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From The CriticsReviewer: Srijana M. Bajracharya, PhD, CHES (Ithaca College)
Description: From the time HIV became one of the biggest public health threats and its modes of transmission were understood, the condom has played a crucial role in the prevention of this disease. However, it is not the ultimate answer for this problem. In this book, the authors have diligently provided a variety of alternative protective methods that, if refined and modified, can supplement existing preventive strategies eventually reducing the current rate of HIV transmission around the world.
Purpose: "The purpose is to provide a variety of options for HIV prevention and stimulate ideas for the future improvement for these methods in order to reduce or stop the spread of HIV. These are essential objectives and the book comes very close to meeting them.
Audience: Prevention specialists, biomedical scientists, health educators, psychologists, and public health professionals working in various at-risk communities can use this book.
Features: Since the inception of the HIV epidemic, the only approaches to combating this deadly disease have been prevention efforts and the use of various medications to lessen its severity. None of the three methods of prevention — condom, abstinence, and reducing sexual partners — is 100 percent effective. In order to provide additional options and to satisfy a wide range of community needs, the authors have presented challenging approaches based on sociopsychological, behavioral, political, as well as biomedical research. They have not only provided detailed descriptions of each of these approaches, but also in-depth analyses of their effectiveness, weaknesses, future outlook, and possible scientific course of action. There are 10 chapters contributed by 21 authors. The book starts with a chapter entitled "Negotiated Safety," an approach that applies primarily to gay men. It is concerned with the issue of psychological trust, an approach that may be both cost-effective as well as likely to gain acceptance among a specific group of people. The second chapter focuses on the international challenge of using more vigorous structural, political, and social changes. The chapter on abstinence includes a detailed analysis of evaluative studies on its effectiveness and recommendations for future intervention. Programs that are effective and the evaluative studies that are scientifically valid are presented using numerous examples. The strengths of each of these articles is the in-depth analysis of HIV prevention options using extensive resources and presentation of further plans for research and intervention. The articles are well written and comprehensive.
Assessment: Most of the HIV prevention options are well known and have been used, but such a comprehensive analysis was nonexistent. Consideration of these options as supplemental to, and even replacement for, some of the traditional HIV prevention methods is extremely innovative and worthy of discussion. Professionals from a variety of disciplines can make use of this publication and consider these options in their fight against HIV around the world.