psychology’s knowledge on HIV/AIDS to help shape policy.
In April, just six weeks into his new APA position, he testified
before the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS on
a range of social science issues related to HIV, including the
importance of behavioral interventions in helping to prevent
HIV transmission; the reauthorization of the Ryan White
Care Act, which provides AIDS-related services that are not
reimbursable under the Affordable Care Act; and HIV and
“I really welcome the opportunity to take things to the
next level by using data to inform policy and try and make
meaningful policy changes,” Martin says.
He may already be having an important impact: On July 15,
a little less than two months after Martin
gave his testimony, President Obama
issued an executive order establishing a
committee to speed up improvements in
HIV prevention and care that included
representation from the Department of
Labor, meaning that the president heard
the message about the importance of
addressing workforce issues in dealing
with the epidemic. “I can’t claim credit
for that — there are certainly others who
have advocated for this initiative,” says
Martin. “But the timing was right.”
The bigger picture
Martin also is considering the office’s
work from a more global perspective
— whether or how much to emphasize
domestic versus international issues, for
“It seems that everyone wants to go
overseas to do HIV-related work,” he says.
“But right here in Washington, D.C., we
have an HIV seroprevalence rate that
looks like that of South Africa” — some
3 percent of the city’s population. “While
I’d definitely like to see APA bringing our
expertise overseas, I think we need to be
involved here at home as well.”
Finally, Martin understands that the
biggest challenge of his new role may be
a perceptual one. The HOPE and BSSV
programs “both have their origins in a
time when there was a sense of urgency
to do something about AIDS and HIV
disease,” he says, while today, the issue is
less politically potent.
Martin adds he wants the Office on
Tori DeAngelis is a writer in Syracuse, N. Y.
AIDS to help realize the theme of this
year’s World AIDS Day, which takes
place Dec. 1: “Getting to zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero
discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths.”
To learn more about the work of the Office on AIDS, visit
World AIDS Day is Dec. 1
Psychologists nationwide are commemorating
World AIDS Day. To find out how you can mark
the event, go to www.worldaidsday.org.
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