others who are affected by the impact of the disease as family members, neighbors, colleagues, and friends. Priorities for prevention, treatment, and research must be established at many levels (e.g., local, regional, national, international), and those in positions of power (or those with access to the powerful others) must insure that these priorities are addressed in a systematic and comprehensive fashion.
Women with HIV and those at risk for HIV do not represent a homogenous group. However, all may have to confront issues unique to women such as power differentials in intimate relationships, the need for treatment of gynecological complications of HIV, and issues with regard to pregnancy, reproductive decision making, and parenthood. Health psychology and behavioral medicine can play an important role in enhancing understanding of the problems faced by women infected with HIV and those most at risk.
Matarazzo (1980) described the field as broadly addressing: the promotion and maintenance of health, the prevention and treatment of illness, the identification of etiologic and diagnostic correlates of health, illness and related dysfunction, and the improvement of the health care system and health policy formation. The complexities of HIV-as highlighted by the ecological approach that takes into consideration sociocultural, interpersonal, temporal, and situational contexts- are best addressed through interdisciplinary investigations and clinical practice. This is a challenging domain, and researchers must rise to the challenge through scientific excellence as well as the courage and compassion required to address the needs of women with HIV, those most at risk, their family members and loved ones.
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