Hope fights AIDS
According to this fascinating article from Medical News Today,
The links between HIV transmission and the degree to which people are able to adopt realistic plans to achieve future projects, in other words, hope, have been overlooked in policies to tackle HIV/AIDS. New research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) argues that hope is a powerful tool in the battle to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Basically, if people have hope — if they can realistically expect achievement and a positive future for themselves and their society — they will be more likely to go out of their way to protect themselves from risks like HIV infection. As the article puts it:
People with hope for the future are less likely to engage in activities in the present that put them at risk of illness in the future. Those without hope for the future, by contrast, place a low value on the future. For example, men who lack hope for the future may be unwilling to surrender immediate pleasure in return for a far-off future benefit by wearing a condom.
Sadly, “HIV/AIDS can destroy hope,” leading to a vicious cycle of greater problems and greater hopelessness. Basically
According to ESRC Professorial Fellow, Tony Barnett,
“Although there is not a great deal of experience in developing programmes to increase hope, policies such as cash support for children, microfinance for small businesses, women’s education, reduced discriminations against sexual minorities and health system reform will improve the wider environment. And with more to live for, interventions to encourage individuals to change their behaviour are more likely to succeed.”