) that the psychologist can join and offer ideas as a part of this collaboration among several other professionals. Reports from the PWG focus specifically on behavioral HIV prevention. Wider delivery of effective behavior change strategies is central to reversing the global HIV epidemic and preventing the spread of the disease itself. “Psychologists who seek to achieve macro-level change may use a mixture of top– down, bottom– up, and middle–out strategies” (Stevens & Gielen, 2007). Bottom- up strategy is used to psychologically influence people by using informed methods while achieving desired intervention outcomes.
A bottom-up change strategy that a psychologist might use in helping with the HIV/AIDS epidemic could be promoting the use of mandatory HIV/AIDS testing. This could be done by explaining to the people the importance of knowing their HIV/AIDS status in order to help reduce the spread of the virus. “Middle-out strategies attempt to influence mid-level leaders, who in turn influence both leaders above them and their public constituencies” (Stevens & Gielen, 2007). A middle-out change strategy that a psychologist may use to help in the aid of HIV/AIDS epidemic is to work together with other professional experts, especially those who are superior, and help influence his/her opinion upon them. If the psychologist, being a mid-level leader, can somehow influence his/her professional opinion upon those who are in superior positions (higher-level leaders), a social change in behavior may take place creating a reduction in the rise of HIV/AIDS. Top-down strategy can be used by the psychologist to influence subnational, national, regional, or international authorities, urging them to implement psychologically informed policies and programs. For example, the psychologist can somehow persuade the government to make a policy with the mandatory testing of HIV/AIDS for everyone by arguing that it would help decrease the spread of the disease itself.
Shepard, Ben (2013). Fighting the Global AIDS Epidemic Retrieved from http://www.investingdaily.com/16156/fighting-the-global-aids-epidemic on February 8, 2013
Stevens, M. J., & Gielen, U. P. (2007). Toward a global psychology: Theory, research, intervention, and pedagogy. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates