The mood of HIV-positive men affects safe sex; depressive episodes drive up risk

The health of people can be influenced by many different factors, and sometimes even the mood can determine people’s health condition. It may be especially seen with HIV-positive men whose sex behavior changes dramatically depending on their mood and state.

The article "The mood of HIV-positive men affects safe sex; depressive episodes drive up risk" by Melissa R Boone and Niall Bolger focuses on the behavior of HIV-positive men and their attitude toward safe sex. It analyzes how this attitude changes depending on the mood and the state in which the men are. According to the research presented in the article, gay men in a good mood are more likely to have safe sex with other men while those in a bad mood are more likely to have unprotected sex.

It can be said that the authors of the article are professionals in the field since one is a doctoral student in medicine while the other one is a professor. Thanks to this fact, one may think that the source is trustworthy and unbiased. Nevertheless, there are some questions concerning whether the information of the authors is really unbiased. Although they analyze the results published in another journal, the research was done by people in Mailman School where one of the authors is studying. That is why the competence of the results may be exaggerated, and there may be a conflict of interests since the author may write about the research as something trustworthy simply out of the fact that it was conducted in her school. Thus, there may be a potential conflict of interest. Also, the article mentions a previous study which has been conducted and has got the opposite results. The article does not explain by whom and when the research has been done. That is why one begins to question the overall transparency of the work.

The article is interesting because it frames this health issue differently from typical media coverage due to original research results. Nevertheless, the article does not answer many questions and omits important parts. First of all, with the research conducted on gay men, it would be logical to ask them whether they had constant partners, how many times per week they usually had sex, and how they usually fought stress. The research showed that most of the men had sex with various partners, but it would be interesting to know whether they had long-time partners at all.

Another question which really troubles and which was omitted in the study is the question about the awareness of one’s virus and the possibility to infect others. HIV-positive men had unprotected sex with others despite the fact they could infect these people. Why did not researchers ask infected men about motives behind such irresponsible actions? It would also be interesting to find out whether the men who participated in the research knew about the consequences of their conditions and ways in which they could influence other people.

Therefore, the research had no practical results. It has shown that HIV-positive men in depression may have unprotected sex and infect others. Then, why was nothing done about it? With such results, the researchers should have contacted the health authorities and people working in the field to improve the situation and prevent others from infecting themselves. One finds this article relevant and agrees with the fact that such studies have to be done. Thanks to it, important statistics are shown. Nevertheless, one may think that such a research has to be done on a more professional level without omitting any parts, stating clearly the reasons for research as well as explaining how it may be practically used. It can be said that the article did not achieve the set results and created many unresolved questions.

HIV remains a huge issue in the United States especially for minority groups. It is a threatening virus people have to know about to protect themselves. That is why such a research as well as any other study should be directed in order to prevent people from spreading the virus as well as raising awareness about it.

 

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