Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Thesis defense Rachel Arends (Donders series 525)

11 November 2021

Promotors: Prof. dr. A. H. Schene, Prof. dr. A. J. A. M. van der Ven, Prof. dr. A. F. A. Schellekens

Impulsivity and transmission risk behavior in the ongoing HIV epidemic: A psychological perspective on sex- and drugs-related risk behavior

During recent years the number of people globally living with HIV has slowly increased, from +/- 35 million in 2015 to 38 million in 2020. This trend is seen in various countries including the Netherlands, due to persistent risk behavior related to the transmission of HIV. Previous research has shown indications of associations between HIV-transmission risk behavior and impulsivity. In this thesis, associations were found between different dimensions of impulsivity and various sex- and substance-related risk behaviors, studied in specific risk populations. Some people who are part of these subpopulations occasionally show characteristics of addiction (such as uncontrolled behavior and reward sensitivity). Furthermore, 50% of the people living with HIV have suffered from depression, anxiety, or substance abuse. In this thesis, knowledge from psychiatry and addiction treatment is used to develop an intervention to reduce impulsivity, transmission risk behavior, and mental health issues among people living with HIV.