The proposed pilot study responds to the program announcement PAR-08-027, Support of Competitive Research (SCORE) Pilot Project Award (SC2), and will allow the principal investigator to gather preliminary data in a new area of research. Under the guidance of an accomplished mentor, the PI will examine: 1) psychosocial and neurocognitive issues associated with positive health outcome in those with HIV/AIDS and 2) ethnic disparities in the resilience and health status of HIV seropositive African American and White adults. As HIV/AIDS is reconceptualized as a chronic condition, there is an increased need for knowledge of factors contributing to the long term adjustment and successful coping among HIV+ persons in order to develop new interventions with the potential to maximize mental and physical health and well being. In addition, despite the changing demographics of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the high prevalence of HIV infection in African Americans, there is a paucity of research investigating ethnic disparities as it relates to health outcome. An objective of the proposed study is to explore neurocognitive and psychosocial factors contributing to the disparities seen in the health outcome of 190 HIV-infected adults. Multivariate analyses of variance will be used to first examine ethnic disparities with respect to health outcome, and a regression approach will be used to identify those factors that predict positive health outcome. Data obtained from the current study could result in a better understanding of HIV-related health issues. The results could also lead to the development of effective, culturally-appropriate interventions that would improve the health of individuals with HIV/AIDS and reduce financial burden due to health care costs.
The proposed investigation will identify salient characteristics and factors that enhance resilience in HIV+ individuals and could lead to the development of new culturally relevant and effective intervention programs. Such interventions could reduce rates of psychological distress common in individuals with HIV, improve adherence to medication regimens, decrease rates of co-occurring chronic conditions and substance abuse, reduce health care costs and the need for government assistance, and improve the overall health and well being of those living with HIV/AIDS.