28 March 2019

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 behavior

In 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 control

The 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.”
 
Publication:
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


Three Vici grants for Radboudumc researchers

20 February 2020

Christian Beckmann, Sander Leeuwenburgh and Annette Schenck each receive a 1.5 million euro Vici research grant from NWO.

read more

Dutch Brain Foundation grant for EENnacoma

20 February 2020

Lavrijsen and Van Erp: ‘This grant will facilitate practice-based research, professionalization and further academization of EENnacoma, and links between different health care and research institutions all for the benefit of people with prolonged disorders of consciousness and their families.'

read more

RIHS Awards Ceremony five winners

19 February 2020

On 18 February the RIHS 'Koek & Zopie' event took place. In front of an audience of more than 125 colleagues, RIHS awardees accepted their awards for the best PhD thesis, the research product with the highest impact on society, the best peer-reviewed publication and the Supervisor of the year 2019.

read more

Preserved specific force in facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy

19 February 2020

DCMN researcher Saskia Lassche et al., theme Disorders of Movement, recently showed in Neurology that remaining muscle fibers in Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) patients  have normal muscle strength, even in severely affected muscles.

read more

Researchers investigate how stem cells affect the immune system

18 February 2020

RIMLS researchers Irma Joosten and Renate van der Molen, participating in an European study into the treatment of brain damage in premature babies. Is it possible to limit or even partly repair the damage with stem cells? They focus primarily on the effect of those stem cells on the immune system.

read more

Lowlands Science call for projects

17 February 2020

Researchers pay attention! Lowlands is looking for research teams to participate in Lowlands Science 2020. It’s a great way to reach a large audience, do unique experiments with and on them, and to have a memorable experience with your colleagues.

read more