The goal of this project is to develop knowledge regarding mechanisms linking positive affect and adherence to HIV antiretroviral therapy (ART) through a feasibility pilot test of a positive affect induction intervention conducted in this priority population. Positive affect has been linked to improved health and survival across a number of disease outcomes, and there is growing evidence that it is associated with central components of the HIV care continuum, including improved adherence and retention in care. Positive affect has also been demonstrated to be modifiable and may be a particularly important psychological asset for promoting self-care behavior, in that it is posited to engage several mechanisms of action that have also been linked causally to improved ART adherence, including lower perceived stress, reduced burden of psychological distress, increased resilience, and greater social support. Our team has translated state of the art basic science on methods and processes by which positive affect is most likely to improve adherence in the form of the 3- session APPEAL Program (Affect, Promoting Positive Engagement, and Adherence for Life). We seek to refine the APPEAL protocol to ensure cultural fit with a priority population of Black men and women living with HIV who have challenges with ART adherence, to assess the feasibility and acceptability of the program in the context of a randomized feasibility trial, and to identify whether APPEAL exposure results in changes in mechanisms of action and ART adherence by leveraging measures from the Science of Behavior Change Research Network.

Tracey Wilson, PhD

Principal Investigator

SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Department of Community Health Sciences

Brooklyn, NY

Dr. Wilson is Distinguished Service Professor of the Department of Community Health Sciences and Clinical Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases, College of Medicine. She has extensive experience in the development and evaluation of applied interventions to promote public health. The primary aims of Dr. Wilson’s research are to increase our understanding of the social, structural, and psychological causes of racial/ethnic and gender-based health disparities, and to contribute to the development, testing, and dissemination of interventions that improve health outcomes and quality of life among men and women. By focusing both on reducing risk factors and supporting social and psychological strengths and resources such as resilience and positive affect, she hopes to help support communities in achieving greater health, particularly as it relates to reducing risks for infectious diseases, promoting timely detection and treatment for disease, and staying actively engaged in care and adherent to medication regimens.

Rebecca Henry, PhD


Program Official