Unprotected sexual contact and intravenous drug use are important routes of infection for infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and C and syphilis. To reduce the chance of infections – in addition to knowledge transfer – improving impulse control plays an important role. This is the conclusion reached by researchers from the Radboud university medical center and their Indonesian colleagues through their research into female prisoners.HIV, hepatitis B and C and syphilis are serious infectious diseases that are common worldwide and contribute to a higher mortality rate or significant health risks. These infectious diseases are transmitted through blood or unsafe sexual contact, among other means. People who inject drugs (intravenous drug use) or have unprotected sex are particularly at risk of these infections. In Asia, including Indonesia, this is a growing problem. Prevention programs attempt to increase knowledge about the risks, but this has only a limited effect, possibly because not only knowledge but also impulsive or reward-oriented behavior influences the spread of these infections.
Impulsivity stimulates risk behaviorIn the scientific journal Plos One, scientists from Nijmegen and Indonesia, led by Arnt Schellekens, describe the relationship between impulsivity, risk behavior and infectious diseases (HIV, hepatitis, and syphilis) in a women's prison in Jakarta. Rachel Arends, first author of the study: “Indeed, we see that impulsivity among female prisoners increases the risk of these infections because it is linked to an increase in drug use and high-risk sexual behavior. Impulsivity, motivated by being sensitive to rewards, plays a major role in this.”
Prevention through impulse controlThe research shows that efforts to reduce the spread of these infectious diseases should not only focus on knowledge transfer. Arnt Schellekens: “To prevent the spread of HIV, hepatitis and syphilis, we should pay more attention to the underlying causes of high-risk behavior. In particular, to the regulation of emotions and impulses in people with high-risk sexual behavior and intravenous drug users. The focus should not only be on knowledge transfer, but also on providing support to better deal with emotions and impulses.”
Associations between impulsivity, risk behavior and HIV, HBV, HCV and syphilis seroprevalence among female prisoners in Indonesia: A cross-sectional study.
Rachel M. Arends, Erni J. Nelwan, Ratna Soediro, Reinout van Crevel, Bachti Alisjahbana, Herdiman T. Pohan, A. Katinka L. von Borries, Aart H. Schene, André J. A. M. van der Ven, Arnt F. A. Schellekens
Related news items
Frank Walboomers 25-years work anniversary at Radboudumc17 September 2020
Frank Walboomers, associate professor at the research group Regenerative Biomaterials at the Dept. of Dentistry (theme Reconstructive & Regenerative Medicine), celebrated his 25th work anniversary at Radboudumc.read more
Tjitske Kleefstra appointed endowed professor of Clinical genetics and psychopathology of rare syndromes17 September 2020
Tjitske Kleefstra has been appointed endowed professor of Clinical genetics and psychopathology of rare syndromes at the department of Neurodevelopmental disorders, with effect from 1 September.read more
Annette Schenck appointed professor of Translational Genetics17 September 2020
Annette Schenck has been appointed professor of Translational Genetics at the department of Neurodevelopmental disorders, with effect from 1 August. The chair will bring together fundamental and translational research in the field of brain developmental disorders.read more
Centuries-old medicine reduces the risk of new cardiovascular disease in heart patients17 September 2020
Colchicine, an anti-inflammatory drug that has been used for gout for centuries, has been shown to prevent cardiovascular disease in patients who have had a heart attack or are suffering from narrowed coronary arteries. Results of the study are published in the New England Journal of Medicine.read more
Radboudumc does large-scale research on systemic sclerosis10 September 2020
In rare diseases, such as systemic sclerosis, it’s often difficult to conduct large-scale research. Rheumatologist Madelon Vonk has managed to follow enough patients with systemic sclerosis for years. The results of her research have been published in BMJ Annal of the Rheumatic Diseases.read more