Psychological Aspects of AIDS and Other Sexually Transmissible Diseases
  • Michael W. Ross


Psychological variables are intimately associated with sexually transmissible diseases (STDs) in both immediate and more distant senses. The immediate associations involve the social psychology of demand characteristics of situations that may lead to higher risk of infection or of the environment itself or the actors in it. The more distant psychological determinants involve personality styles or attitudes to sex and sexuality, which may put an individual at greater risk of STD infection. There will also be person-situation interactions in which these two sets of psychological variables interact. Very little is known, however, about the decision-making process as it concerns decisions to have sex, the safety of that sex, or decisions to use prophylaxis. Indeed, little is known of how individual actors in sexual encounters conceptualize their interaction1: Ross2 noted that as many as 15 different meanings may be associated with sexual encounters, ranging from the emotional to the ritual (Table 1). Clearly, what we have to date regarded as the psychology of the sexual encounter is itself a complex field and it may ultimately be demonstrated that the psychological concommitants of sexual encounters will differ with different meanings being associated with such encounters.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus Sexual Orientation Acquire Immune Deficiency Syndrome Sexual Attitude Illness Behavior 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael W. Ross
    • 1
  1. 1.Albion Street AIDS CentreThe Sydney HospitalSurry HillsAustralia

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