Denise Chan is a research Assistant Professor at the Stanley Ho Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her research areas include epidemiology of HIV/STIs and community-based surveillance of infectious diseases. She has been actively involved in fi eld researches on sexually transmitted diseases, particular among the at-risk populations.
Herpes simplex virus type-2 (HSV-2) appears to be an important factor in sexual transmission and acquisition of HIV, and men who have sex with men (MSM) are particularly vulnerable to both infections. Th e present study aims to examine the prevalence of HIV, HSV-2, and risk behaviors among MSM in Hong Kong. Th ree hundred and six MSM seeking voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) services were recruited in 2012-2013. Each MSM completed a structured questionnaire survey which explored socio-demographic characteristics, history of sexually transmitted diseases (STD), HSV-2/HIV-related knowledge, and sexual behaviors. Blood specimens were collected for HIV and HSV-2 screening. Overall, the seroprevalence of HIV and HSV-2 were 1.0% and 3.3%, respectively. Th ere was no statistical diff erence in seropositivity of HSV-2 between HIV-positive and HIVnegative MSM (p=0.190). Of all MSM, 7.8% self-reported having ever contracted STD. Knowledge of HSV-2 transmission (12.1%) and symptoms (40.8%) were low, and only 2.6% of MSM had ever been tested for HSV-2. Of anal sex MSM, 40.1% (117/292) always used condom in the last 6 months. Among those who had visited commercial sex worker, limited consistent condom use (31.3%) was found. Our fi ndings suggest a relatively low seroprevalence of HSV-2 among MSM attendants of VCT center. As the majority of MSM have limited understandings of HSV-2 transmission and the sexual risk behaviors are still prevalent, eff ective educational intervention and serosurveillance for HSV-2 among the hidden MSM population are needed to further enhance HIV/STD control in Hong Kong.
Safi ya George Dalmida is an assistant Professor at Emory University School of Nursing in Atlanta, GA. She is a graduate of Emory University's Ph.D. in Nursing program and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in research on Religion and Health from Duke University in Durham, NC. Her research focuses on intersections between stress and coping, including religious coping, and relationship to mental health, immune function and health-related quality of life among people living with HIV/AIDS, particularly among women and minorities. Her work also focuses on the examination of sexual decision making of African American adolescents and their risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. She is particularly interested in the role of social factors, including religious and cultural factors, and cognitive function in HIV/STI-associated sexual risk behavior of minority adolescents.
African American (AA) girls are disproportionately aff ected by the human immunodefi ciency virus (HIV) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Th ese epidemics among adolescents in the U.S. are inextricably tied to individual, psychosocial and cultural phenomena. However, knowledge gaps persist, especially regarding the role of neurocognitive determinants of adolescent sexual risk behavior (SRB). Th e purpose of this pilot study is to examine: (1) neurocognitive and psychosocial correlates of SRBand (2) individual variation in associations between emotive/aff ective and cognitive control components of the social information processing network (SIPN) and individual variation in SRB, among AA girls. Th is study is guided by the Biopsychosocial Model of Risk Taking (BMRT); a combined social neuroscience framework that incorporates biological, psychological, cognitive, environmental and social factors, which infl uence adolescent risk taking. 32 AA females ages 15-23 years were recruited from community organizations. Data Collection: A battery of computerized neuropsychological tests measured prefrontal cortex/executive function/decisionmaking, impulse control and emotive-cognitive function to examine the underlying cognitive mechanisms of decision making and correlates of SRB. Participants also completed sociodemographics, psychosocial and SRB-related surveys. Analysis: Bivariate correlations, mixed modeling and hierarchical regression statistics were used. Our results indicate that poor cognitive skills were signifi cantly correlated to risky sexual patterns. Higher SRB is associated with poorer cognition, mainly poorer impulse control & also time to make aff ective choices. Some AA girls with high reported SRB (compared to low SRB) showed greater cognitive delay aversion during reward-related risk-taking (gambling). On average, AA girls with high SRB made more illogically based decisions and took longer to make decisions. Conclusions/Implications: Healthcare providers should provide tailored HIV/STI prevention education based on important links between executive/aff ective cognition, impulse control & psychosocial factors and AA girls’ SRB. Findings will facilitate development and testing of future hypothesis-driven, culturally-specifi c, age-appropriate imaging, longitudinal and intervention studies.