Current HIV/AIDS Reports

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 79–88 | Cite as

Treatment-Related Optimistic Beliefs and Risk of HIV Transmission: A Review of Recent Findings (2009-2012) in an Era of Treatment as Prevention

The Science of Prevention (S Kalichman, Section Editor)


The promising outlook for HIV treatment as prevention (TasP) offered by the recent success in clinical trials has highlighted the need for effort against over-optimism toward anti-retroviral therapy (ART). It has been of a central concern that such optimistic beliefs may fuel an increase in risk behaviors to counter the protective effect of ART on reducing overall transmissibility of HIV. The current review was conducted to provide an updated look at the potential impact of treatment-related optimistic beliefs on the risk of HIV transmission. The review yielded a total of 14 studies published during the past 4 years that have examined the role of treatment-related optimistic beliefs in changing people’s adoption of sexual risk behaviors. Findings from quantitative studies were largely in support of an association between optimistic beliefs and risk of HIV transmission. Results from qualitative studies discovered additional information concealed under the numerical associations, and pointed to the need of more rigorous and comprehensive examination of the relationship between optimistic beliefs and HIV transmission risk. Gaps in the current literature were identified and suggestions for future research were provided.


HIV/AIDS Treatment-related optimistic beliefs Highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) HIV treatment as prevention (TasP) HIV transmission Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) Sexual risks Systematic review 



Preparation of this article was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) training grant T32-MH074387. The author would like to offer special thanks Dr. Seth C. Kalichman from University of Connecticut for his strong support in the preparation of this manuscript.


No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA

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