advance prevention interventions.
Today the committee helps to oversee
several HIV/AIDS-related programs
and initiatives, in addition to providing
policy guidance for APA.
The committee’s long-term success
— it’s been reauthorized by APA’s
Council of Representatives five times
— demonstrates the association’s
commitment to public health and
putting research into practice, says
Marguerita Lightfoot, PhD, who directs
the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies
at the University of California, San
Francisco, and was a COPA member
from 2009 to 2011.
This year’s anniversary also comes at
a time when many more psychologists
are needed in the fight against HIV/
AIDS, she adds.
“This slice in time is crucial because
the success of any efforts to prevent
HIV still hinges on psychological and
behavioral aspects. People aren’t going
to take a pill just because it’s available.”
In 1986, the U.S. surgeon general’s
office released its first report on AIDS
and AIDS prevention. That same year,
APA’s then Board of Social and Ethical
Responsibility for Psychology (BSERP)
convened a committee to discuss
developing a task force on psychology
and AIDS, which APA’s Board of
Directors established the next year.
In its 1989 report, the task
force recommended that its work
in providing policy direction and
oversight for APA activities related
to AIDS continue through the
establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee
on Psychology and AIDS. COPA was
initially funded for three years with
a $5,000 council contingency fund.
It initially reported to the council
through APA’s Board of Directors,
though it now reports to the Board for
the Advancement of Psychology in the
Since COPA’s beginning, much
of its work has also been devoted
to formulating new APA initiatives
Committee on Psychology and AIDS
APA’s Board of Directors establishes a Task Force on Psychology
and AIDS, based on a recommendation from the Board of
Ethical Responsibility for Psychology. In its 1989 final report, the
task force recommends that its work continue through a new
oversight group, the Ad Hoc Committee on Psychology and AIDS.
APA establishes the Office on AIDS as part of the association’s
Public Interest Directorate.
APA’s Council of Representatives establishes the Ad Hoc
Committee on Psychology and AIDS (COPA), dedicated to guiding
the development and implementation of APA’s response to the
HIV/AIDS epidemic. The council reauthorizes COPA in 1993, 1998,
2004, 2009, and 2014.
APA’s council passes two resolutions related to HIV/AIDS: one on
neuropsychological assessment and HIV infection, and one on
legal liability related to confidentiality and the prevention of HIV
APA’s council passes a resolution on legal access to sterile
APA mourns the death of two Public Policy Office staffers, Walter
Batchelor, PhD, and William Bailey, who died of complications
related to AIDS.
APA’s council passes a resolution on sexuality education.
COPA awards the first Psychology and AIDS Leadership Awards
to leaders in psychology and HIV/AIDS to ensure HIV/AIDS is kept
at the forefront of psychological research, education, training and
APA’s council passes a resolution on HIV prevention strategies
involving access to sterile injection equipment, as well as one
on empirically supported sex education and HIV prevention
programs for adolescents.
APA’s council passes a resolution on drug abuse treatments to
prevent HIV among injection drug users.
COPA helps develop the nation’s first National HIV/AIDS Strategy,
a comprehensive national plan to reduce HIV/AIDS incidence,
increase access to care, reduce HIV-related health disparities,
direct resources to communities most affected by HIV/AIDS and
facilitate improved coordination across federal agencies and at
the state and local levels.
COPA starts collaborating with Black Entertainment Television to
facilitate positive communication on sex, sexual health, dating
and HIV/AIDS among African-American teens and their families.
APA’s council passes a resolution on combination biomedical and
behavioral approaches to optimize HIV prevention.
APA’s council passes a resolution on counseling in HIV testing
COPA drafts a resolution opposing HIV criminalization.