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Family important source of support for HIV-positive men

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- People diagnosed with HIV often turn to friends for support, and that's encouraged by doctors and therapists. But Ohio State University research suggests this advice may not go far enough.

"It's just as important to approach family members, as well as friends, for support," said Julie Serovich, associate professor of human development and family science at Ohio State. Serovich has studied HIV-infected men since 1997 under a grant from the National Institutes of Mental Health.

In Serovich's most recent study, published in the journal AIDS CARE, she found that the 134 HIV-positive men were less likely to be depressed if they received support from their families. In another study of 142 HIV-positive men, published in AIDS Education and Prevention, she found that subjects who received social support from their families were less likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors than were men who did not get social support from their families.

That's vital information in helping reduce the spread of HIV and AIDS, which has infected more than three-quarters of a million Americans in the last two decades, and has killed more than 430,000. It's also important in helping protect HIV-positive people from becoming infected with other strains of HIV or other sexually-transmitted diseases.

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Contact: Julie Serovich
Serovich.1@osu.edu
614-292-5685
Ohio State University
14-Mar-2001


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